2018 Ultra Late Harvest Viognier "Once in a Lifetime"
Harvest Sugar 40 Brix | Fermentation 160 Days | Bottled Sugar 22 Brix
From the back label of this remarkable wine:
Any late harvest winemaking proposition always maximizes the number of things that can go wrong. The long, precarious wait at the end of the season for ultrahigh sugars is like an invitation to nature to come and feast on a crop that starts looking and tasting more and more like candy on the vines. Once in a blue moon, the shriveling fruit will become inundated, at just the right moment, with the “noble” mold Botrytis, rendering clusters that have a chance to produce liquid gold. If a winemaker is ever lucky enough to behold the astonishing sight of the magic mold on berries that contain almost 40% sugar, he or she must then come to grips with exposing such a miracle to every possible calamity in the cellar, beginning with the fact that such a juice ferments extremely slowly, and is constantly flirting with vinegar bacteria. You go from one seemingly impossible realm to the next, praying that the stars of a golden nectar will align.
In my life, it has happened once.