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Elbling and the Obermosel
the Muscadet of the Mosel
the Txakoli of Germxani

{ "Here we have the oldest cultivated grape in Germany; the wine the Romans drank. We have the famous kimmeridgian soil. Elbling is always dry. And still, despite all these advantages, we have one big problem. No one knows what Elbling is." }
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2021 Hild Elbling

The line above is from Matthias Hild, proprietor and winemaker at Weingut Hild, the hero of our story, photographed above sometime in 1957/1958, on top of a box of "Moselwein" from the Obermosel. (German wine dorks: Check out the map on the box!)

Though he said this to me many years ago, his statement is still true. So true, in fact, that a few years ago we invented "Felbling" - a celebration of the month of February and the forgotten grape Elbling. This year, we are thrilled to present what must be a first-ever Obermosel podcast, T-shirts, and an upcoming article by our friends at Trink. It's going to be the best "Felbling" ever - more details below.

There is so much I want to write about the Hilds, about the Obermosel, about Elbling. I love this grape so much; I love this region so much.


I guess because the place feels honest. Because of our obsession with "greatness," with an illusory and nonsensical notion of "perfection," we tend to undervalue, time and time again, things that are essential, joyful, honest, available and fairly priced.

The Obermosel, the Hild family, Elbling, are all of these things; qualities of life so important and vital, that we overlook them. This damn wine gushes with all the mouthwatering acidity of any Sancerre, all the saline quality of any real Muscadet, all the feather-weight buoyancy of any Txakoli. This is a wine of pure refreshment, clarity, minerality; it is a wine of conviviality - yet it also speaks so beautifully of a place.

Robert and I were talking about the wine and he said, matter-of-factly, "this is basically a must-buy case for the summer." Obviously I agree.

For what it's worth, I think the 2021 edition is the finest the estate has ever made; the magic of the vintage was here in the Obermosel too - even if no one talks about it.

And the fact that no one talks about this place is sorta crazy. The region and the grape represent one of the oldest and most singular wine cultures of Germany - a culture not as much belittled as just totally ignored - all because of one reason: The Obermosel has nothing to do with the easy narrative we've been told about the Mosel.

This is a Mosel with no Riesling and no slate. Instead, we have Elbling, one of Europe's oldest indigenous grapes and we have the very end of the Paris Basin, this gigantic force of Kimmeridgian limestone that runs from the cliffs of Dover, through France (informing parts of Chablis, Champagne, Sancerre and yes, Burgundy) until it collides, just a few kilometers away, with a massive wall of slate.

One crosses this earth-shattering geological divide, without even knowing it, when you drive from the Hilds to Egon Müller, only 15 miles apart. One travels from the limestone-riddled soils of Elbling, to the very beating heart of the Saar, of slate and Riesling.

It’s important to understand that Elbling in the Obermosel feels like something of a religion (very much like Riesling in the Saar). It’s a culture, a regional dialect that is spoken through this wine of rigorous purity, of joyous simplicity, of toothsome acidity. Yet even at its best, Elbling is not a grape of “greatness” as much as it is a grape of refreshment and honesty.

Surely these are qualities to value?

Please indulge with us this Felbling. Listen to the provocative podcast over at vom Boden; it is a dramatic reading of journal 008, entitled: "The Obermosel: No Story is Told, until Someone Tells It." We will have more festivities and when the Trink article on the Obermosel comes out we'll let you know on Instagram @sourcematerialwine and @vomboden.

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