The Mosel river

October 10, 2012

The Mosel river near Schweich

I am rapping things up here in Bangkok. Only two more days to go. Friday night I will be on the midnight flight to Germany. After about 11 hours on the plane, I will land in Frankfurt early in the morning. I might have a coffee and breakfast at the train station.

Then I will catch a train to Tier, my home town to see my parents. The train ride will be wonderful regardless of the weather. Autumn might extend its magic with colourful leaves in red, brown and yellow.

First, my trip will lead me along the Rhine river, then I’ll change trains in Koblenz. The next leg of the journey will be along the Mosel river. Some of the views will be spectacular.

I will admire the vineyards of both valleys, the Rhine and the Mosel. On the hilltops will be castles here and there. The slopes are steep, and I will think of all the hard work the vintners put into their vineyards. How can one work these terrible steep slopes? Backbreaking work, done for generations.

Vineyards and wine production have been a feature of the place for more than 2.000 years, incredible. I will have only about 24 hours there before I will move on for a business trip to Berlin.

Saturday night I will patronize my favourite wine bar, Weinsinnig. It will be my cellar door so to speak since I plan to pick up a few bottles of my favourite Mosel wines. There will be certainly a crisp Riesling among them.

I very much look forward to going home.

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Dr. Loosen, I presume

May 11, 2008

Last night we went to dinner with our dear old friends Liz and Walter. After nibblies (as we say in Australia) at their home we proceeded to Cork and Screw, the very hip and extremely trendy restaurant in Jakarta.

The food was excellent as always. We had an Australian Shiraz with the meals and moved on to dessert. Three of us had crème brûlé; Liz had some kind of chocolate dessert. There were only three wines to choose from, two “half bottles” and a Riesling Spätlese and can you imagine from where? The Mosel!.

And what was it? I could not believe my eyes, a ‘2006 Dr. Loosen Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese’ for only about 33 €. We needed to have this wine. What a bargain. Usually one cannot get any Mosel wine here in Jakarta. I could have kissed the people from Cork and Screw and Vin +, the wine shop associated to the restaurant.

The empty bottle ‘2006 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese’, Dr. Loosen, Bernkastel, Mosel

I must admit that though I come from the Mosel, I have never had a bottle of Dr. Loosen’s wine (www.drloosen.com). He is such a famous vintner, sitting on all kinds of wine juries, all over the world. It had to come to that. I tasted his wine in Jakarta, a couple of thousand miles from home. The major German Riesling portal (www.riesling.de) lists him as the top vintner of their top 10 wineries.

“Wehlener Sonnenuhr” is one of the prime terroirs (about 65 ha) on the Mosel, all on steep slopes. A sundial is to be found right among the vines and that gave the location its name.

Wehlener Sonnenuhr (source: www.drloosen.com)

The wine has only 8% alcohol and was the perfect match with our dessert. Of course we drank it too young, but we had no choice, waiting was just not feasible. The wine displays and expressive nose, shows apple, lemon, almonds and nuts. The acids were well balanced and the full sweetness gives it a round and lingering finish. We all loved the wine.

When the waiter wanted to clear the table I told him my story: that I was from Trier, Mosel , not far away from where this wine came from and that I wanted to take the empty bottle home. “Tidak apa apa”, the kind man said, meaning “no worries” in Australian, and he gave me a Cork and Screw bag to carry the bottle.

How wonderful. If you happen to be in Jakarta one of these days, have a meal there; it’s certainly worth it: great place, great service, great food, great wines.


Row spacing and trellis systems in Germany

May 10, 2008

While traveling in Germany last year, I took quite a few photos of vineyards and the way vines were grown there. While visiting the Ahr, Rhine, Mosel and Saar I notices that row spacing and trellising could showed a wide variety of different spaces and systems.

This slope on the Ahr shows “planting with the slope” and planting “parallel to the slope”, and also the width between rows shows variations.

Here (photo above from the Ahr) sticks have been put between the individual vines in order to make it easier to move in the vineyards and to prevent stones and earth to be washed down the rows. Every vine has its own individual post and no wires are required. One finds this system also along the Mosel and the Saar.

Individual vines and the post after pruning (Saar)

After pruning, two canes are bound to the post on the individual post system. I wonder if spur pruning can be applied to it too?

Usually movable fruit wires, as we have them in Australia (VSP = vertical shoot positioning), are not a feature of these trellis systems. This is not surprising. On the steep slopes of the Mosel, Ahr and Rhine rivers moving fruit wires would be suicidal.

In my own vineyard in Glenburn, we use a simple VSP-trellis system. The move of the fruit wires is usually not a difficult job, especially along the gentle slopes as we have them. However, when the rows are long, the wire gets heavier and heavier the longer the day lasts.

Three fixed wires on vines in Olewig, Trier/Mosel

One finds also more and more metal posts, here also with three wires (Olewig)

In some of the locations, even if they are steep, caterpillar tractors are used to work the land. These tractors are small but still need narrow rows between the vines in order to operate.

Below, two rows have been planted close to each other (and no vehicle can work between them), but the next rows a planted at a wider distance so that the caterpillar tractor can be used.

Even cabbage is grown between the rows (Olewig/Trier, Mosel)

In my blog entry titled “Along the Mosel River”, of September 12th, 2007 I showed some of the elevators used on steep slopes to carry material up and down the vineyard. Have a look and check it out; it’s an interesting system, one can observe on many steep vineyard slopes on the Mosel.