Tiefenbrunner Feldmarschall von Fenner Müller Thurgau 2011
Few discuss or taste wines from the Alto Adige region of Italy. Part of the reason for this is lack of access, but I suspect it is also the result of unfortunate oversight by most wine stores and restaurants. This lies in distinct contrast to Friuli (also in the Northeast), which has gained increasing popularity with both sommeliers and consumers and is home to some of the most exciting orange wines being made today.
Hybrid Grape, Hybrid Region
Alto Adige is one of those hybrid European regions, with cultural influences from countries on both sides of the border. Here the influence is German/Austrian and Italian. Many of the most important grapes, including this Muller Thurgau (a hybrid of Riesling and Sylvaner), originate in Germany. At the same time, there are some indigenous grapes (e.g. Schiava, Nosiola, Teroldego), which haven’t seen much light of day in North America. This is unfortunate as the best producers are doing wonderful things with these grapes. Plantings of international French varieties are now common as well and are used to make some of the priciest and most prestigious wines.
Tiefenbrunner is a top producer in Alto Adige, and this is one of their hallmark wines. They hold back this wine a couple years before release. It is named after an Austrian general who was renowned in the Austrian empire for his leadership of alpine troops.
Planted in loamy, limestone soils, this Muller Thurgau is considered one of the best in Europe and is made with grapes from the highest Muller Thurgau vineyard in the world, sitting at 1000 metres above sea level. The grape loves altitude, and the resulting quality shows easily in this wine, which combines fabulous Riesling-like orchard fruits such as apricots and peaches with a viscous palate and a savory, mineral laced finish. Unlike poorer examples, the acid in this wine keeps it lively and lip-smacking.
It is a fabulous wine with asian food, including the sweet and sour fish I had with it. If you can find this wine, it is a superb example of high-level wine making in Alto Adige and very much recommended as a leading example of Muller Thurgau.
$25-$38 USD at various stores