Thoughts, scribbles, travels and photos
Arnold Holzer is the young winemaker behind our bestselling winery, Eschenhof Holzer. For reasons unbeknownst to us till recently, one day Arnold decided to acquire some Müller-Thurgau, an 1882 crossing of Riesling and Madeleine Royale. It's a grape developed to withstand cool climes, and the hardy little thing can ripen just about anywhere. It was the most widely planted variety in New Zealand in the 1980s, and in England in the 1990s, but has fallen by the wayside. It's still the second most widely planted grape in Switzerland, and Luxembourg's number one, don't you know.
So Müller-Thurgau isn't the most prestigious of grapes, but here's what we love about wine, and what makes it endlessly fascinating. You can take something so underrated like Müller-Thurgau, and in the hands of a creative genius like Arnold, elevate it to something quite astonishing.
The Müller-Thurgau grape juice is fermented for a few weeks in contact with the skins, making this a skin-contact white or so-called "orange wine", even if the colour of this wine in particular isn't remotely orange. It's an ever-so-slightly cloudy looking white wine.
What this modish method does is bring texture, tannin and additional flavour to what you'd expect in a white wine. It's pretty cool, and opens up a whole new, unexpected range of flavours.
Why should you care? Apart from the fact this is Müller-Thurgau like you've never seen it before, and it's kookily packaged like a video game cover, skin-contact whites can be your saviour in the modern-day world of fusion cooking and ethnic foods.
These days we eat so much strongly flavoured Asian food at home - whether Vietnamese, Japanese, Chinese, Thai - as well as exotically spiced dishes from north Africa or the Middle East or beyond, we need a new flavour palette for our wines too. Traditional European wine flavours sometimes can't cut it in this cacophony of global flavours, but time after time, 'orange wines' like this can. It's their extra texture, unique flavours, and touch of tannin.
Unconvinced? Try for yourself...