Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Wines

Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Wines

From the 2007 vintage, the region formerly known as 'M-S-R' was shortened to 'Mosel' in a bid to become less confusing to consumers. Regardless of nomenclature, we're increasingly impressed by the quality and variety of wines from the area.

South of Trier, Carolin Willems-Willems' family vineyards in the Saar's Konzer Tälchen (Little Konz valley), are some 100 miles to the west of the Hofmann family's base in the Rheinhessen. Focusing on dry and off-dry wines, her 'Schiefer' ('slate') Riesling is grown on the vertiginous south-facing slopes of the Rosenberg (opposite the renowned north-facing Scharzhofberg vineyard), near the village of Konz-Oberemmel. There, the blue Devonian slate soils retain heat, helping to ripen fruit and lend fabulous minerality to the wines. Carolin is expert at taming the wild acidity of Saar Riesling, making this wine crisp, yet rounded and with sufficient alcohol to balance the zingy citrus acidity and flinty mineral notes.

A few kilometres to the south, the similarly-steep south-west-facing Bockstein vineyard near the village of Ockfen is the source for an exquisite Kabinett (lightly off-dry) Riesling. Grown on slate and sandstone soils, its fresh acidity sets off its stone-fruit and lemon zest character underlined by stony minerality. Brilliant with sweet and sour-styled dishes, the light residual sugar in the wine balances and refreshes the palate alongside a touch of salinity.

Headquartered in the iconic Schloss Marienlay in the heart of the Mosel, Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt's 'Alte Reben' (old vine) dry Riesling is sourced from a number of older vine plots across the Saar, Ruwer and Mosel valleys and expertly blended into this intensely-aromatic and accessibly-priced Riesling. Lime flower and white peach aromas predominate followed by a palate of crisp apple and pear fruit, flinty minerality and mouth-watering texture. Brilliant with pork or buttery chicken dishes, this will continue to improve with the years.

As a member of the 'Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter' (VDP for short), Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt is part of an exclusive association of 200 top German wine producers. Growers have to abide by strict yields, sustainability and environmental standards to ensure quality and consistency. Their VDP Adler (eagle) is a kitemark of quality and adorns the capsule of all bottles. One of R.v.K.'s most-prized vineyards is the south-facing monopole of 'Josephshöfer' in the Mosel - one of the steepest-gradient vineyards in Germany.

Its mature vines are extremely low-yielding and the slope means hand-harvesting using systems of pulley and winches to move people and baskets of fruit. It remains pretty much the epitome of 'Grosses Gewächs' (GG, equivalent to Grand Cru) of Mosel Riesling. Incredible value for a wine of this quality, this dry (trocken) Riesling has concentration, verve, power and supreme elegance. Bright yet lean orchard fruit spill over on the nose with almost overwhelming citrus, tangerine and a touch of mango. The taut texture is smooth and hints of sherbet, marmalade and crisp acidity mean it remains a real treat in its youth yet has the depth to develop wonderfully over 10-15+ years.

A chance conversation with R.v.K. last summer led to us acquiring a parcel of wonderfully-mature Riesling in an almost 'Zeppelin'-shaped magnum bottle. The dry 'RK' Riesling comes from the refreshing 2008 vintage which was picked into late October (and after). Yet this acidity is precisely why this Riesling has such longevity in bottle and has now mellowed giving an intensely mineral and green apple nose and flinty-slate edge plus mature hay and kerosene notes. Amazing with butter-roasted meaty white fish – brill or bream would be apposite.

Our German selection would not be complete without a lightly-sweet late harvest (Spätlese) from the renowned vertiginous hillside of the Sonnenuhr (sundial) vineyard near Wehlen in the Mosel. From the bumper 2018 vintage which broke records for quantity as well as quality, this mildly-sweet half-bottle is chock-full of unctuous ripe fruit with a Granny Smith acidity, bags of orchard fruit and lengthy honeyed, spicy finish. Being lighter in alcohol, it's the perfect end to a meal so pairs well with orchard-fruit desserts, especially a tarte tatin or Alsatian Kugelhopf cake.

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  1. Mosel: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese 2018
    Half Bottle
    Half Bottle (Case)
  2. Saar: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Bockstein Riesling Kabinett 2020
    Bottle (Case)
  3. Mosel: Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt Riesling Trocken 2008
    Magnum (Case)
  4. Saar: Willems-Willems 'Schiefer' Oberemmel Riesling 2020
    Bottle (Case)
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