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In the “West” you will find the vineyards of Ahr, Mosel and Middle Rhine (which are river names). The wine grows on extremely steep slopes on the river valleys and winegrowers are often real climbing artists. You shouldn’t miss the dreamy narrow arches of the red wine paradise Ahr — pure romance! — along with the UNESCO World Heritage Site Rhine Valley and the countless loops of the Mosel with Rieslings of world fame. The nearby cities of Cologne, Trier and Koblenz provide many cultural highlights to compliment your wine tour.
By the way, the New York Times has ranked “Mosel wine country” as #34 in its “Places to Go in 2016” list: “The Mosel is shedding its uptight oenophile image and embracing its wild side, which is attracting wine-minded outdoor types to its steep, riesling-lined riverbanks.” You can read the full article here (as mentioned, Mosel is #34).
Much has already been written and told about German Riesling. That’s no surprise, of course, given its long history – Riesling has already been mentioned in the 15th century, i.e. around the time when a guy named Christopher Columbus was about to cross the Atlantic ocean. In order to understand what makes this grape variety so unique, you just need to focus on two terms: ‘acidity’ and ‘terroir’.
Riesling is one of the few grapes with a really concise acidity. While ‘acidity’ may sound a bit ‘technical’ it simply means that these grapes have an enormous potential. Good Rieslings leverage this potential (and by the way, nobody wants to try bad Rieslings anyway). Acidity gives the wine elegance and liveliness – if the winegrower skillfully balances and integrates this acidity into the wine’s overall flavour. Otherwise the wine will just taste sour.
As if acidity was not enough, Riesling is also a pronounced ‘terroir wine’. Great buzzword but what does that actually mean? Well, Riesling in general has a characteristic smell and taste of peach, apple and citrus which is already awesome. However, on top of that the Riesling grape adds other components and aromas to its taste and bouquet reflecting the soil and climate in which it grows. Simply ingenious, isn’t it?
Home of the Riesling
Obviously, there are many great and interesting wines and one should always be careful with superlatives. However, we think that no other white wine grape can challenge the variety of styles that the noble Riesling brings with it.
If this little, modest ‘pep talk’ has made you itchy to try this superstar wine yourself, the home of the Riesling – Germany – is exactly right spot. 37% of the global Riesling volume is grown by German vineyards! This means you will find a magnificent range of Rieslings between Trier, Koblenz, Frankfurt and Heidelberg.
Delight for Decades
You will start your tastings with dry, tender and noble wines, enjoy fruity ones with lots of volume and will sometimes conclude with exquisite sweet wines the so called “Auslesen”. It is also possible to sample very old Rieslings (sometimes 40 years or even more, like the ones from 1921 from the famous vinery of Robert Weil)
These are still very nicely enjoyable because the aging capacity of Riesling is almost unlimited – as long as you appreciate the interesting and polarizing petroleum tones of old Rieslings.
In any case, if your wine tasting day comes to an end – perhaps with a rarity like a “Trockenbeerenauslese” – and the sun sets over the steep slopes of Rhine, Mosel & Co., you will fall in love with the Riesling forever.
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