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Ch. Benoit Muller Thurgau 1999
One of Pinot Noir’s most successful New World outposts, the Willamette Valley is the largest and most important AVA in Oregon. With a continental climate moderated by the influence of the Pacific Ocean, it is perfect for cool-climate viticulture and the production of elegant wines.
Mountain ranges bordering three sides of the valley, particularly the Chehalem Mountains, provide the option for higher-elevation vineyard sites.
The valley's three prominent soil types (volcanic, sedimentary and silty, loess) make it unique and create significant differences in wine styles among its vineyards and sub-AVAs. The iron-rich, basalt-based, Jory volcanic soils found commonly in the Dundee Hills are rich in clay and hold water well; the chalky, sedimentary soils of Ribbon Ridge, Yamhill-Carlton and McMinnville encourage complex root systems as vines struggle to search for water and minerals. In the most southern stretch of the Willamette, the Eola-Amity Hills sub-AVA soils are mixed, shallow and well-drained. The Hills' close proximity to the Van Duzer Corridor (which became its own appellation as of 2019) also creates grapes with great concentration and firm acidity, leading to wines that perfectly express both power and grace.
Though Pinot noir enjoys the limelight here, Pinot gris, Pinot blanc and Chardonnay also thrive in the Willamette. Increasing curiosity has risen recently in the potential of others like Grüner Veltliner, Chenin blanc and Gamay.
Müller-Thurgau is a white grape variety created by Hermann Müller in the Swiss Canton of Thurgau in 1882. He crossed Riesling with the table grape, Madeleine Royale, following an ambition to make a delightful drinking wine from an easier-to-grow vine than Riesling. When done right, Müller-Thurgau is a full-bodied white with floral aromatics. It has a refreshing, ripe, peach character that balances its inherent crisp quality. Müller-Thurgau makes white wine in Germany, Austria, Northern Italy, Hungary, England, Australia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, New Zealand, the United States and Japan. While some of its best examples actually come from the Alto Adige region of Italy, it is still the second most widely planted white grape in Germany second to Riesling. Worldwide, it is one of the most widely planted of the new breeds created since the 19th century.