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2017 'Rylstone Estate Bluebird' Botrytis Viognier

Brought to you by Rylstone Estate. 

One of the rarest styles of wine in the world due to the limited plantings of Viognier globally and the difficulty in getting the botrytis to develop in an even fashion to produce a sweet wine. The most famous Botrytis Viognier is Luminescence made by E.Guigal in Condrieu (northern Rhône Valley). Interestingly, only 3 vintages have been made since 1999 due to the above mentioned difficulties in developing botrytis cleanly on viognier.

The vineyard is in the hills above Rylstone in the Central Ranges of NSW with 53 hectares of vines first planted in 1998 above 600m altitude with a North-East aspect. Soil structure is shallow sandy-loam mixed with limestone; the temperature range is as cool as Tasmania and Central Otago in New Zealand; and the climate is inland/continental creating a terroir similar to Burgundy and Champagne.

Sourced from C Block with an average vine age of 15 years at the time of harvest.
Harvest (yield): Individually selected parcels of Viognier with botrytis were handpicked on 20 April 2017 with a Baume of 24 (Brix 44).
Vintage Conditions: 2017 started exceptionally dry after the driest winter in 30 years. Our judicious use of irrigation limited yield loss to 30% over the vintage. A wet middle of the season also helped stave off the full impact of the worst drought in 100 years, but the dry returned toward harvest enabling an extended ripening period balancing out the natural acids and sugars perfectly.

The wine was 100% destemmed and whole berry pressed with 48 hours cold soaking, then fermented at 16 to 18 degrees using native and Sauternes yeast. Ferment stopped itself and wine was racked off lees.

Final maturation for 22 months - 80% in Stainless Steel and 20% in new hogsheads sourced from Taransaud (Burgundy). All barrels were extra fine grained and medium toasted.

‘Bluebird’ is made from exceptional parcels of botrytised Viognier, producing a very luscious but refreshing dessert wine. ‘Bluebird’ is full bodied with a smooth rich palate and great length. Elevated acidity levels making it a good match for cured meats, strong cheeses and salty/savoury desserts. The bouquet is of dried apricot, rose petal with subtle French oak.

It is a perfect combination with strong cheese (e.g. St Agur Blue) plates and any salty or savoury dessert. Interestingly, we’ve seen this also well matched with very salty main dishes and also with cured meats on a charcuterie plate.

Cellaring Potential: 10 to 15 years (2026 to 2031)
Serving Temperature: 10 to 12 degrees C / 50 to 54 degrees F

'Rylstone Estate Bluebird' is a special hospitality label developed under the Rylstone Estate Brand; a wine collaboration between Will de Beaurepaire and James Wilkinson.

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