The world’s most ethereal wines are produced in a small region in northwestern Germany, where the Mosel River flows northward in tight hairpin curves beneath steep fractured-slate hillsides dotted with century-old Riesling vines. Too few people know these wines.
The Mosel region is arguably the most storied, least-understood wine region in the world. Romans first cultivated vines there in the 2nd century B.C., and viticulture flourished. By the late 19th century, wines from the Mosel had become widely sought-after, commanding international acclaim and some of the highest prices in the world, matching and eclipsing wines from Champagne and Bordeaux.
But that all changed in the 20th century when the Mosel faced a number of challenges. It endured vineyard devastation from the root louse, phylloxera, along with both World Wars and misguided laws that impeded quality in favor of quick revenue. But now, a handful of under-the-radar growers are working to restore the region to its former glory.