The vineyards of Dr. Loosen owe their excellent quality to three major factors: the cool climate of the middle Mosel area, the mineral-rich slate and volcanic soils, and the extreme age of the estate’s ungrafted Riesling vines.
The Regional Climate
The Mosel’s steep, south-facing slopes create the perfect climate for Riesling. Their steepness gives the vines ideal exposure to the low-lying, northern sun. The generally cool conditions of this northerly region allow the grapes to ripen slowly, while retaining bright acidity. At night, the river holds heat to protect the vines from getting too cold.
The Slate Soil
The Mosel’s stony soil and numerous rocky outcroppings warm the vineyards by reflecting sunlight and holding the heat of the day. This creates very warm microclimates in the best sites and helps to ensure excellent ripeness. The thin topsoil forces the vines to dig deep through the cliff for water and nutrients, producing vibrant wines that capture the forceful minerality of the soil.
Old, Ungrafted Vines
Old vines are less vigorous and produce naturally lower yields, which results in higher concentration of the fruit and greater intensity of flavor in the wine. Because the phylloxera root louse can’t survive in the Mosel’s well-drained soils, the vineyards did not need to be replanted at the end of the 19th century, as was necessary in most of Europe. Dr. Loosen farms only ungrafted vines in its six Grosse Lage (grand cru) single-vineyard sites, some of which are over 120 years old, but with an average age of 70 years.