The Mosel is where the first seedlings of Analogue Wine Merchant were planted, with all the founders spending extensive time in the region. Our colleague Evelien visited the steep slopes around the town of Traben-Trarbach and met two of our wine producers and long-time friends Konstantin (Weingut Weiser-Künstler) and Daniel & Moritz (Weingut Daniel Vollenweider). This week Evelien shares her experiences with us:
The Art Nouveau city of Traben-Trarbach is a true landmark for the significance that wine trading once held for the Mosel region. Around 1900, this small city in the middle of the Mosel Valley was one of the most important wine trading cities in the world.
Accounting for more than 60% of the vineyard land, Riesling is the undisputed monarch of the Mosel Generally light in alcohol with refreshingly high acidity, it expresses terroir exceptionally clearly and is capable of ageing for decades in bottle. The best vineyards along the Mosel are on steep, south-facing slopes by the river, maximising the amount of sunlight (direct and reflected off the water) necessary to ripen the grapes in such a cool climate.
During my three-day visit to the Mosel, I first visited Konstantin (Weingut Weiser-Künstler). It was great to see how passionately Konstantin talked about their vineyards and the impact of different terroirs and climate. Konstantin explained that most soils of the Mosel region consist mainly of slate, which drains freely and retains heat well. Konstantin and his wife Alexandra literally do everything by hand, working both organically and biodynamically on their vineyards. Their cuvées are consistently among the top wines produced anywhere in the Mosel. After finishing the wine tasting with Konstantin, we drove towards the fascinating vineyards of Ellergrub and Gaispfad. Although the vineyards are only 200 meters apart, they both have different terroir characteristics and microclimates.
Trabener Gaispfad (pictured left) borders Ellergrub on the same, stony, slope known as the Starkenburger Hang. This 0.5-hectare plot consists of mostly old vines. The slate soil has more iron oxide than Ellergrub and has some redder slate, gray-blue slate, and quartz. Ellergrub (pictured right) is their top vineyard. This steep, terraced slope vineyard consists mainly of blue and gray slate, along with quartz. These ungrafted Riesling vines are up to 100 years old!
We currently carry 2 wines from the vineyards of Gaispfad and Ellergrub. Both wines have a great expression of their terroir:
- 2018 Weiser-Künstler Trarbacher Gaispfad Riesling
Aromas of ripe yellow fruit, while the pronounced wet slate note keeps it lean. The vibrant lemony acidity throws all elements into pure relief and the finish is juicy, stony, and long.
- 2018 Weiser-Künstler Enkircher Ellergrub Riesling «Grosse Eule»
Beautifully balanced, expressive, and long. A powerful backbone of salty wet slate, supported by lemony acidity, yellow fruit, and a very long smooth finish.
A Swiss in the Mosel
After seeing the vineyards and exploring Konstantin's amazing wine cellar, I continued my journey to Weingut Daniel Vollenweider, which is only a 5-minute drive across the historic bridge from Weiser-Künstler. Daniel’s personality and wines are direct, intense, and age incredibly well. There are only a few winemakers on the Mosel who define Riesling so clearly and bring out the characteristics of the Mosel soils so precisely.
Daniel (born in Switzerland) and YiXin (managing partner at Analogue Wine Merchant) met each other as cellar interns back in 1999. A year later, Daniel decided to start his own winery and in a short time he has built a great reputation as a producer of beautiful Rieslings. The vineyards are spread over six hectares on the steep slopes of the Moselle and all the work is done by hand with respect for nature. Daniel has been running the winery together with Moritz Hoffmann (picture right) since 2020.
Upon arrival at the beautiful estate, I was warmly welcomed by both. Daniel & Moritz own vineyards on Goldgrube (pictured left), as well as plots in Kröver Steffensberg and Trabener Würzgarten (Schimbock). The two are committed to the unique, labour-intensive lifestyle. They consciously choose to farm responsibly by hand without the use of pesticides and herbicides, knowing the hard work is beneficial to both the vines and ultimately the wine.
The estate is currently being renovated and the 2021 harvest was all bottled last month. Walking through the wine cellar we came across several special vintages and I caught a glimpse of Daniels & YiXin's personal wine collection. During the afternoon tasting I tried a total of nine wines, ranging from dry Rieslings to semi-sweet Spätlese. Daniel & Moritz didn't hold back and even let me try some of their exclusive 2004 Auslese. What an incredible wine, even after so many years!
My personal favourites from the tasting are:
2017 Daniel Vollenweider Wolfer Goldgrube Riesling Kabinett feinherb
Beautiful light-fruity sweetness, salty minerality with a great acidic balance. It's good to drink now, but this wine won't reach its optimum for another ten or twenty years.
- 2015 Daniel Vollenweider Kröver Steffensberg Riesling Spätlese
Daniel Vollenweider only makes two wines in the Spätlese style: one from the Wolfer Goldgrube and the other from the Kröver Steffensberg plot. This 2015 Spätlese has fascinating slate aromas! It’s a refined, crystalline, and persistently salty with a long, terroir-driven finish and plenty of mineral intensity.
It was great meeting with Konstantin and Daniel & Moritz, and I wish I had more time to spend with them. They are both visionaries and it is great to learn from them. I am really looking forward to our next meeting and what they will come up with next! Do not hesitate to contact me or my colleagues at Analogue Wine Merchant for more information about their wonderful wine range. Prost! Evelien