Definition of noble rot in US English:

noble rot


  • A gray mold that is deliberately cultivated on grapes to enhance the making of certain sweet wines.

    The fungus is Botrytis cinerea, subdivision Deuteromycotina

    • ‘It is every thing that one could hope for in a dessert wine, complex flavours (a veritable fruit bowl of exotic fruits), unctuousness, sweetness without being cloying thanks to a hint of noble rot.’
    • ‘Her ‘Botrytis’ is for Sauternes-ophiles who love the noble rot.’
    • ‘The most important Hungarian wine region is Tokaji, the oldest sweet wine from noble rot in the world.’
    • ‘A sweet white wine produced from the noble rot, Louis XIV of France declared it ‘king of wines, wine of kings’.’
    • ‘Wines labelled as Sélection des Grains Nobles, however, nearly always contain a proportion of grapes affected by botrytis, or noble rot.’


1930s: translation of French pourriture noble.