THE «APPELLATION D’ORIGINE PROTÉGÉE – MOSELLE LUXEMBOURGEOISE»
The main feature of the « Appellation d‘Origine Protégée – Moselle Luxembourgeoise » is the orientation to the internationally recognised principle of origin. The Marque Nationale [ national brand ] system has been used to date for the origin and quality of the product, ever since it was created in 1935. The Marque Nationale pursued two goals from the outset :
- Vintners were to be motivated to produce quality wines, so as to be able to get a better price.
- The Marque nationale label would reassure consumers that they were getting a quality product.
The aims of « AOP – Moselle Luxembourgeoise» remain the same, but the way of getting there is different : « Quality in the glass » has been replaced by the principle of origin.Ever since the Marque Nationale came into being, wines have been judged according to the principle of « Quality in the glass ». The principle is altogether justified, but no longer corresponds to the circumstances that prevail today. Clear proof for this is provided by the charta (charter) wines of Domaine et Tradition, Charta Schengen Prestige and charta.privatwënzer. The sponsors of these three private initiatives recognised that the yield places a decisive role in conferring a certain quality to the end product.The « AOP – Moselle Luxembourgoise » was not introduced solely for the implementation of EU regulations.
It is also in response to the growing quality awareness of contemporary wine lovers.The main feature of the « AOP – Moselle Luxembourgeoise » is the quality certification on the basis of the geographic origin of the product. The region concerned must be defined with precision before the name of a geographic unit can be used. This principle of origin can be easily explained as follows: « the narrower the geographic entity, the more one can taste the origin ». It is therefore clear that rules are needed to define stricter quality requirements, such as yield per hectare together with the increasingnarrowness of the area of origin, for this is the only way that the origin hierarchy can function.
WINES OF « AOP – MOSELLE LUXEMBOURGEOISE »
LIEU-DIT: terroir wines
What are known as terroir wines stem from the best vineyards in Luxembourg’s Moselle Valley. The individual locations are delimited with precision. Here, the quality of a wine is determined by the terroir, the origin. The vineyard, low yields, selective manual harvest, as well as cultivation in harmony with nature are just some criteria for the outstanding quality of these wines.
COTEAUX DE: typical premium wines
Coteaux wines are typical ( in terms of cultivar and region ), classic wines from Luxembourg’s Moselle Valley. These premium wines stem from top-quality vineyards in the cantons of Grevenmacher or Remich. As such, they represent two different types of soil: shell limestone ( Grevenmacher ), and keuper with marl clay ( Remich ). Manually harvested grapes, low yields and careful processing turn the origin into a taste experience.
CÔTES DE: harmonious entry level wines
Wines with the designation of origin «Côtes de» are high calibre, harmonious entry level wines. Fruity, light wines for uncomplicated, daily enjoyment. The yield limit for all cultivars is maximum 100 hectolitres per hectare, except for Elbling and Rivaner (115 hectolitres per hectare).
CRÉMANT DE LUXEMBOURG
Healthy, aromatic grapes, with a freshing acidity form the basis of this quality sparkling wine of the highest calibre. The selection of grape varieties, composition of the vintage and the maturity period combine to make unparalleled products, turning Crémant de Luxembourg into a very special experience for the palate.
Wines marketed under the protected designation of origin « Moselle Luxembourgeoise » must meet the conditions set out in the specification of « AOP – Moselle Luxembourgeoise » and withstand a chemical and sensorial analysis. Only then can they bear the designation « Moselle Luxembourgeoise ». A label with the state certificate must be affixed on the bottle.The real purpose of the « Appellation d‘Origine protégée – Moselle Luxembourgeoise » is the connection of the designation of origin and the quality claim. The closer we get to the top of our quality pyramid, the more the terroir will come into its own. The designation of origin is gaining more and more importance in the age of globalisation. It constitutes an antithesis to the technically and often excellently produced but soulless wines from all over the world.
Furthermore, consumers demand a recognisable structure of the offer. Their expectations differ, depending on whether they opt for a standard product (Côtes de), a premium product (Coteaux de) or an extraordinary product ( Lieu-dit ). They should be given the opportunity to distinguish effortlessly between a standard wine, a premium wine or an extraordinary wine.Wines with a yield of 75 hectolitres per hectare can be labelled with « Coteaux de » or «Lieu-dit ». Both are Grand premier cru -wines from the « Moselle Luxembourgeoise ». « Coteaux de » wines are blends of different vineyards from one grape variety. A « Lieu-dit » wine stems from a precisely delimited location and is consequently available only in a limited quantity. Wines with a yield of 75 and 100 hectolitres per hectare can be provided with the «Côtes de» designation.
TELL ME WHERE YOU COME FROM AND I’LL TELL YOU WHO YOU ARE
…This is how the philosophy of protected designation of origin [ Appellation d‘Origine Protégée ( AOP ) in French ] can be described in a nutshell, and this applies also to « Moselle Luxembourgeoise », which is a designation of origin. The AOP attests that a product is produced, processed and made according to an established procedure in a specified geographic region. Man, tradition, and natural conditions ( soil, climate, slope gradient and orientation ), the terroir in other words, give the product its identity.
Terroir is a concept which is not used exclusively in viticulture. It generally describes the affiliation to a region or a limited area, which is interrelated with the product. The French word terroir can be translated as « soil » or « stemming from the soil ». From the wine-making point of view, terroir describes the overall natural setting of the vineyard with its many interrelations. Not only the soil of the initial vineyard, but rather the complex interplay between soil, topography, climate and human influence ( e.g. type and style of vinification ).
The vine is a cultivated plant, with complex climatic requirements. Temperature, precipitation, and period of sunshine play a decisive role. Owing to its geological nature and geographic location, Luxembourg’s wine-growing region is favoured by a maritime climate with a continental influence.