Luxembourg, small but big on wine

Luxembourg, small but big on wine

On your way south, you zap through it in no time. Too bad, because Luxembourg is a great destination for a short wine holiday or a long weekend away. So put that route planner on La Route du Vin and come back with refreshing wines and great stories.
Text: Michelle van der burg, Petri Houweling | Image: Michelle van der Burg and Dennis Ippel

Luxembourg is one of the smallest and coldest wine countries in the world. Its vineyards are located on the western side on the southern and south-eastern steep slopes of the Moselle River, on the border with Germany. The wine from it is often white, sparkling and always crisp. These pure, not too alcoholic, thirst quenchers have been made since 2,500 years ago. The grape varieties used can withstand the - still today - relatively low temperatures. Riesling, pinot blanc and gris, rivaner, elbling and auxerrois are the favourites when it comes to white, planted grape varieties. Light red wine is also made, from pinot noir and gamay. Dornfelder is used for the slightly heavier reds. 

Vin Classé, Premier Cru or Grand Premier Cru

It is not a huge wine country, yet in Luxembourg they have a full classification system. Almost all wines have the Appellation Contrôllée Moselle Luxembourgeoise label. After being tested, the best wines are allowed to state Vin Classé, Premier Cru or Grand Premier Cru on the label. This is a higher quality, not a different style of wine. 

Not just any bubble

Luxembourg is also known as a major producer of sparkling wines. Although the climate is warming, it is fresh enough here for wines with fairly high acidity. These are particularly suitable as a base for this sparkling wine. The better Crémants de Luxembourg are made according to the traditional method, like French champagne and crémant. 

As in France, there are rules to keep the quality of this type of wine high. Therefore, there are certain legally defined requirements for the production of Luxembourg crémant. This means that the grapes must be harvested by hand. Also, only a maximum of 100 litres of must may be extracted from 150 kilos of grapes. In addition, a second fermentation in the bottle must give the juice its mousse, and that process must last at least nine months. Finally, the concentration of sulphur dioxide must not exceed 150 milligrams per litre.

Further reading? You will find more information in WINELIFE Magazine, issue 88. You can order this here. 

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