Nowhere does the argument in favour of cold-climate white wine make more sense than in the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer valleys. In both sweet wines and indeed dry ones, the mineral notes sucked out of the slate soils together with the delicate fruit on display can only occur in such a place.
The Mosel region has a wide mix of styles and characteristics. In the Saar Valley, modern wineries are making waves alongside traditionalist institutions. The old powerhouses of Bernkastel-Kues, Erden, Wehlen and Traben-Trabach carry on producing their world-famous wines next to exciting newly-revived prime vineyards operated by some of the world’s finest up-and-coming new winemakers.
The rise of Dr. Loosen internationally has also assisted the region in gaining importance. Frequently labelled as a dusty old part of the world that makes only sweet wine, Ernie Loosen and his team have catapulted both Mosel and Germany back into the limelight of wine drinkers the world over.
In Germany itself, one winemaker seems to be gaining more importance every day: Markus Molitor. His estate has grown and grown for the best part of a decade and some of his wines are even members of the elite 100-Parker-Point club.
The revived Van Volxem and Von Othegraven estates in Wiltingen and Kanzem on the banks of the Saar are also contributing to the success of the region, especially in the way of dry wine.
And yet, the reason most people know of the Mosel is thanks to producers like JJ Prüm, Egon Müller, Karthäuserhof, Maximin Grünhaus and the like. They still make those wines that made the region famous and the popularity of such products is still as relevant as it always was – recent auctions both nationally and international even suggest that the popularity for such products is growing.
Particularly interesting for the consumer however is the simple fact that tasting these world-class wines is completely affordable. The best Mosel wines seldom cost more than 30€ for a regular 750ml bottle. Perhaps the Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerauslese and Eiswein bottles might exceed this price but, in terms of dry wine and Spätlese, sometimes even Auslese – there is nothing that is not affordable from the Mosel region.
This is a shock really when you consider how difficult it is to produce Mosel wine. Excessive moisture, unreliable summers, unpredictable precipitation and very cold winters are just part of the problem. The steepness of some of the slopes makes harvesting incredibly difficult at times and mechanised help is pretty much impossible for most of the region.
However, measuring the quality of a wine on its price is usually a mistake and, in terms of discussing the quality of the wine as a product alone, irrelevant. The Mosel production region is unique and, despite reliance on one varietal, unbelievably diverse - that is what makes it so special!
I have compiled a list of 26 wines than I think define the region. All of them offer astonishing money for value, are widely available and offer a great deal of diversification. I will add to this list over time and am more than happy to hear your suggestions (just comment at the bottom of the blog entry).