Mosel

The Mosel river winds through Germany’s top wine growing regions, and lends its name to perhaps the most famous. It is the third largest wine growing area in the country and has a reputation that hinges on centuries of producing exceptional quality wines.   The conglomeration of extraordinary vineyard sites coupled with star winemakers is perhaps more concentrated here than anywhere else in the world. With a cool continental climate, the aim of every winemaker is to maximize the amount of sunshine hours on their vines.  Because of this, most vineyards are grown south and southeast facing the Mosel River, which provides a warming effect.  The best sites are on the steepest slopes to capture the sunlight and the steepest vineyard (Calmont) in the Mosel reaches a gradient of 60 degrees! Because of this, mechanical harvesting is nearly impossible and hand harvesting here can be back breaking work.  Soils in the Mosel are also extremely unique to the region, Devonian gray slate is found throughout most of the vineyards in addition to schist and shale, all three are referred to locally as "schiefer".

In terms of grape varieties, in the Mosel Riesling is king. A hearty grape that withstands colder climates, it can be made in a number of styles from bracingly dry (trocken) to syrupy sweet (trockenbeerenauslese).  Due to its naturally high acid, many producers need to balance this with some amount of residual sugar, which leads to the popular Kabinett or Feinherb style, but recently with climate change, producers have found that it is easier to obtain riper grapes that still retain their signature acid and minerality. Riesling may have experienced some negative press in the past (thanks Blue Nun), but thanks to Germany’s dedicated winemakers (many from the Mosel) it has regained much deserved popularity. The Mosel is also a popular wine tourism destination thanks to picturesque, hill side vineyards that centre in on its famous river.  

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