The Upper Mosel has nothing to do with Riesling and nothing to do with slate. Instead, we find limestone. The Upper Mosel in fact represents the beginning of the Paris Basin, the geological reality that informs places like Chablis and Sancerre. Instead of Riesling, in the Upper Mosel we find a winemaking culture based on one of Europe’s oldest grapes: Elbling.

Even at its best, Elbling is not a grape of “greatness” as much as it is a grape of refreshment and honestly and conviviality. The comparisons are plenty, though none of them are quite right: If Riesling is Pinot Noir, then Elbling is Gamay. If Riesling is Sauvignon Blanc, then Elbling is Muscadet. You get the idea. The joy of Elbling is the uncompromising vigor and energy, the raucous and super-chalky acidity.

Matthias Hild farms about five hectares in the sleepy town of Wincheringen. He calls the wine “Zehnkommanull” which means simply 10% — the wine always ferments bone dry and is 10% ABV or less.

WINES

Elbling Trocken “Spontan”

Lemon pith, quince and quinine notes – all ranking very high on the thirst-quenching scale. The palate is a bit fuller and a touch riper, though not much. The overall feel here is direct, crisp and refreshing. The Elbling grape is one of Europe’s oldest and provides great, high-acid and, at least in this wine, generous mineral structure. It’s a joyous wine, perfect for Summertime!

Goes with: light foods or a perfect aperitif