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  • March 14, 2022
  • Mosel Wine

  • by Lars Carlberg

Our translation of Karl Heinrich Koch's 1897 masterpiece Moselwein, which has been nearly ten years in the making, has just been published. The English version Mosel Wine contains an insightful foreword by David Schildknecht, extensive notes, essays by Kevin Goldberg and Lars Carlberg, a short glossary of the amazingly complicated German vineyard designations, and a copy of the rare 1890 edition of Franz Josef Clotten’s 1868 Saar und Mosel Weinbau-Karte. Included is a facsimile of the complete original Moselwein. The book, written during the heyday of Mosel wine, is now available in paperback. Buy it from AbeBooks, Adlibris, Amazon, Bokus, Barnes & Noble, Book People, IndieBound, McNally Jackson, Powell's, or wherever books are sold. ♦

  • Håkon Aspøy says:

    Congratulations, Lars.

    I pre-ordered my copy last week and was notified yesterday by Amazon that the book was on it’s way. I’m looking forward to finally be able to read it. I’ll be sure to introduce it to friends in Norway at future Mosel tastings, especially when drinking lean, pale dry-tasting Rieslings.

    Speaking of which, last Saturday I opened a bottle of 1992 Elisabeth Christoffel-Berres Erdener Treppchen Auslese*** Trocken. It was light, fresh, and bone-dry, with only 11 % alcohol. It had aged very well and showed few signs of development.

    Kind regards, Håkon

    • Thanks, Håkon!

      I haven’t received my advanced copies either. Otherwise, I would have sent my newsletter on March 15, a day after the book was released. Out of curiosity, I also ordered a copy from Amazon to see how long it takes.

      Kabinett trocken from some producers has more than 11 percent alcohol in recent past vintages.


  • Please note: When I received the proof copy in mid-February, I chose to have a slightly smaller book size. The proof copy is Pinched Crown; we ordered 52 copies, two of which were for critics, in this larger format. The switch from Pinched Crown to Royal occurred in late February. After the book was amended and released in March, I went back over it and made some minor changes. “First edition, revised in March 2022” is on the copyright page of the latest version.

  • Another note on the book: I ordered a copy from on March 26. This print run has a bright-green cover. My newsletter was sent on March 29.

  • We chose Per’s copy as the original in facsimile, because his has the handwritten note from Koch himself on the title page. The note is as follows: “To Herr Küfermeister Horberth, from whom I so often heard ‘er zappelt,’ dedicated by the author Koch.” I also like the green tint and patina of his cover, despite the underlined note at the top, “In Memory of Grandfather Stefan Horberth.” Per wrote about my discovery of this original copy in his introduction. (In an 1884 address book of Mainz, the name of Koch’s barrel-making colleague was spelled Stephan Horberth.)

    The original book, such as the copy on my bookshelf, has a light-blue cover.

  • Gilberto Colangelo says:

    Just got my copy and looking forward to reading it. Looks like it was a lot of work, but very much worth it!

  • QinMeng Cai says:

    Hi Lars, thank you for publishing such a great book, also in electronic version, which makes it easier for me to read.

    The note to Scharzhofberg in the book is 6 owners, are weingut Johannes Peters and Georg Graf von Walderdorff winery missing? Or have they changed?

    • Thanks, Cai. In my endnote on Scharzhofberg, I purposely didn’t list Johannes Peters and Georg Graf von Walderdorff. It was my intention to mention only the six main landowners of Scharzhofberg, but there are actually eight in total.

      Your question makes my note seem incomplete, so I have decided to make a last-minute addition to a revised edition of the book, which will come out in early June.

      Markus Molitor recently leased from Peters a 0.5-ha parcel on the foot of the slope of the far eastern edge of what was once Scharzberg, and Georg Graf von Walderdorff has from Resch a 0.06-ha sliver of land in Pergentsknopp. In the 2021 vintage, Weingut Dr. H. Thanisch – Erben Müller-Burggraef produced an auction Kabinett from Scharzhofberg, which must come from the plot formerly owned by Resch.

  • Yesterday, we decided to unpublish the e-book version, because almost all copies that have been sold since publication have been in paperback. It therefore made no sense to have the e-book updated a third time. The e-book conversions to the file formats (whether Kindle Edition or iBook) cost a lot of money. We are glad that our readers prefer print for this book.

  • Thanks to everyone who bought a copy of Mosel Wine. The book has been an enormous success since it was published in mid-March (shout-out to Valerie Kathawala of Trink for her review!). A newly revised edition of Mosel Wine, with a few tweaks and additional details, came out in early June.

    An errata sheet is available upon request.

  • Editor’s note: I corrected one error. After all these years of proofreading the text, none of us caught “Trabener Schlossberg” in the translation. It should be Trarbacher Schlossberg. It was incorrectly transcribed from the beginning. The footnote is correct. Otherwise, I fine-tuned a couple of things and provided a few more details here and there.

  • In my endnote on Scharzhofberg, I mentioned that the pre-1971 Scharzhofberg was 18 ha. Today, Scharzhofberg is 28.1 ha. Per later discovered that Egon Müller I received financing from his father-in-law to double the vineyard property from 9 to 18 ha, which, Per says, must have taken place after 1888 when Egon I took over the estate from his father, Felix.

  • Edward Behr of The Art of Eating published a write-up of Mosel Wine in the latest issue, which was released the other day. He assisted in proofreading the book. I also decided to make a few slight changes to the text—all style choices. According to Merriam-Webster, the spelling is “deacidification” without a hyphen, so I changed it in my essay. I also prefer “place-name” with a hyphen, which is the way I spelled it in the manuscript. For an old vineyard site name, I added a variant spelling. There were a couple more small corrections on my errata sheet. In David Schildknecht’s foreword, he wrote “Prussian State,” which I changed to “Prussian state.” The book was updated in February 2023.

  • In the current issue of The World of Fine Wine, Anne Krebiehl MW wrote a wonderful review titled “Understanding how Mosel came to be.”

    On page 68 of the book, I noticed that my explanation of the name “Kupp” could have been more accurate. It should be “the coveted ca. 3-ha slice on below the rounded hilltop, or Kuppe, closer to the river.” Kuppe means “rounded hilltop” in German. In a loose sense, it also refers to the bow, promontory, or convex part of a hill. In the next book update, I will change this.

  • The other day, it occurred to me that I should have written in footnote 53 “with an east-to-southeast exposition exposure…” I’m surprised that no one caught this error. The term “aspect” would also work. I wrongly translated “Exposition” to “exposition.”

    In reviewing the book, I had correctly used the term “exposures” in the endnote on Bockstein, but I must have been thinking in German when I wrote “exposition” in footnote 53. According to Merriam-Webster, “exposition” has three meanings, none of which are related to “exposure” or “aspect.”

  • Yesterday, I sent the publisher another errata sheet, because I wanted to improve a word choice, here and there, or to add a detail in a note, as well as to address the VDP classification, as it pertains to the Saar and Mosel. This latest book update will have “July 2023” on the copyright page.

    In the entry on Raul on page 72, I have made the following change at the end:

    The post-1971 5.8-ha Einzellage Oberemmeler Hütte, solely owned by von Hövel, includes both Lautersberg and Elzerberg,and the 2.2-ha Einzellage Oberemmer Raul, where von Kesselstatt and Friedrich-Wilhelm-Gymnasium once tended vines, comprises the Gewanne Raul and Im Raul on the far western edge of the south-facing slope. In 2022, von Hövel acquired a plot in Raul, and the VDP later decided to classify Raul, long considered one of the best sites in the Saar region, as one of two first-ever Mosel (Saar) Erste Lagen, the other being Scheidterberg in Ayl. (The best part of Scheidterberg is technically in the much-expanded Ayler Kupp.) “Erste Lage”—which, confusingly, was at one time utilized to refer to the VDP’s top classificatory echelon—now designates sites tended by VDP members and ranked a step down from so-called Grosse Lagen, effectively premiers crus to the latter’s grands crus.

  • And it should be noted that many of the VDP’s so-called Grosse Lagen (grands crus) are either ranked in the lower brackets on Clotten’s tax map of the Saar and Mosel or were not even planted yet. Take, for example, Saarburgerberg (Saarburger Rausch), Schonfels (technically a part of the much-expanded Ayler Kupp), or Lambertskirch.

  • On Instagram, Anna Reimann of Cantzheim commented below one of my recent posts that has a close-up image of Clotten’s 1906 tax map of Ayl, Ockfen, Schoden, and other surrounding villages. She wrote the following comment:

    These maps are extremely interesting and give us a fantastic idea of vineyards that showed their potential already a long time ago, but we are not in 1890 and as you say it is a tax map…, terroir is defined by including the skills of the vintner and winemaker. Well possible that today you find outstanding wines from parcels the Prussians (not many here in the region were fans of the Prussian governement) ignored because there was nobody making good enough wine to raise interesting amounts of taxes. Not to talk about climate change and millions of variables influencing the quality of a wine.

    My reply: “That’s all true. But it’s also true that many once famous or highly rated sites have been forgotten or ignored. Likewise, the VDP classification is far from comprehensive and largely reflects what its members choose to have as an Erste or Grosse Lage.”

  • The latest book update will have “August 2023” on the copyright page. I noticed an inconsistency in my placing a hyphen between two words.

  • A reader in Riga caught an error on page 4 in the introduction. It should be “almost 18 liters in milk.” The book will be updated early next month.

  • Håkon Aspøy says:

    Hi Lars,

    Hope all is well. According to issue 67 of MoselFineWines, some sites in Brauneberg have recently been classified as Erste Lage. Does this mean that Erste Lage has been reintroduced by Grosser Ring? Looking at the VDP Mosel map, I find few Erste Lage sites, with one appparent exception for the Pündericher Nonnengarten. It would be interesting to hear your take on this. Any upcoming article on current VDP policies?

    Best, Håkon

    • Hi Håkon,

      Thanks! I hope all is well with you, too. Yes, Erste Lage has been reintroduced by the Grosser Ring—but this time below Grosse Lage, which, as you know, replaced Erste Lage the first time around. On the Saar, there are a couple of Erste Lagen, which Florian Lauer seeked to have classified as such.

      David Schildknecht wrote about this topic in his article titled “VDP.Klassifixation.” As you can imagine, I’m critical of the VDP’s classification, but I don’t have plans to write another article on my site. One reason is that I don’t have the time or energy anymore, as I work full-time in the vineyards and cellar at Hofgut Falkenstein. The other is that I’m not in a position to write such articles. A VDP member might get upset or accuse me of a conflict of interest. I don’t want to deal with that. Perhaps Jean Fisch and David Rayer of Mosel Fine Wines can write more about it, but they have to be careful in their criticism as well.


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