The Name is Noble One (Lu Bao-yuan)
I was a plain child, first noticed as a shrivelled bunch of Semillon grapes from a secluded vineyard in the Riverina, New South Wales, left unsupervised and hanging on the vines. But I always wore a light, smart outfit with gold lining. And I was quite pretty, voluptuous, fragrant and honey-scented, they said. One day, I was kissed by Fungus Botrytis Cinerea, which made me perspire with pleasure and lose my youthful moisture!
There came the Sun kissing me intensely and repeatedly all through the afternoons without my consent while I was busily scratching my back to avoid Fungus.
Oh, such distasteful, double harassment from Sun and Fungus! Off, and go away! Why did this duo take such fiendish pleasure in breaking my fruit down, drying up my sugars and magnifying the flavours in me!
It was a poetic, young man by the name of Darren De Bortoli who, on his way back home from his graduation ceremony at Roseworthy Agricultural College one lazy afternoon, stopped by my motionless, half-dead and mummified body. He looked at me and brooded, and he called me: Noble One……..
I still did not understand why Darren liked Fungus Botrytis Cinerea so much. ‘Growing Semillon grapes so close to the majestic Murray River on these special high clay content soils’, he murmured, ‘should create the best microclimate - perfect for the development of Fungus Botrytis Cinerea!’ Kneeling next to me, Darren prayed to Sun to kiss me all over until I was between Heaven and Earth.
Was I handpicked in April, or really was I handpicked in May? I could not remember exactly because I just passed out! I don’t remember when I woke up either; I simply did not know where I had been. But I knew my life would not be the same again upon meeting Julie Mortlock, the sturdy midwife/winemaker with a stern face from the Charles Sturt University.
She did not speak much; she rarely looked at me. But that gave me ample chances to sneak a good look at how she laboured to maintain the high sugar level in me while Yeast struggled to ferment my concentrated juice. Because at these sugar levels, high acetic acid could be produced, this built up my character on the one hand but spoilt me on the other if it was to become too high.
She cared deeply for me so that my juice did not oxidise too.
Once again, I passed out as I was intoxicated. Upon Yeast’s finishing its fermentation, I was clarified, stabilised and then aged in French oak for an average of 12 months before blending and bottling…
Here I am, a beautiful wine with a wardrobe of awards consisting of over 320 Gold Medals, 98 Trophies and 95 International Awards, including being three times winner of the International Wine and Spirit Competition for 'Best Botrytis Wine'. I was also Miss Sweet Wine in Hong Kong in 2004. I am rich, round, fresh and fat but lively with good finesse. Lots of dried apricot, peach skin, orange, creamy, spicy, vanilla, honey flavours. Crisp and warm, marmalade finish, I am very agreeable with fruits.
And there came the young Chinese man who brought me to Hong Kong. He was very nice to me and always bought me dinners. And there at the dinners, all his tipsy friends always signed their names on my body!
Did they know I have a name too? My name is Noble One.