The Great 2010s of Mosel Wine Merchant

10/24/11 -

A perennial theme in the sphere of German wine is the battle of whether or not the wines ought to have residual sugar. Many German consumers say "no," while people around the rest of the world are saying "yes, please!" Our friend, Mike Steinberger, just published a good summation of the issue in Slate that is well worth a read, as is David Schildknecht's response . We're happy we get to enjoy both types of wine, so we won't take sides in the back-and-forth, but there is another, less discussed style that is quickly turning into our favorite: light, refreshing off-dry wines that taste either perceptibly dry or just barely sweet. Often times the term "feinherb" is used, or the wines are sometimes simply called "Riesling." Mosel Wine Merchant imports more interesting versions of these than anyone else, and the arrival of their growers' wines on our shores has greatly enriched our vinous lives by giving us the opportunity to explore and learn to love this re-emerging style.

The only gripe we have with the dry vs. sweet debate is that the sweet/fruity style is frequently termed "classic."  Before sterile filtration was introduced in the mid-twentieth century, the majority of Mosel wine was not sweet, as we think of Kabinett, Spätlese and Auslese today; these wines are lovely but only exist due to a technologically recent phenomenon. Prior to the introduction of sterile filtration, the wines would be allowed to finish where nature would have them do so. Often they would taste dry, sometimes just off-dry. In a bizarre twist of fate, although the Mosel's reputation for producing some of the world's greatest white wines goes back centuries, the style that has only really existed for about fifty years has been termed "classic." The growers who make excellent fruity/sweet Rieslings are well-known. Less familiar, though, are estates like Peter Lauer, Immich-Batterieberg, Gunther Steinmetz, Clemens Busch, Stein, Knebel, and Weiser-Künstler, who make some of the best wines in Germany, and we love having the chance to share them with you.

Mosel Wine Merchant was founded in 2006 and has focused since on working with top growers who specialize in producing great value wines that are dry and off-dry in this charming, balanced style (though like us, they certainly don't limit themselves just to this). It is now in the able hands of Dan Melia, who many of you know from our in-store tastings as the genial and knowledgeable face of the company.  We're absolutely thrilled with what MWM's stable of growers achieved in the peculiar 2010 vintage and would love for you to taste these excellent, vibrant wines. -jfr

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