The name is misleading because the Morio-Muskat grape contains no Muscat. Rather, it’s widely accepted to be a cross of Pinot Blanc and Silvaner reportedly developed by German viticulturalist Peter Morio in the early 1960s. However, some claim its parentage includes Muskateller, not Pinot Blanc. Regardless, famed British author Jancis Robinson notes in Vines, Grapes & Wines that it’s remarkable “such restrained parents would beget such an extravagantly exhibitionist offspring.” There’s no doubt Robert Smasne enjoys the exploration of wine, and the winemaker of Wine Press Northwest’s reigning Washington Winery of the Year works with small lots of unusual varieties. The Newhouse family planted these vines in 1979, and Smasne began working with Morio-Muskat in 1998 while at Covey Run. His version is finished dry and barrel fermented in neutral oak. And yet, it yields aromas of rosewater, orange, honeysuckle, lychee and lemon/lime, while the palate is loaded with a more tropical approach, finishing light and dry with lime and lychee flavors. It’s a wine to be appreciated and may require focus beyond the typical bustle of the tasting room.
Production: 75 cases