Luxembourg and its wines – “wine study path” in Wasserbillig

September 4, 2012

The Mosel view towards Trier which is further donwstream

I have written about Luxembourg and its wines before. When I visit my home town Trier I almost always include also an excursion to the Gand Duchy. I love the place, its people and its wines

The vineyards of Wasserbillig in Luxembourg

When I visited in July, I discovered a so called “wine-study path” (Weinlehrpfad in German) right on top of the hills above Wasserbillig, a small town right across the border from Germany and very popular for its cheap petrol and the petrol stations selling coffee and also wines.

The ‘wine-study path’ from Wasserbillig to Mertert

The path leads from Wasserbillig to the neighbouring hamlet of Mertert. The walk through the vineyards is just magnificient. A multi-faced billboard at the start of the walk informs the casual visitor about the vineyards and the wine industry of this part of Luxembourg.

Map of the Mosel river and the mouth of the Sauer, a tributary

Billboard about the wines of Luxembourg

Luxembourg mainly produces dry white wines and sparkling wines called Crémant de Luxembourg. Since the soils are so different here from the soils further donwstream (where we find mostly Devon slate), also the wines are different. The keuper marl soils of Remich and the calcareous soils of Grevenmacher produce distinct whites reflecting the “taste” of these soils.

Wines and gastronomy in Luxembourg

The main grape varieties are Mueller-Thurgau (Rivaner), Auxerrois Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Elbling, Gewuerztraminer and Chardonnay. Some Pinot Noir is grown as well. All the wines are cold climate and usually dry. Very little semi-dry and sweet wines are produced.

Vines in “full swing”

I highly recommend this walk, and , of course, a tasting of wines made in Luxembourg.


Elbling wine in Echternach, Luxembourg

July 8, 2010

We went on a drive along the Mosel river to make good use of our limited time in Germany. It was a beautiful summers day with blue sky and temperatures in the low 30ies. We drove upriver to Wasserbilligerbrueck and north along the Sauer, a tributary of the Mosel.

The two towers of the main church of the abbey

Echternach on the Luxembourg side was our aim, a beautiful medieval town in eastern part of the Grand Duchess at the border to Germany. Echternach is famous for the rhythm of its annual procession, the “Echternacher Springprozession”: two steps forward, one step backward, the rhythm of many political reforms.

The orangery

Elbling is an old grape variety with an obscure origin but it has been widely planted in the Mosel wine region for many centuries. From medieval times until the 20th century Elbling was the most planted variety in this part of Germany. Nowadays it is a variety in decline. Not much is left of it, though, maybe only about 600 ha in Germany and about 150 ha in Luxembourg.

Elbling grapes make a rather neutral white wine with high acidity. It is the wine for every day in the southern part of the Mosel wine region. More often than not it is used for sparkling. In wine tastings Elbing does usually not feature at all.

There is even a revitalized Elbling wine route along the Upper Mosel at the right side of the river from Thorn, Palzem, Wincheringen, Nittel, Wellen, Temmels, Oberbillig until Wasserliesch and at the left side of the river from Igel to Langsur and along the Sauer river, a tributary of the Mosel from Mesenich to Metzdorf.

Local Elbling

We explored the town, the cathedral, the abbey and many of its public places which were filled with locals and some foreign tourists. When we finally settled in a small cafe, it was clear what we were going to order, the house-wine of the place. While the children enjoyed an ice cream, we indulged in a local Elbling. It was dry, clean and crisp with fine acidity; a great drop for a hot summers day. Come and visit this part at the heart of Europe. It’s worth it.