The Mosel valley with the hamlets Riol and Longuich
Maybe because it is Sunday, maybe because that lends itself to some introspection, maybe because I am abstaining from consuming wine for a couple of days, maybe because I have not been to my beloved Mosel for such a long time, maybe…who knows.
Anyway, on this beautiful tropical Sunday in Bangkok and while my Thai vintner friends in Khao Yai, about two-three hours north-east of Bangkok, are busy harvesting their grapes, I am exploring the writings of Decimus Magnus Ausonius (310-393 AD), a Gallic-Roman government official, educator of princes and poet who lived for some years in my home-town Trier.
The Mosel, photo taken from Nittel, the Luxembourg side to the left
Have you heard about Ausonius? No? Well, let me tell you that he was born in Buldigana, which it called Bordeaux today, and where he also died. He had studied rhetoric in Toulouse.
In 365 Valentinian I, emperor of the West-Roman empire, called Ausonius to Trier (yes, my home-town which was the capital of the West-Roman empire for a while) or Augusta Treverorum, as it was called in those days, to educate his eldest son, Gratian, the heir-apparent.
The wine village of Alken, Mosel river and castle
In 371 Ausonius published his impressions (early travel writing) from a trip in 368 which brought him from Mogontiacum (Mainz) through Bingium (Bingen) and Noviomagnus (Neumagen) to Augusta Treverorum (Trier). This work is know as “Mosella” and consists of 483 hexameters describing the land and its people along the road which now carries the name of the poet: Via Ausonius.
The “Mosella” is the only known poem from antiquity describing a single German river: the Mosel. In his poem Ausonius praised the beauty of the river, the lands surrounding it, the fertility of its soils and the industriousness of its people.
The poem has inspired endless other poets, writers and bards until the present times. I like for instance the CD “Mosella” with songs praising the Mosel region by the folk music group “Woltaehr”.
The Mosel river, photo taken from the train near Puenderich
So far so good, you might say, but what about the wine, the famous Riesling you adore so much?
Unfortunately, I did not drink that many Riesling wines from my native Mosel in 2011. I do not know how it happened. I must have explored other wines more often than usual.
However, the ones I tasted where really special and of the highest quality. I fondly remember my visits to Leiwen where I visited Grans-Fassian and St. Urbans Hof in November 2010.
Both wineries produce beautiful Riesling and other wines of the finest quality. Both belong to the association of the top German wine producers (Called VDP). Both win regularly awards. Usually the top wines are in the range of 88 to 96 Parker points, just so that you have a general idea.
Most of the wines I brought with me then, were consumed in 2011, either here in Bangkok or at my mum’s home in Trier. I admit they were the 2009 and 2010 vintages only.
I have written about the two wineries which you can find in earlier blog entries (Grans-Fassian, St. Urbans Hof).
Feel free to explore Riesling wines from the Mosel. It’s worth it.