Wine Down Eugene July 17-23
As I pack-up for my next adventure in the world of wine and wine writing, I’m reminded of how much I love what I do. Although writing about wine takes a lot of time, dedication and research (gotta love the cartoon that says it all), the perks are far beyond what I had imagined when I started down this path.
With loads of exciting travel taking place these past few months, including trips to New York City, Washington, British Columbia and Spain, I also enjoy tasting the wine that gets shipped to my door. From Tuscany, Italy, to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, I receive a lot of wine and have discovered some unfamiliar varietals and real beauties through samples that are sent to me for review.
Last week, I received an entire case of Oregon Riesling from marketing extraordinaire’s Watershed Communications, and as I pop their corks each week from wineries like Trisaetum, Brandborg, Argyle and Elk Cove (to name a few), I’ll be writing about them on Best Case Scenario on WineJulia.com. In the next few days, I’m expecting several Willamette Valley Pinot Noirs to arrive at my door for an on-line Twitter tasting and #WineChat that will have a focus on the upcoming IPNC (International Pinot Noir Celebration). Hosted by William Allen of Simple Hedonisms on Wednesday, July 24, 6-7 pm, I am really looking forward to a vibrant discussion and tasting my absolute favorite type of wine: Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Most recently, I received two different style Müller-Thurgaus from one of my favorite Oregon wineries, Kramer Vineyards. The Müller-Thurgaus, one bubbly and one still, were sent to me for another on-line Twitter tasting, where wine enthusiasts will join each other under the hashtag: #TasteKramerWine. Not taking place until this Thursday, my will power caved in as the Kramer duo chilled in the fridge – I couldn’t wait, so I popped the corks.
Müller-Thurgau is Kramer Vineyards most popular white wine. With a planting of one small block back in 1986, they have increased the plantings to three acres total. The Müller-Thurgau varietal has an interesting background: It was developed in the 1880s by Dr. Hermann Müller, and until recently, Müller-Thurgau was believed to be a cross between Riesling and Silvaner. Recent DNA testing revealed that the varietal Madeleine Royale actually pollinated Riesling to produce Müller-Thurgau, so no Silvaner was involved at all.
Tasting one varietal made in two totally different styles was really interesting. I tried the Kramer Vineyards Celebrate Müller-Thurgau Sparkling Wine ($18) first. Beautifully aromatic, pear, peach, banana, lemon custard and nutmeg were displayed in both aromas and flavors. The mouthfeel was lush, juicy and totally palate pleasing with loads of soft, tiny bubbles. The tropical fruitiness was perfectly balanced by silky acidity, and I absolutely loved it. The aromas and flavors of the Kramer Vineyards 2011 Müller-Thurgau Estate ($12) were similar, but richer and more intense with added flavors of dried fruit and ripe apricot. The mouthfeel was smooth and placid on the front and mid palate, and the finish had a nice shot of lemon zest. They were equally delicious, and both are perfect for summers on the patio, falls by the fireplace and New Year’s Eve.
I only recently started to truly appreciate Müller-Thurgau, and possibly because I’ve had great opportunities, as a wine writer, to taste and experience this unique and delicious varietal. To learn more about it, pick up a bottle or two and join me for the live Twitter tasting with winemaker Kim Kramer, Thursday, July 18, 6 pm. Use hashtag #TasteKramerWine.