High-altitude Müller-Thurgau is, is, is….awesome!



For long it was believed to be a crossing between Riesling and Sylvaner. I remember already 15+ years ago, in my early fumbling in the world of wine, that I didn’t get it. That is; take two quality grapes (yes, I do consider Sylvaner being one), cross them and you have the goodies of each grape. But how on earth could Riesling and Sylvaner end up in a Müller-Thurgau! Come on; Müller-Thurgau is Liebfraumilch!

Since Müller-Thurgau isn’t poured on a regular basis at home I haven’t given the genealogy much thought. Reading with ten years delay I’m therefore quite happy to see DNA fingerprinting determining a crossing between Riesling and Madeleine Royale (a table wine grape which ripens extremely early). Taught ya!

No, I’m not going to mock the creator, Hermann Müller. Au contraire dear reader, I want to thank him!

If you wan’t to make good wine out of a grape that ripens early and probably are popular mainly thanks to that, large yields and adaptability, how do you proceed? Cultivating it 1,000 meters above sea level; could that be a good start?

At the wine route of South Tyrol, in Alto Adige, you will find the vineyards of Tiefenbrunner. Quite a big player on the scene, mainly focusing on white, they’re still producing good quality wines filled with personality. The flagship wine, Feldmarschall, is a Müller-Thurgau! Flagship huh, how can he then call the other ones quality wines you perhaps wonder.

Grown in chalky soil at 1,000 meters above sea level I believe Tiefenbrunner has provided us with Müller-Thurgau’s raison d’être because Feldmarschall rocks! Twice I’ve been impressed and a few weeks ago it was the 2008 with its floral notes, minerals in abundance and classy acidity showing Hermann Müller perhaps desverves some cred after all.

Not much color to the 2008 but the aromas are there; jasmine, green apples, wet rocks, green herbs and lime peel. Fine concentration on the nose. More tropical notes in the palate where some peaches show up. Cool minerality, jasmines and a high class acidity that adds considerable depth to the taste. Bonedry. Impressive length and pure but restrained fruit. Guess you need a weak spot for the floral styled wines to like this. Good thing I have that! Thanks Hermann.
(2008 Tiefenbrunner, Feldmarschall, Müller-Thurgau, Südtirol, 91-92 p) 

PS. You can find the 2008 here.

PS.2. Yes, I know the art of crossing isn’t that simple…