I often see saffron or ginger cited as tell-tale characteristics of a botrytised white wine. Does anyone have any recommendations for a dry, white botrytised wine that could be used as a reference for such characteristics? Preferably nothing too esoteric/small production since I live in Wisconsin (though we have access to more than many might think). Further, does anyone have any insight as to the compound or general class of compounds that have been suggested as being responsible for these traits?
Savennieres, Domaine Aux Moines
Most white wines from Savennières, Vouvray, and many from Alsace are going to show at least a little botrytis.
It's a little bit "out there", but Samuel Tinon Tokaji Szamorodni shows botrytis as well.
Smaragd Grüner Veltliner from Wachau produced by F.X. Pichler
You might be able to throw Ygrec in there. Dry wine that has Yquem added into it. Have to look at my notes to see how much RS is in the wine. I know it's different than the above examples. Just something fun that came to mind.
There is also a producer in the Loire, Alexandre Bain that produces dry Sauvignon Blanc that has some boyrytis on it.
Thanks Tyler, I've enjoyed those wines before and can see how they would be a solid example.
Yes Ygrec definitely counts, and many of the Sauternes producers making dry wine pick with some level of botrytis. It isn't made by having d'Yquem added back in (at least as per what I was told), but is vinified in used d'Yquem barrels and allotted about 7 g/l of RS. I actually discuss in yesterday's feature (https://www.guildsomm.com/public_content/features/articles/b/bryce-wiatrak/posts/dry-wines-from-sweet-regions). Had never tasted it before researching this piece - it's a gem!
Vouvray, Savennieres, Riesling, Vendage Tardives can be dry, there are many wines out there that fall into this camp. Smargd level gv's. Really what you're looking for is specific vineyard conditions that will give botrytis with a level of acid in the grapes that leads to a producer to make the choice to ferment to dryness to keep the wine in balance rather than leaving RS.
And to answer your question about the compound or general class of compounds that show ginger, honey, and saffron is botrytis (cinerea). It attacks the grapes in moist, humid conditions and penetrates the skin of the grapes and displaces the water content while concentrating the natural sugar in the grapes. To the best of my knowledge, botrytis imparts those aromas/flavors. The winemaker chooses whether or not to ferment completely dry or to stop fermentation with natural residual sugar to left. Alsatian, Loire, German, and Austrian wines are great source for the examples you are looking for.
You might want to try Baberani's Luigi e Giovanna bottling. [from Umbria - Grechetto + Trebbiano Procanico] The percentage of botrytis infected grapes changes each vintage but is usually in the 5-10% range.
I've seen literature that correlates elevated types of esters, lactones (sotolone for example), and other impact compounds in reaction to bunch rot infecting the fruit but I haven't found anything showing which specific compound or general class of compound might responsible for that ginger/saffron character
Thats a great suggestion, thanks Janine, I will see if I can get my hands on a bottle or two
And to be honest, it probably doesn't really matter which compound is responsible for that character, just that you can use those traits to identify that style of wine, something I'm trying to be better at identifying in dry styles