History of the Mosel River

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The Mosel (Moz'l), German for Moselle, is an important European river some 320 miles long. It draws from its source in France's Vosges Mountains, continues through Luxembourg, and snakes it way past dramatically steep, slate slopes until it empties into the Rhine River at Koblenz.

Some of Germany’s most famous vineyards abound on its banks, some of which are known for the highest quality Riesling wines in the world. But the most famous and important lie in the Mittel-Mosel, located between the villages of Wehlen and Piesport.

All of the fine wines of the Mosel are white, and almost all are produced from the noble Riesling grape. The soil of the Mosel is predominantly slate. Slate and the Riesling grape partly account for the excellence of wines. But equally significant is the Mosel's cool climate, which allows the grapes to have optimum sugar-acid balance. The vines cling tenaciously to incredibly steep hillsides, which provide optimum drainage and exposure but necessitate Herculean labor to manage the vineyards.

The Mosel has two tributaries, the Saar and Ruwer Rivers, which flow into the Mosel near the ancient Roman city of Trier. Both rivers also have important vineyard areas. Under the 1971 German Wine Law, the three regions were combined into one region or Anbaugebiet: Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. The wines of each region have their own distinct properties, but the best all share a resemblance: an unsurpassed floral bouquet, pale to golden in color, and light bodied with a lively, fruity, acidity. The slate soil imparts a distinctive taste to these remarkable wines ranging from fine, fruity to earthy or "flinty." often with a hint of effervescence.