Riesling wine and the Moselle Valley
by Lewis Quigley
The best Riesling producing region in the world? We think so.
Traversing three countries—France, Luxembourg, and Germany—and dramatically weaving its way through the Moselle Valley, the Moselle River, and the sloping banks which border this enchanting waterway, provide the perfect setting for growing many grape varieties, from a crisp white Chardonnay to a bold rich Pinot Noir. However, it is the world-famous Riesling grape which dominates this landscape.
The Moselle Valley is one of the oldest wine-growing regions in Europe, with vineyard roots dating back to Roman times. Starting life in the Vosges Mountains which border France and Luxembourg, the valley and river flow through Germany before meeting the Rhine in Koblenz.
The vast majority of the vineyards are planted along the gorge cut by the river and in the valleys crafted by its tributaries, with the best land for winemaking sitting on the steep, southward-facing slopes that gain the advantage of the heat and light reflection from the Moselle River.
The valleys and offshoots of the Moselle provide such a prime location for grape growing due to the blend of the cool, northern continental climate and a wealth of sunshine during the summer months (without becoming overwhelmingly hot).
During the evening, temperatures can drop considerably, but the dark slate which lines the valley soaks up the heat of the day to help warm the vines overnight. It is this moderate temperature and long summer season which instils rich flavours within the grapes.
Wine produced in the Rhine Valley
Moselle Valley, Germany
The Moselle’s Riesling tasting notes
The Moselle Valley’s unique tasting Riesling accounts for over 60% of the vineyard land. The flavour ranges from bone-dry to sweet, but the key scents and pallet are diverse and therefore easy to identify.
Colour: The younger wines begin with a pale, light colour and become a deeper yellow as they grow older.
Aroma: The grapes start off with a medium intensity with zesty lime and lemon aromas. As the wines age, the smell turns more intense with scents of honey, apricot, and peach.
Taste: This is what makes the Riesling grape so distinct. The flavour has high acidity but is beautifully balanced with a level of sweetness, making the tastebuds tingle. All Moselle wines have a low to medium range of alcohol content—from 7.5–11.5% ABV—which is just as well, as one glass (or bottle) is never enough!
Popular Riesling producers
Ideal food pairings
Seafood - prawns, salmon, cod, and tuna, to name a few
Thai green curry (better with a dry Riesling)
Key lime pie (better with a sweeter Riesling)