A Riesling Region Like no Other
The Mosel is Germany’s oldest wine region. A spectacular, beautiful area dominated by this meandering tributary river of the Rhine. Steep slopes, green luscious views and small boutique wineries make the Mosel a true wine lovers paradise.
Riesling is the dominating grape. It covers about 60% of the Mosel vineyards. Due to past malpractices of some commercial wineries, Mosel suffered from unfortunate reputation damage, but the region is restoring its position as the number one Riesling region of the world. Riesling is a grape sometimes a bit misunderstood, but for true wine lovers it underlines perfection and true hedonism and for some people, it’s even the best a white wine can offer. Chardonnay might be more famous, Chenin maybe a bit edgier, but a well-made Riesling is like perfection in a glass.
Steep Slopes, Slate Soils
Thanks to Mosel’s unique surroundings the expression of Riesling is a class by itself in this area. Positioned on an average of 50 degrees latitude, the Mosel is the distinct definition of cool climate. The long stretch of the river goes from Northeast to Southwest and counts 240 kilometres. The famous cities are Koblenz in the North and Saarburg in the South. In the middle, you will find the famous Bernkastel-Kues and the alluring Romain settlement Trier. The cool climate surroundings provide a long growing season. A perfect condition for the late-ripening – late budding Riesling. The grape maintains its freshness and lengthy acidity while reaching perfect phenolic ripeness.
Additionally, the diversity of complex, millions of years old, slate soil composition is providing minerality and low ph. The combination of slate and the inclination of the slopes are elements that contribute to optimal water management. When the weather is wet there is sufficient drainage and during the hot and dry season, the slate retains the rainwater. This reduces water stress and keeps the flavour of the grapes fresh and clean.
Much Ado About Something
But vineyard work in the Mosel is tough though, tougher than any other wine region you can state. Due to the steep slopes and even dangerous working conditions, the work must be done manual most of the time. Slope inclinations can reach 70° on the steepest hillsides. Most Mosel producers work an average of 1500 hours annually on the fields. Three times more than the average growers from other regions where vineyards are more levelled. It maintains a mystery how the Mosel vintner is producing wine at such a good price and keeping the quality high. A well-made humble but not even to fancy Riesling can already age for years, we’re talking Ortswein or Kabinett here, not even the highly appreciated Grosses Gewachs or Prädikatswein from concentrated levels.
Another reason to appreciate the Riesling from Mosel is for the large share of old vines. Vineyards in the area are often well maintained and have reached long lifespans. For example, the roots of a 60-year-old plant can reach up to nine meters in the ground. It helps the crops producing healthy fruit in the most difficult conditions. And old vines produce low yields, but better quality and concentration.
There is also a steady group of winemakers in Mosel who fervently advocate the use of original rootstocks. The research and precision with which these producers are caring for their plants are admirable. It’s something you can taste in the clarity and finesse of a good Mosel wine. We are talking about the top wine producers of the world like Weingut Egon Müller and JJ Prüm. They are the model for many winemakers around the globe, producing quality wine.
Sweets for my Sweets
Well after all this, I think we have explained thoroughly where our love for Riesling comes from. And Mosel-Riesling within this category is superlative. Being the oldest region of Germany and providing that perfect cool climate elegance. The style of Riesling is nowhere as refined and pure as in the Mosel. Exceptional for Mosel wine types is also the production of off-dry or semi-sweet wines. Semi-dry, halbtrocken, lieblich are all definitions that we recently prefer to name Feinherb. Reichsrath von Kesselstat was the first Mosel domain using this definition. The words lieblich and halbtrocken were associations with inferior wines that were produced for commercial reasons, leaving semi-sweet Mosel Riesling with a bad reputation. The recent decades, some of the best producers like Reichrath von Kesselstat spared no efforts to improve the reputation of Mosel wines for their dry wines, but surely also for their Feinherb versions.
It’s nice to notice that more and more wine lovers are appreciating the classic Riesling with residual sugars. One of the most expensive wines in the world is made by Egon Müller. It’s a sweet Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese from his world-famous Scharzhofberg. Such an expensive and exclusive bottle will not be within reach of many of us. And a TBA is not the kind of wine you want to drink all the time. We believe that Feinherb and Kabinett Riesling fills that gap of semi-dry wine that can be taken seriously and also show that typical Mosel character. In Germany, it’s common to drink razor-edgy Rieslings that are silver lined with a few residual sugars and blessed with low alcohol percentages.
Locals know better, right? So that’s why we decided to elaborate our Mosel range with a very swell lineup of Feinherb and Kabinett by Martin Conrad. These wines will do perfectly for the summer or on a warm autumn day. It’s refreshing, elegant, low in alcohol and uttermost pleasant. Martin Conrad’s winery is in the famous Bernkastel area in the Mittelmosel. He produces his best wines from the world-famous Brauneberg Juffer areal. In total, he owns a small 6 hectares. This Weingut is in operation since 1558 and counts already 14 generations of winemakers. Although they make some mean dry Riesling, we found that lovely classic Mosel balance exactly in his Feinherb and Kabinett wines. Delicate, elegant off-dry whites and for such good prices.
Ansgar Clüsserath and Martin Conrad, maybe not be well-known as the renowned JJ. Prüm, Egon Müller, Fritz Haag, Julian Haard, Reichsrath von Kesselstat or Clemens Busch. But that exactly serves our purpose. We find wines that have not hit the charts yet but are for certain worth the buy. And they are great examples of what the Mosel is capable of.
One addition peculiar addition to our list worth mentioning is a special of the Graacher Himmelreich 2015 from Dr Loosen. We only have few bottles, and we keep them for the curious fanatics. A limited-edition wine made in co-operation with Telmo Rodriguez. Telmo is one of the most influential oenologists from Spain and Ernst Loosen is a benchmark producer in Mosel. They have been friends for ages. This G.H. is a
celebration of this friendship and their mutual passion for making wine on a top-level.
A Riesling fermented and aged in old white Rioja barrels of Telmo. The Riesling displays ripeness and matureness. Very developed and intense, but still with a backbone of citrus peel acidity.