Anne Amie Vineyards might make you take a second, or a first, look at the oft-maligned müller-thurgau grape and the wine that comes from it. The Oregon winery does a great job with the Swiss creation that is the second most grown grape in Germany.
Müller-thurgau is a grape purposely created by crossing riesling with another less known grape, madeline royale. Hermann Müller, a Swiss doctor, was the man behind the cross back in 1882. He apparently wanted a grape that ripened earlier but kept many of the other qualities of riesling. In the former he was rewarded and in the latter he was not.
This is a grape that has often inspired disdain from wine snobs, in part, because it has often been used to make bad wine. I would point out the same is true of numerous other grapes but in a general sense I would tend to agree with the disdain because, up until now, I haven’t liked the wines made müller-thurgau —except in blends . A nice example of a blend, also out of Oregon, is Montinore Estate’s Borealis. Sometimes blending wines just do not make good varietals.
Up until now I’d only found müller-thurgau as a varietal to be, at best, tolerable. This wine from Anne Amie Vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton district of Oregon has made me rethink MY snobbery.
The first fruit flavor you taste is reminiscent of pear. Literally every review--to say nothing of the winery notes--lists a different fruit from apricots to key lime to citrus pith; when is the last time you tasted citrus pith? I think the gist here is that the wine is crisp and reminiscent of lighter fruits. It is smooth with minimal acidity. It is a crowd pleasing, easy-drinking, wine. There is no hint of oakiness which isn’t surprising since this grape isn’t usually oaked. This wine is, in fact, ages in stainless steel.
Fans of un-oaked chardonnay will appreciate this while those who like big oak or butteriness may or may not be fans. I like variety in my wine so I will go big oak and no oak on a whim, a mood or depending on what I am eating. This has some analogs with dry riesling except it lacks the acid. It is a less “simple” wine than most pinot grigio/pinot gris.
Again, if you grab a DIFFERENT, müller-thurgau do not expect the above to hold up. Even a different year from the Anne Amie Vineyards may well be different. I would expect subsequent things (weather being favorable) to improve.
Anne Amie is also a wine maker well worth more examination. Oregon produces some truly great wine.