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Likened to Randall Grahm, Matthias Hild is an eclectic mix of scholar, advocate, farmer and trickster. Deeply passionate and a believer in the Upper Mosel terroir, Matthias is doing painstaking work to revive old, terraced parcels of Elbling whose heritage may go back at to Medieval and perhaps even Roman times. Hild farms 12 acres (5 ha) by hand in the sleepy town of Wincheringen and produces quality-minded, honest wine.
You’ve probably never heard of the Upper Mosel (Obermosel in German). It is an area between the Saar and Moselle Rivers near Luxembourg and closest to the France boarder. The Mosel Valley has worldwide fame for two things - Riesling and steep slate hills. The Upper Mosel has nothing to do with Riesling and nothing to do with slate. Instead, the grape is Elbling and the soil type is limestone. The Upper Mosel’s soil type is the same limestone continuation of the Paris Basin (Champagne, Chablis & Sancerre). This brings a totally different structural and aromatic profile to the wines (think pithy citrus and herb aromas with a salty/mineral edge).
The winemaking culture in the Upper Mosel is based on one of Europe’s oldest grapes: Elbling. Elbling was once planted throughout Germany and even dominated Riesling plantings. Today, the grape is primarily found in the Upper Mosel, where it is easier to ripen than Riesling. Elbling is genetically related to Riesling (and Chardonnay). The joy of Elbling is its uncompromising vigor and energy and its raucous and super-chalky acidity. Vom Boden's Stephen Bitterolf has the best analogy: "If Riesling is Chenin Blanc, then Elbling is Muscadet.” It is a grape of refreshment, honesty and conviviality.
Lars Carlberg: A Brief History of the Wines of the Upper Mosel
Crush Wine & Spirits: The Other Mosel: Esoteric Summer Refreshment