2017 Minimus Müller-Thurgau Vitae Springs Vineyard
Region: Salem Hills < Willamette Valley < Oregon
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; 45-year old own-rooted vines on volcanic jory soil; fermentation and aging in acacia casks; zero added SO2; bottled unfined/unfiltered with 35ppm So2; 110 cases; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Chad Stock
Minimus Wines are unconventional even by Oregon standards. Each wine is an individually numbered, non-repeating experiment with assorted varieties, fermentation, and/or maturation techniques that break formal winemaking conventions. And Chad Stock, quietly intense, with a laser-sharp focus and insane memory for details, is somewhat of a mad scientist. Chad has two Oregon wine projects: Omero, his classic label focused on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris; and Minimus, where there are no rules and he gets to play with whichever grape, method or fermentation vessel he fancies.
Like this pretty, aromatic wine made from the oldest Müller-Thurgau vines in the US (45 years - old by US standards). Müller-Thurgau is an odd bird, a white grape created in 1882 by a swiss dude, Dr. Müller, from crossing Riesling with a grape we've never heard of, Madeleine Royale. You typically see this variety in wines from Germany, Austria and Italy's Alto Adige region, but never stateside. So it's fun to try Chad's experimental version from Oregon's volcanic soils, which is less aromatic and fleshier than its European sisters. Because the weather is warmer here and thus the wine goes through malolactic fermentation naturally (which it often does not in those colder EU climates), giving the wine a creamy, round quality. But you still get refreshing acidity and subtle aromatics, along with sweet honeydew, peachy notes and a slightly saline finish. Perfect for oysters, Thai or Indian food - something briny or spicy is definitely in order.