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On the grapevine: Müller-Thurgau

Müller-Thurgau is a vine which we know less about than we should, considering it makes up a considerable percentage of all the vines grown in Germany. It is a white grape variety which was created in the Swiss Canton of Thurgau in 1882 by Hermann Müller. It is mainly used to make wines in Germany and Austria but it is also found in other regions including Japan, Slovakia and New Zealand. The grape was first created by crossing Riesling with Madeleine Royal.

It is one of the leading grapes planted in Germany, it has a reputation which has been less than positive in the past but in the present day Müller-Thurgau wines are crisp, easy to drink and very popular in Continental Europe and beyond.

Müller-Thurgau has had a leading role in the German wine industry since the 1980s and into the 1990s and it was only in the 2000s when a real boom in Riesling happened and Müller-Thurgau’s popularity lessened slightly. The versatility that the grape offers makes it particularly popular and it is enjoyed by people of all tastes and particularly liked by wine novices.

It is a grape which grows relatively easily and it provides consistently high yields which further boosts it popularity and with a little focus from some wineries, it has become a more enjoyable wine and not simply one which can be mass produced. It is a wine best enjoyed in its youth, as quickly as possible and it has a light and refreshing flavour which has made it more popular and enjoyed beyond the borders of Germany more frequently.

As well as producing singular Müller-Thurgau wines the grape is often combined with others to create interesting and vibrant offerings such as the Tomas Cusine, Auzells, 2014 in our collection which combines the grape with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Macabeo for a fruity fresh and fragrant end product.

Though this is a grape which has often found itself in the shadow of Riesling and other similar varietals, it is certainly worth sampling.

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Piedmonte Reds

Sitting just where the Borbero and Tanaro rivers meet, Piedmonte is located in the southeast area of Turin, in the northwest of Italy. Considered to be one of the three main Italian winemaking areas, the Piedmonte region is split into two main areas, Alba to the southwest, home to Dolcetto, Barbaresco and Barbera, and then Asti in the southeast.

Italy may only be a small country, but it produces an impressive 8 billion bottles of wine per year, and Piedmonte is one of the leaders of quality Italian wines. The region has seen newer, more modern winemaking techniques being introduced, that use new oak barrels to add a touch of vanilla, to give a lovely effect of counter-balancing the acidity and tannin and acidity. which naturally develops.

The hot climate of Piedmonte is ideal for Nebbiolo, a late ripener that ages superbly produces wine with a high tannin, and just the right acidity, with scents of mint, liquorice and rose. With its spicy fruit cherry flavours and hints of violets, the Massolino, Langhe Nebbiolo, 2013, gives an immediate fragrance. From a long, slow vintage, this striking 2013 gives out pure Nebbiolo perfume of dark cherry, anise, wood spice and subtle hints of dried fruits. With a silky texture, it finishes with a pleasant buzz of freshness on the finish.

Vigne Marina Coppi is a family-run estate situated on the hills of Castellania in south-eastern Piemonte. Established in 2003, Only 25,000 bottles a year are produced from the four hectares of vineyard, which are planted primarily with Barbera, alongside some Freisa and Croatina grapes. Vigne Marina Coppi, Barbera Sant Andrea, 2013 is young wine, with an intense ruby colour and aromas that are full of notes of wild strawberries and cherries. Barbera has a rich deep colour and acidity, but is lighter in tannins. This impressive 2013 gives out Nebbiolo perfume of dark cherry, anise, wood spice and hints of dried fruits. Silky textured, it finishes with a lovely hint of freshness on the finish.

During and after fermentation, the skins are immersed for twenty days, to create the Barolo. Aged for at least four years in aged oak barrels, this lets the tannin and the acidity come through harder and stronger, G.D. Vajra, Barolo Le Albe, 2011 is a robust red that is improved with aging. This concentrated ruby has a broad orange-tinged rim and a cherry nose. Tastes of sweet strawberry fruit, combined with waves of grainy tannins, this wine’s tangy acidity turns up on the finish.