The primeval ocean was pushed together between the continental plates, and the seabed, under enormous preassure and high temperatures, was compressed. Slate was formed from the sediments, which eventually formed into mountains. Thus arose the Rhenish Massif, as the time part of a mountain range spanning half the globe.
A Landscape is Created
About 15 million years ago, the ur-Moselle gave the landscape its contours. As the slate mountain rage rose, the original wide and straight river bed became deeper and curvier. The unique, meandering river has left a lasting influence on the landscape.
The south-facing slopes provide habitat for rare plants and animals. The Apollo and the European green lizard are at home here, and the abundant sunlight creates ideal conditions for growing vines.
Slate in All Shades
Half of the vineyard land is on Devonian slate, which comes in different colors: blue, gray, brown, and reddish. The slate is often finely plated to that you can break it by hand. The 400-million-year-old rock weathers easily. Its components enrich the soil and thus influence the Riesling wines, which are more mineral than anywhere else. In addition, the slate retains the heat, which is a big advantage on cool autumn nights.
Magma Rivers and Beaches
Rhyolite is a volcanic red-colored rock unique to the village of Ürzig, where there is a large loop in the Moselle River. This soil gives mature Rieslings a distinctive spicy flavor.
The rocks and soils of the Lower Moselle (also known as the Terrassenmosel), between Zell and KOblenz, were once sandy beaches and tideland of the primeval ocean. Quartzite sandstones with siltry and clayey slate mape up the largest part of the soil. Where the skeletons of corals are deposited, this indicates calcareous sandstone, which characterize some vineyards of the Terrassenmosel.
Limestone and Marl
It is quite different from the upper reaches of the Moselle River where the river forms the natural border between Germany and Luxembourg. In this area, a shallow shell-bearing limestone sea existed some 243 million years ago. From the shell-rich deposits and from the clay, silt, and sand that were transported by the river, dolomite banks were formed. Elbling and Pinot varieties thrive on the shell limestone (Muschelalk) and marl soils.
In the floodplains, the Moselle River and its tributaries deposit a mixture of gravel and sand. In these areas are flat vineyard sites ideal for Müller-Thurgau and Pinot varities.
Source: Moselwein e.V.