Forget about the budding of the trees and the flowering of the plants in springtime. That’s all secondary to what should be the real focus of the season: Drinking outside of your accustomed comfort zone.
Really, there’s no better time of year to try something new – with the food in transition (at least here on the East Coast) and weather uncertain of what it wants to do (70 degrees one day, flurries the next), there’s no downside to opening up a bottle of wine you’ve never experienced before.
And there are few better grape varieties to start with than Müller-Thurgau. This food-friendly charmer follows the rule that so many Northern Italian, German and Austrian grape varieties do: The more difficult it is to pronounce, the easier it is to love.
Blaufränkisch. Zweigelt. Grüner Veltliner. Lagrein. Trockenbeerenauslese, for heaven’s sake. And now, with May nipping at April’s heels, Müller-Thurgau. It’s a bright, subtly floral, often mineral gem that works just as well on its own as it does with food, from winter’s pork to spring’s vegetables. And the best ones, like this beauty from Northern Italian standout Alois Lageder, are priced well below what they could be, especially considering the pleasure they provide.
Alois Lageder Müller-Thurgau Dolomiti 2010
An exceptionally clean, vibrant nose of nectarine, orange oil, green bell peppers, a hint of floral aromatics and clove lead to richer flavors of grapefruit pith and oil, more green bell pepper, crunchy green apple, spice and a touch of flowers on the finish. This is a vibrant, mouthwatering white that calls out for food – everything from saag paneer to sushi to foie gras torchon would work well. Versatility and excitement are rarely this affordable. SRP $15.