Mosel Valley, Germany

Mosel Valley, Germany

Mosel Valley, Germany

Close to Frankfurt’s Hahn Airport, the picturesque Mosel Valley offers atmospheric, tourist-friendly villages flanked by dramatic, nearly vertical vineyards. Historic castles and the meandering river add to the storybook feel of the region. Its wines, in their distinctive tall, thin bottles, are so prestigious that the late Chancellor Konrad Adenauer presented them to state visitors, and the region’s legacy is closely linked to its winemaking tradition. The Mosel Wine Museum  traces the area’s history with presses and vessels.    

Where to Taste:

At the Vinothek, the wine shop of the traditional Weingut Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler, Monika Schmidt graciously explains the quality wines produced from Bernkastel’s steep slopes. It’s open to visitors without reservations from May to October. Despite its striking Renaissance facade, Weingüter Mönchhof in Ürzig contains a modern, walk-in vinotheque, open evenings. In good weather, this former monastery winery offers tastings in a Mediterreanean-style inner courtyard with lush shrubbery. At Weingut Manfred Bohn, the Winzerexpress (the tongue-in-cheek name for the not-very-speedy tractor-drawn wagon) takes visitors on a tour of vineyards and forests. It can be followed by a wine tasting, a culinary-wine tasting or a grill evening (steak, fried potatoes and salad), with wine and beer (“if you must“). Reservations are required for each activity.

Prominient Grape Varieties:

Three-quarters of Mosel wines are fruity, mineral, low-alcohol Riesling and Müller-Thurgau whites, but its Pinot Noirs are also admired.

Where to Dine:

The Weinromantikhotel Richtershof, located in a former winery in Mülheim, has a vaulted wine cellar, a restaurant overlooking the vineyards and a cigar lounge. The family-run, half-timber Restaurant Zum Eichamt, directly on the river in Zell-Merl, is just as “medieval” inside as out. The self-service, wine-bar-cum-restaurant Weinstube Kesselstatts, in Trier, offers a solid wine selection.

Where to Stay:

The first-class, art nouveau-style Romantik Judendstilhotel Bellevue, in Traben-Trarbach, has a full-service spa on the premises, along with mountain bikes and canoes to rent. Weingut Andreas Schmitges, in Erden, is traditional outside, but features modern, wood-accented, loft-style guest rooms.

Local in-the-know:

Winemaker Johannes Selbach, owner of Weingut Selbach-Oster in Zeltingen, says: “Hotel Zeltinger Hof owner Markus Reis has the most extensive wine list and certainly the most extensive by-the-glass list of top-quality wines on the  Mosel. Savor ‘upper class’ German wines for relatively little money.”

Other Activities:

Trier has the best preserved Roman ruins north of the Alps. It’s also the birthplace of Karl Marx, where a museum is dedicated to his life. Burg Eltz has the vote of many as Germany’s best “fairy tale” castle. There is also plenty of boating as well as biking and hiking along the river and among the vineyards.

Budget Tip:

Winegrowers at Europe’s steepest vineyard, the Calmont-Klettersteig, which boasts a 65-degree incline, give visitors a ride on their tiny rack railway for a few euros. The view is spectacular.

When to Go:

The fall festival season, though crowded, is the time to visit.

Andreas Schmitges Hotel:
Dr. Pauly-Bergweiler Winery:
Manfed Bohn Winery:
Mönchhof Winery: moenchhof.deRestaurant
Romantikhotel Bellevue:
Selbach-Oster Winery:
Zeltinger Hof Restaurant:
Zum Eichamt:

Try these traditional and delicious Mosel recipes:

Pumpkin Gräwes With Small Mosel Perch and Ürzig Sour Cream

Courtesy of Markus Reis, owner of Zeltinger Hof Hotel and Restaurant in Mosel, Germany

¼ pound potatoes, skinned
¼ pound muscat pumpkin
Salt, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
2½ pounds sauerkraut
Chopped watercress, to taste
Chopped chives, to taste
Chopped chervil, to taste
Pepper, to taste
4 tablespoons sour cream
4 fish fillets with skin
Lemon, to taste

In a medium pot, boil the potatoes and pumpkin in salted water. When softened, add butter and sauerkraut and mix with a wooden spoon. Next, add the watercress, chives, chervil and pepper and mix, then add the sour cream. Marinate the fish by squeezing fresh lemon juice on both sides and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Roast until glazed. Arrange the fish on the Gräwes mixture and garnish with the spoonful of sour cream. Serves 4.

Zeltingen Minced Meat Soup With Leek and Onions

Courtesy of Markus Reis, owner of Zeltinger Hof Hotel and Restaurant in Mosel, Germany

¼ pounds meat, minced
1 tablespoon oil
3 tablespoons leek, finely chopped
Half of small onion, finely chopped
2 pinches marjoram, divided
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup meat broth
3 tablespoons crème fraîche
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

In a medium saucepan, fry minced meat, oil, leek and onion, stirring occasionally. Next, add 1 pinch of marjoram, flour and meat broth, and boil for about 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of crème fraîche, salt and pepper, and boil. Garnish with 1 tablespoon crème fraîche and a pinch of marjoram.

Published on December 27, 2011