Summer had been cool and pleasant in 2011. On October 3 a series of three storms, the last on October 10, bombarded the vineyards. The inclement weather destroyed many of the grapes that were still hanging on the vine. The majority of rots are not desirable but if the rot occurs late in the season, when the weather is cool in Anderson Valley, botrytis dominates the more funky rots, producing some sensational white wines. When we started farming grapes forty years ago, we had no plans to grow late-ripening Muscat or to make wine from rotten grapes; now we risk our Muscat crop to rot almost every year and little gets us more excited than botrytis affected, Cluster Select Muscat. When grown in Philo, Muscat exhibits very high natural acidity, which is perfect for late harvest wines since acid perfectly counterbalances sweetness. Muscat's floral bouquet and tropical flavors are layered with botrytis' signature flavors of honey, apricot and pineapple. Winner of nine Gold Medals and six times Best of Class. Not to be missed; heavenly with pumpkin pie.
We destem our rotten Muscat into a tank and leave it overnight to allow the juice to extract the sugars and flavors from the dehydrated, botrytised berries.