A Breadth of Flavors: Viniculture in the Moselle Valley

Traveling to the Moselle Valley on a Vantage river cruise, through one of the most beautiful stretches of Europe, you will immerse yourself in the viniculture and ambiance of historic towns in Germany, France, and Luxembourg. The region features various wine villages south of the ancient Roman city of Trier (an amphitheater still rests on the land) and north to Koblenz. A cruise through the valley follows steep slopes covered in spectacular vineyards where some of the world’s most coveted wines are produced. While the French vineyards in the Moselle region do produce rose and red wines (notably, Pinot Noirs), the Moselle is most famous for Riesling. This white wine is typically light and fragrant with a crisp acidity. But as you delve deeper into the subtleties of the Riesling wines, you will realize that they vary in sweetness and offer a mix of concentrated notes. It is a common misconception that the grapes grown along the Moselle Valley only produce sweet wines. This isn’t entirely true because roots run deep, up to 30 meters, making the white wines of Moselle extraordinary in their complexity and minerality. It’s all about the Moselle’s unique terroir — the growing conditions that include the abundant blue slate that you see poking through the ground, the cool continental climate, moderate sun, the steely angled slopes (some 45-60 degrees), and a condensed growing-season. The Mosel River itself is also plays a major role in the region’s terroir, as it both relfects and retains the sun’s heat, and also creates a nourishing fog. As you cruise along the river you might notice the fanciful heart-shaped vines. These have less to do with charm than with practicality, as the usual trellis formations would be near-impossible to harvest on these steep slopes. In fact, the gradient of the hillsides is so steep that all harvesting here must be done by hand, not machines. This region boasts the steepest vineyard in the world, Calmont, located near the village of Bremm. Charm, nonetheless, abounds here in the Moselle Valley, which looks as if it’s suspended in time. With half-timbered homes, beautiful fountains, rich landscapes, and castles worthy of a princess, the scenery is as dreamy as the wine. Take a stroll along lovely village streets, and then if you’re feeling adventurous, hop on a bicycle for an invigorating ride. The wine vintners take great pride in their grapes, and they are renowned for making a great tasting Riesling even from a harvest that is not ideal. So don’t fret too much about which bottles to bring home — they’ll all be delicious! And after your Switzerland & the Heart of the Rhine & Moselle river cruise, you’ll have plenty of great memories to celebrate and share over wine with friends and family.

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