Without the botrytis cinerea, a microscopic fungus absolutely necessary to the formation of the « noble rot », would the birth of Sauternes–Barsac be impossible.
We are at 35 km from Bordeaux, on the left bank of the Garonne river, in a village, Barsac, crossed by a small river called the Ciron. In autumn the cold waters of the Ciron throwing into the Garonne river will form a micro-climate made of moisture and morning mists. The botrytis settles down on the ripe grapes and make the skin of the berries permeable: sugars of the grapes are then concentrated under the sunny afternoons.
This fungus, enemy of all other winegrowers in the world, will produce here within several days, this magical alchemy, made of sweetness and spices, concentration and fineness.
But botrytis does not appear consistently all over the vineyard. It attacks the berries progressively as their ripeness. Impossible to harvest all the vineyard in one shot. We need to proceed with successive and selective picking, in order to take each grape at the right moment.
Pickings at château de Myrat spread therefore over a long period: it is not rare to start at the end of September to finish at the beginning of November.