"It's anything but trendy. It criticised for producing dull, lifeless wines. Yet here I am, after more than 30 years of scribbling about wine, writing my first column on Muller-Thurgau- a variety as fashionable as a fondue party.
Those of you with long memories are starting to glaze over and the rest are probably glancing longingly across at Broadfield's latest greasy spoon critique.
I've probably been guilty of displaying a certain indifference to Muller-thurgau as well. This was dispite the considerable urgings of the late Ian Tyrer, who planted the variety when he established Galafrey in Mount Barker in 1977, and remained a committed disciple until he die in 2003.
But a chance tasting of Galafrey's latest Muller-Thurgau recently made me realise it was a bloody fine wine-far more appealing than trendy new things such as pinot gris and the like.
Muller thurgau- let's call it Muller- is a clone created in 1882 at Geisenheim in the Rhinegau by professor Hermann Muller. For years it was believed the grape was cross between riesling and silvaner. however recent genetic analysis discovered it to be cross between riesling and madelenie royale grapes.
It is most widely planted in Germany, and for many years was a major variety in New Zealand before the advent of sav blanc. It is an early ripen variety with quite low acid and so suits the cooler climates.
for those of you who started out dabbling in sweet styles, muller was the main variety of Black Tower and Blue Nun, which probably did as much damage to it's reputation as anything.
But back to muller and Galafrey. Leading wine consultant Ian Higginbottom suggested the Galafrey vineyard would be ideal for muller, and Tyrer always believe the easy drinking style would flourish and attract lots of attention because of its unqueness and flavour of passionfruit and tropical fruits.
I'm pretty sure Tyrer was still waiting for that ship to come in before he sadly sailed off, but his wife Linda and daughter Kim have stuck with it, and after tasting the latest offering, I'm glad they have.
If the Galafrey muller is the gentle, easy wine, then the dry-grown shiraz 2006 is the antithesis. These old vines, with roots running deep in unirrigated soils, can defy vintage variations in most cases to produce fruit of great depth and concentrated intensity.
This release from the cool 2006 is a cracker, offerig both the ability to drink now and to age over many years.
I've also included the dry-grown riesling from 2010. I reckon these riesling have got better and this one is right up there with the best of them.
Galafrey Muller 2010 $18
A wonderful example of a deliciously appealing wine for current drinking. beautiful aromas of apple and citrus with underlying lift of passionfruit and subtle tropical notes. The palate has a lively flavour of intensity with just a hint of residual sweetness, balanced with what is a soft acid. It's the type of easy-drinking wine that so many trendy new wines pretend to be. worth a serious look 91/100 . Prefect with blue manna crab.
Galafrey reserve dry grown shiraz 2006 $35
This was a fairly tough year in WA because it was so cool during vintage, yet this savoury, earthy shiraz from old vines in the Great Southern has come up trumps. Seamless and smooth, the nose shows some black peper and spice, while the palate is incrediably deep, though retaining some good Great Southern effortless finesse. 95/100 Prefect with rare eye fillet.
Galafrey dry land reserve riesling 2010 $20
These dry-grown riesling from Galafrey can be really tight and steely when young, though this tends to conceal the intensity of the fruit within. This one has a wonderful purity of expression, with spotlessly clean lines and a fine precise acid. really promising wine for some cellaring 91/100 Prefect with freshly shucked oysters.