Question: What is selection de grains noble?
Answer: Vendanges Tardivea (VT) & Selection de Grains Nobles (SGN) are terms used in Alsace pioneered first by Hugel (the indomitable late Johnny Hugel) back in 1976 for late harvest wines. Grapes for SGN have reached even higher sugar levels than for VT resulting in a special wine made by successive picking selection of individual over-ripe grapes affected by noble rot (botrytis cinerea) and is only produced in the best years where favourable conditions allow it. The single grape varieties that are possibly able to achieve this level are usually Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris, or sometimes Muscat d’Alsace. Wines produced with a SGN label are usually sweeter intense powerfully structured complex treasures with a long finish on the palate that seem to age forever. In my IWFS Blog earlier this week you will see reference to 3 bottles of this spectacular first SGN in 1976 from Gewurztraminer grapes. What a joy to taste! Seek them out.
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