One of my all-time favorite German wineries has got to be Müller-Catoir. It’s no secret that the Pfalz is Germany’s premier location for the production of dry riesling, but it’s a little known fact that it’s also the sanctuary of some of the best non-riesling whites in all of Europe. Yes, you heard me correctly, the Pfalz and producers like Müller-Catoir are making some of the finest white wine that exists on the planet, and it’s not just riesling.
Last Thanksgiving I brought home a bottle of the 2020 Burgergarten Trocken Muskateller to share with my family and the diverse foods we were going to have on the table. I was utterly blown away by how good this wine was. It wasn’t just the best dry muscat I’d ever had, it was one of the most compelling white wines I’d had all year. Complex floral aromas, jasmine, citrus & tropical fruits, and then a mineral laden finish that made me go back for more. Well, made me want to, but the bottle had been quaffed in minutes by similarly amazed guests.
The wine that opened my eyes:
Muller-Catoir Haardter Burgergarten Muskateller Trocken 2020 750ml $39 special, 16 bottles available
Stuart Pigott 99 points“Welcome to the most beautiful rose garden there ever was! But, wait a minute, there are also hibiscus, jasmine and all kind of other floral aromas hanging in the air. The concentration and complexity of this totally exceptional dry muscat is off the scale! Breathtaking freshness at the almost endless finish. A dry muscat miracle! Drink or hold.”
Shocked, and frankly dumbfounded, I decided to test this concept again by purchasing a different white grape from Catoir, and this time of a totally different style to see if my calibrations would reveal some weakness. I purchased a 2020 Herzog Weissburgunder, brought it back it to the same core family group, and popped the cork. Unbelievable. Yet again this was one of the best examples of a less common varietal (Pinot Blanc) that I’d ever had. Creamy white pear, lightly toasted nuts, a round and expansive texture that remained elegant with ample acidity. This was no coincidence.
The wine that validated my wonderings:
Muller-Catoir Herzog Weissburgunder 2020 750ml $36 special, 12 bottles available
Stuart Pigott 96 points “You could easily mistake this deep and complex dry pinot Blanc for a Grand Cru Burgundy, thanks to the creamy but deeply structured palate. Enveloping melted-butter and mirabelle aromas and startling minerality that are miraculously married on the richly textural palate. And then comes the warm and silky wave of the finish that leaves no doubt. Drink or hold.”
I think one of the best parts of this discovery was realizing I’d found unique white varietal treasures in the sub-$40 category. Germany and producers like Müller-Catoir are gold-mines of untapped value and delicious experiences that cannot be promoted through riesling alone. I’ve had Müller-Catoir’s rieslings and they’re phenomenal. We carry the best of them at Vinopolis with regularity. I implore you to try all the varietals and bottlings that Müller-Catoir has to offer and see your eyes open to the immense quality of this famous but underappreciated estate.
A little additional estate lore for your convincing:
The Müller-Catoir winery has a long and esteemed history dating back to 1774 when it was established by Johann Adam Müller, and is now run by Philipp David Catoir whom continues the legacy of his forebears with dedicated focus on quality. Over the years, with the direction of these talented individuals, Müller-Catoir has become one of the leading producers of high-quality wines in Germany.
The Müller-Catoir estate is situated in the village of Haardt, which lies at the foothills of the Haardt Mountains. The vineyards benefit from a unique microclimate characterized by warm days and cool nights, thanks to the nearby forest and the protective influence of the mountains. The region’s soil composition is diverse, with a mix of limestone, clay, and loess, which contributes to the complexity and character of the wines.