Muller-Catoir Haardt Muskateller Trocken 2016
Family owned since 1774 with 9 generations tending the vines, the winery is now run by Philipp David Catoir. Martin Franzen, hailing from the Mosel, with experience as head of operations at Schlossgut Diel in the Nahe and Gut Nagelsforst in Baden, took over winemaking responsibility from Hans-Günther Schwarz in 2001. In an effort to showcase terroir and varietal character, Müller-Catoir has adopted the following philosophy of winegrowing: “Vines were grown by natural methods with organic fertilization, permanent green cutting that gets more and more radical every summer, and ever-greater selective harvesting with hand-picking of grapes for even the most “basic” kabinett wine – all these measures cannot help but produce only a small yield of wines with a mineral note, a filigree acidity structure and exotic fruit aromas.” The estate began an organic conversion in 2007 and completed their first organic vintage in 2009. The vineyards in Haardt are composed of primary rock (urgestein) and sandstone, with an increasing proportion of gravel lower on the slopes. Vineyards of Gimmeldingen contain more loess and sand, while the vineyards of Mussbach are the most gravelly. Müller-Catoir also bottles several “micro parcels”; one of which, the Breumel in den Mauern, is a monopole inside the Burgergarten which was first planted 700 years ago, and is also one of the oldest vineyards in the Pfalz.
Müller-Catoir was a pioneer of reductive winemaking in Germany. The estate implements a gentle crush, a long skin contact, slow gentle pressing, and then ferments at warmer than customary fermentation temperatures in stainless steel. The wine is racked only once and very late. Müller-Catoir produces wines of outstanding transparency and density, and remains emblematic of Riesling at its most sophisticated.
This sunny and relatively dry region served for many years as a German tourist mecca and was associated with low cost, cheerful wines. But since the 1980s, it has gained a reputation as one of Germany’s more innovative regions, which has led to increased international demand.
Alluringly aromatic and delightful, Muscat never takes itself too seriously. Muscat is actually an umbrella name for a diverse set of grapes, some of which are genetically related and some of which, are not. The two most important versions are the noble, Muscat blanc à Petits Grains, making wines of considerable quality and Muscat of Alexandria, thought to be a progeny of the former. Both are grown throughout the world and can be made in a wide range of styles from dry to sweet, still to sparkling and even fortified. It is well known in Italy's Piedmont region for Moscato d’Asti, a slightly sparkling, semi-sweet, refreshing wine that is low in alcohol. On the Iberian peninsula, it goes by Moscatel, not to be confused with Bordeaux's Muscadelle, which is acutally unrelated.
In the Glass
Muscat wines possess marked aromatics and flavors of peach, pear, Meyer lemon, orange, orange blossom, rose petal, jasmine, honeysuckle or lychee, often with a hint of sweet spice.
Thanks to its naturally low alcohol levels, Muscat is a perfect match for spicy Asian cuisine, especially when the wine has a little bit of residual sugar. Off-dry Muscat can work well with lighter desserts like key lime pie and lemon meringue, while fully sweet Muscat-based dessert wines are enjoyable after dinner with an assortment of cheeses.
Muscat is one of the oldest known grape varieties, dating as far back as the days of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Pliny the Elder wrote in the 13th century of a sweet, perfumed grape variety so attractive to bees that he referred to it as uva apiana, or “grape of the bees.” Most likely, he was describing one of the Muscat varieties.