Have you noticed that everything old is new again? Like the hipsters in the cool part of town, sporting the bushy beards of the 70’s, even winemakers can reflect on decades past for their inspiration.
Speaking of that glorious decade when men were mustachioed and women sans-brassiere, whatever happened to that most iconic wine of the late 70’s and 80’s – Moselle?
Back then, you’d be hard pressed not to find a cask of Moselle in the fridge of a groovy baby boomer. When guests arrived to the doorstep unexpectedly, (long before text messages and instant messenger were invented) they were offered a glass of Stanley’s finest, straight from the box, labelled ‘Moselle’ and with a couple of ice-cubes thrown in for good measure!
Moselle as we knew it, was inspired by the delicate, fragrant and slightly sweet wines of Mosel, in south-western Germany. This famous grape-growing region with its sweeping mountain ranges, meandering rivers and cool climate continues to produce incredible wines, notably the world-renowned Riesling wines, loved for their heady mix of mineral and floral notes, striking a balance between ripeness and acidity.
We can blame the death of Moselle on the international laws protecting the designation of origin, or in other words, laws that prevent a winemaker from naming their wine after a region (for example, Champagne, Mosel or Chablis) unless the grape is grown and made into wine within that region.
I suspect Moselle would have died a natural death anyway as consumer tastes moved on to the next big thing in wine. In the noughties you will recall our great love of Chardonnay until that famous episode of ‘Kath and Kim’ with guest star Kylie Minogue, discussing the fact that the ‘H’ in Chardonnay is silent and it’s actually pronounced ‘Kardonnay’. You could almost hear the horrified gasps of Chardie lovers around Australia as they realized their beloved wine had become instantly uncool!
Soon after, we moved on to Sauvignon Blanc as our preferred white and it continues to be commonly quaffed by the masses. Change is in the air again, and after decades on the outer, Mosel-inspired Rieslings are making a huge comeback, as is another 70’s dinner-party staple – Rosé.
While we’ll never see another Australian Moselle or Champagne, wine makers and marketers continue to push the boundaries to satisfy consumer’s appetite for new and exciting wines. Expect to see more of some of the lesser known grapes making their presence felt at your next social gathering.
I’m excited about the future or wine making, even if it borrows heavily from our past. Although maybe not the cask of Moselle, we’ll leave that one in the 70’s.