9 May 2011

wine in Luxemburg

I was recently in Luxemburg to be a judge at a major international wine competition (the Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, which is a very well-organsied event) and I had a little spare time to visit some of the vineyards and one of the producers. Actually this is by far the largest producer, a cooperative wine cellar whose production accounts for some two thirds of the wine from this tiny country. Unfortunately it is, by what I tasted, far from being the best, but at least I was able to get a look at the often spectacular vineyards that lie along the left bank of the Mosel river, even if I was appalled by the percentage of them still being "dealt with" in terms of weed control by chemicals.

I am not a fanatic of the "all organic" approach, but I do believe that soils should be properly cared for. I also know these vineyards are very steep, but there must have been other techniques in use before the discovery of this chemical and seemingly lazy approach since the vineyards here are very old.

A Luxemburg Mosel vineyard which uses the old single stake system, but whose soil has unfortunately been turned into a kind of dead concrete by constant use of weedkiller and no work on the soil.

The wines that come from vineyards like the one above are not exactly fascinating! Most of what is produced at this cooperative is sparkling wine. These appear to win plenty of medals at international competitions like the one for which I was judging, but I did find the ones that I tasted during my visit there particularly underwhelming. Maybe they have other stuff available.

peace along the border, looking across the Mosel towards Germany

The Mosel at this point forms the border between Luxemburg and Germany. Rising in France, it continues into Germany and many very fine wines come from the spectacular slopes that rise above it, north of the town of Trier. But, for the moment, I must say that the wines of Luxemburg are a bit of an enigma to me. I have yet to taste one that really inspires me, although I did try a few very decent still white wines and an good rosé made from pinot noir. Maybe I did not try the best, or perhaps producers here are a bit lazy, given the relative ease with which thy can sell their produce in the local market.


Marketing gadgets seem, at times, to take pride of place over quality wine-making

At least they make wines, as the pipes on the tanks say so...

and wine knows no frontiers, as we should know...


all photographs by David Cobbold


  1. One hundred percent of what you describe is correct, descriptive and appalling.
    Elbling is known to yield up to 300 hl per ha under these “favorable” circumstances.
    But then again, it wins no “gold medals”, only platinum!

  2. And what about SO2 … I have got the nose burnt !

  3. Next time, try Abi Duhr's wines (Château Pauqué) or Alice Hartmann's (for sparkling).
    They really put Luxembourg on the wine map.



  4. Maybe, but I was not offered any to try of either of these!
    So far, so bad.