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Müller Thurgau grapes

by | Nov 21, 2016

Much like the Frankenstein monster Müller Thurgau was born from a laboratory experiment. It shared the somewhat same fate as well.

Müller Thurgau

Up to 1980 this grape variety was blamed tirelessly for the production of flat and off-dry Blanc wine in Germany.

In this case, however the creator’s name was Dr. Müller who created Muller Thurgau by mixing certain specific genes from Riesling grape and Silvaner grape varieties.

And just like in present days the legends of the Frankenstein monster forms a gripping tale and has become famous so is the case with Muller Thurgau.

In recent times this grape variety has become the most famous among all the other hybrid grape varieties which are often referred to as the new breeds.

Wine grape varieties

This new breed is a white grape variety that was developed by Dr. Muller in 1882. Grown primarily in Germany the other regions where these vines are grown are Austria, England, Hungary, Northern Italy, Australia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Japan, the Czech Republic and the United states.

This variety is known by a number of different names in different regions some of them being Miler Turgau, Müllerka, Müller, Mullerovo, Riesling-Sylvamer, Rivaner, Rizlingsilvani, Rizvanac Bijeli, Rizvaner etc.

History of Müller Thurgau Grapes

As is the usual reason, the parent vines Riesling and Silvaner were crossed to produce a new variety that would possess the best attribute of both the parent species.

The crossing was done by Dr. Muller at the Geisenheim Grape Breeding Institute. Dr. Muller wanted Muller Thurgau to inherit and possess the complexity and vigour of Riesling grapes and the early ripening ability of the Silvaner grapes.

Although the desired results were not obtained yet the new variety so developed became one of the most planted and dominant grape varieties in all the German vineyards.

In the late 20th century, this variety gained widespread popularity due to its ability to grow on any type of soil and to adjust to any climatic condition. Due to this ability of the varietal to adapt easily to its environment Muller Thurgau was often planted in the flat regions where it was not possible to grow any other vines.

This proved to be profitable because the alternate plant, sugar beet, that was planted on these flat lands did not have very high profit margin. Another reason for their success was that they were an early ripening variety and had large yields and were less trying and demanding than the other vine varieties.

However, the winter of 1979 proved to be a turning point in the destiny of these grapes. On January 1st the temperatures fell as low as -7°C which caused a mass destruction of these vines. However, it has revived its significance again.

Viticulture and Wine Making for Müller Thurgau

Muller Thurgau is the second most widely cultivated varietals in Germany and covers an area of about 40,000 acres of land makes up for one-fifth of the total German vineyards.

This is an early ripening variety and ripens usually during late September. Muller is a very low demanding variety and does not require bright sunny weather or large amounts of precipitation nor well drained soils.

They generally thrive best on the east facing slopes of the vineyards which are at a height of 550-650m above the sea level and have calcareous soils.

The grapes are carefully picked and de-stemming of the ripe and healthy grapes is done. The grapes are slowly pressed to extract the must.

They are then allowed to undergo fermentation by the process of natural staying in stainless steel tanks at a controlled temperature of 16°C. They are then allowed to age for 4 months on fine lees.

Characteristics of the Müller Thurgau grape

In a glass they exhibit the straw yellow colour with the aroma of fresh tropical fruits and richness and complexity of apricot, nutmeg, elderberry and peaches.

It also often gives a light floral aroma with a succulent, medium bodied, aromatic and balanced taste on the palate. They have a crisp, vivid flavour with 12.5% alcohol by volume and 3.5g/l sugar content.

A photo posted by Sara Debiasi (@sara.debiasi) on

Food pairings with Müller Thurgau wine

Tasting best when served at a temperature of 10°-12°C they can be paired with Montassio Cheese onion tart mushrooms with coconut, lime leaf, ginger and lemongrass etc. It serves as an excellent aperitif.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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