“I’m the only one stupid enough to work the crazily steep vines in Reil” says Thorsten Melsheimer, the perfect picture of a Saxon in rude health. “It’s not as if the vines are actually facing in an ideal direction either. It forces you to work hard. It helps to be biodynamic. You have to slash the yield and pick insanely late. I bought some vines in a perfect south facing vineyard on the other side of the river and the wines are not as interesting – the vines are just lazy!”
Thorsten is certainly not lazy – certified Ecovin (Organic) since 1997, he has been nursing old vines back to life, rebuilding walls in the remotest, steepest, least accessible parts of the Mullay-Hofberg vineyard. “When I get really hot working in the vines, I jump into the Mosel for a quick swim to cool off.”
Thorsten has several bottlings based on old vineyard parcel names. Langeberg, Schaf, Pfefferberg and Molun, a wine that he describes as “liquid history”. Molun was first mentioned in 1143, in a document witnessed by King Conrad III, when it was bequeathed by a Palatinate Graf. Molun was a farm in a slightly sheltered corner, a break in the long uninterrupted slate slope just south of Reil. Molun would morph into Moley, then Mullay, and become the name of the pre-eminent vineyard of Reil – the Mullay-Hofberg. Thorsten has revived the vineyard and the name.
His wines have all the nervy definition and slatey minerality we have come to expect of the Mosel’s finest.