Luxembourg Feature

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Wines of the Moselle Valley

Like much about the small country, Luxembourg's wines are little known outside its borders. Yet the Moselle valley has been producing wine for over 2,000 years—wine good enough to be celebrated in verse by the Roman poet Decimus Magnus Ausonius and to inspire Celtic burial objects with grape and vine motifs.

The Moselle River forms a portion the border between Luxembourg and Germany. The south-facing slopes on Luxembourg's side of the valley have mineral deposits and microclimates ideal for growing a variety of wine grapes, including reisling, pinot gris, pinot blanc, auxerrois, pinot noir, gewürztraminer, rivaner, and elbling. The resulting wines are primarily white and dry (unlike their sweet German counterparts), though many vinters are now experimenting with red and rosé wine production. Most wine makers also produce crémant, a high-quality sparkling white wine that is often drunk as an aperitif in the Grand duchy. Basic quality standards are established by a 1932 national law and by the Marque Nationale certification, created in 1935.

About two-thirds of Luxembourg's wine production is controlled by Les Domaines de Vinsmoselle, a cooperative that dates back to the 1920s. There are also some 50 independent vinters which sell primarily to private clients. Many of the wineries' caves (both Vinmoselle and independent) are open for tastings and as departure points for vineyard tours—just look for signs along the road as you travel the Route du Vin that runs through the valley.

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