Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mosel vineyard photos and wine region facts

During my time in the Mosel I will be visiting the following wineries:
Joh. Jos. Prum
Dr. Pauly Bergweiler
Markus Molitor
Dr. Loosen
Thomas Haag, Schloss Leiser 
But first I must tackle the steep slopes of the famous Doctor Vineyard and hike to the very top! 
Measured at 3.26ha and at a slope of 60-70 degrees with a ground of loose slate. I was able to pull myself up the slope now and again by grabbing onto the individual vine stakes. The vines are taller than me. You can't see anything but I did come across some vineyard workers that didn't cause me any trouble, and nor did I. I figure it was about 400m above sea level at the top. After climbing such a steep slope with loose soils how do you get down????? I'll figure that out later:)
I thought it might be easiest to make this an entry for those who are interested, especially wine students, about the viticulture and the Mosel in general with some point form facts....then follow it up with some pretty pictures:)
German wines can be difficult to understand. They are not the sweet wines that have gained a negative reputation in decades past. Focus has gone to turning back the clock to the former glory of dry wines from this region. The wine labels are complicated and to understand the various wine laws you almost need a doctorate! 
Let's start with the 'crus' of the Mosel: Bernkastel, Erden, Piesport, Graach, Zeltingen, Brauneberg. These crus are villages located in the middle of the Mosel and have the best reputation for their vineyards
Let's start with the 'crus' of the Mosel: Bernkastel, Erden, Piesport, Graach, Zeltingen, Brauneberg. These crus are villages located in the middle of the Mosel and have the best reputation for their vineyards.

Qualitatswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete (QbA),Qualitatswein mit Pradikat (QmP),Verbrand Deutscher Pradikatsweinguter (VDP) and the latest I learned about is the Bernkastler Ring. (internal swearing right now). Then you can add on all the different dryness and sweetness levels: trocken, halbtrocken/feinherb, hochgewachs, kabinett, spatlese, auslese, beerenauslese, eiswein, trockenbeerenauslese. After you get use to it, it's kinda fun to say these names:) oh, and their is Sekt, which is sparkling wine. 

Mosel region: near 9,000ha (under cultivation or total?)
Location: 50* N latitude. It's very difficult to grow grapes to ripeness this far north. What helps, is a long ripening season which is made possible by proper sun exposure, heat retention and reflection from the Mosel river and the schist soils, proper training systems and vine management by hand
Harvest: by hand and starting late October. Staggered harvest times depending on the sweetness levels and botrytis rot ripening. 
Vineyard threats: the wild boar! They love the sweetness of the grapes. Also, cool wet weather in this northern latitude. 
History of the Doktor vineyard: in the 18th century the Archbishop of Trier became deathly ill and was cured by a humle flask of Riesling from the Doktor vineyard and was therefore named after its remedial powers 
Grape varieties: Riesling (60%), Muller-Thurgau (15%), Pinot Noir (4%), Dornfelder (4%). The others are Elbling and Pinot Blanc
Alcohol range: 7%-12% for table Rieslings, excluding the sweet wines which can be even lower
Aging capability: can be 20, 30 years or longer. The wines have unbelievable structure, a backbone of minerality and superior acidity that give it's longevity.This is something that you will hear over and over again about Riesling from the Mosel.
Vineyard training: doppelbogen 'heart' shape style. Took me a long time to figure it out. Looking at it didn't help so I had to touch and feel the vine canes and follow their heart shape. I have some photos here but the ones with greenery on them are hard to make out the canes. 
Food pairings: fish, Asian dishes, poultry, salad, spicy dishes and the sweeter wines with mature cheeses, game or foie gras.

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