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The Mosel River - A Gem for Wine in Germany

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Snaking its way for 339 miles from its border with Luxembourg to its union with Rhine river at Koblenz, Germany’s Mosel river is the birthplace of some of the greatest white wines in the world. The extent of its meanderings is dramatized by the fact that the distance the river travels is just 90 miles as the crow flies. It is precisely this twisting and turning that creates the ideal conditions for the Riesling grape: south-facing vineyards, steeply sloping down to the reflecting river, hot days and cool nights.

In good and great years, these gifts of nature, together with the predominantly slate and limestone soils and the winemaker's art, create wines of unsurpassed elegance and finesse. They can range from dry (trocken) to obscenely rich nectars (trockenbeerenauslese), with a perfect harmony of sugar and acidity. Mosel Rieslings cannot be duplicated anywhere else in the world. At their best, these wines are incomparable expressions of the grape and the terroir - delicate, subtle, profound, yet not at all weak, like a fist in a velvet glove.

The Mosel is divided into the sub-regions Ober (upper) Mosel, Mittel (middle) Mosel, Terrassen (referring to the terraced vineyards along this part of the river) Mosel and its tributaries, the Saar and the little trickle that is the Ruwer. It is generally acknowledged that the greatest wines come from the Mittel Mosel, which stretches from Piesport to Bernkastel, with notable exceptions from the Saar and Ruwer. Legendary wine-making families (who count their ancestry in centuries, not years) such as Egon Müller, J. J. Prüm, Max Ferd. Richter, Dr. Thanisch, Ernst Loosen, and others call the Mosel "home." These families and historically superlative vineyards like Scharzhofberger, Maximin Grünhäuser, and others are more than ample testimony that this river tucked in the southwest corner of Germany, as far north as grapes can ripen, is one of the wine world’s brightest gems.

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