Zehnthof Luckert, Müller-Thurgau trocken, 2011
I want to believe. Not in UFOs, Armageddon or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, but in wine - in all the lost causes, regions and plucky little grape varieties that no one trusted to ever produce anything of worth. I want to believe, to give them a chance, to celebrate their triumph over the expected. One grape variety that needs such a triumph is Müller-Thurgau. Looking at the statistics you would not believe it, after all MT is the second most planted grape variety in Germany.
However, no one loves it as it is seen as the boring main ingredient for German bulk wine, not even worthy to be mentioned on the label. Can we still believe in it?
For many years I have ignored Müller-Thurgau, I have to admit. Not only is its reputation not very good, it is also hard to find varietal bottles from Germany. Italian MTs display the Müller-Thurgau name proudly, but in Germany it is hidden shamefully. However, there are also signs of hope. In 2010 co-Rambler Julian lit a beacon of hope in in his must read piece What the **** is Müller-Thurgau? And is it ever any good? A Wine Rambler investigation, following which I have decided I will believe in Müller-Thurgau.
The first steps on this quest lead me to the south-eastern wine region of Franken (Franconia), and to a respectable producer whose wines we love. Full of hope I unscrewed the cap, to be greeted by faint yeast aromas, citrus and apple notes, pepper and nutmeg and a certain floralness - at first this had a cheap touch which I am tempted to call "soft-porn floralness" but over time that impression went away. Not unpleasant at all, but also neither deep, exciting or particularly charming.
In fact, this is almost how you could summarise my overall impression; but let's be more specific. Or as specific as the Franconian MT allows. Luckerts managed to give it a certain roundness and a not unpleasant texture with peppered peach moments, vegetables flavours and a nice nutmeg finish, but whenever I felt I was getting into something really interesting it slipped away. The drinking experience was somewhat oscillating, if that makes any sense. At one moment I felt the MT showed grip and the next I was in soapy soft drink territory or found myself irritated by an unpleasant sharpness. The latter was much reduced on day two and never prominent, but enough to be noticeable.
Even so Luckerts' Müller-Thurgau is not a bad wine, but it lacked the excitement to get me over the aspects I felt less warmly about. If you don't mind those you will find a reliable, every-day drinking wine to be served on the right occasion. However, looking at the price I am not sure why you would want to - we are already in the territory where a nice Riesling, Silvaner or Pinot Blanc can be had. And that is something I don't have to believe in.
ce la vie with Muller Thurgau
Sorry to hear that you were disappointed with your Muller Thurgau trocken from Franken. I have only tried it once, it was around 2-3 euros. I had heard so much bad press about it so I wanted to find out how true it all was and sadly it was true; a very dull and boring wine.
I did see some higher priced Muller Thurgaus and I was wondering, "if the price is higher, will that change the quality"? Thankfully I didn't waste any money on that, and yes for that price you can find a much better Riesling, Grauburgunder, or Weissburgunder any day.
Müller-Thurgau can be a superb wine!
Müller-Thurgau can be a superb wine! My suggestions:
- Rainer Sauer Müller-Thurgau FRANK & FREI 2011 (even the Müller in the 'Literflasche' is great!) | Franconia
- Seegut Kress Müller-Thurgau 2011 | Bodensee (Baden)
Müller-Thurgau can indeed make good wines, so I would not let this one discourage you, Solomon (also it is not really a bad wine, but for what it is I find it too expensive). Check out some of the wines Julian reviews in the article linked at the top of this post, and I am sure Mark's recommendations will also not let you down (thanks for sharing these, Mark). I will continue to look for a good MT and there is indeed another wine waiting its time in my wine rack...
Don't be snobby if it comes to German Müller-Thurgau! MT has to be put into the category "simple but good".
The reason that MT is so underrated may be that most of it is not planted in the best terroirs which are reserved for the Rieslings. MT is less demanding than Riesling, it is less sensitive to spring forst and so less risky.
While it is being produced in all wine regions in Germany, one of the most popular Müller Thurgau's is the budget priced "Volkacher Kirchberg" from Franconia. It is a mass wine easily available. I like its specific nutmeg tone, which comes out best in the semisweet version. I find it too aromatic to go with fish, but it is a good food partner with traditional meat dishes like pork roasts.
Similar to Rieslings, MT's can differ a lot depending on terroir and treatmant. Many MT are indeed boring. A completely different style of MT is presented by the Winzergenossenschaft Mayschoss from the Ahr valley. Their MT (called Rivaner) has lots of fruit, very fresh, straightforward with almost no nutmeg at all.
The complicted name MT is widely replaced by the new naming "Rivaner" which stresses its resemblance to the Rieslig grape and has been introduced for marketing reasons.
In reply to Müller-Thurgau by Apicius
Oh, we are not snobbish about it at all. You may have seen from the link to Julian's article that we do investigate MT and have put some effort into making it more visible. I wasn't aware of Mayschoss - I think that may be worth checking out. Thank you for your comment and the suggestions!