The winery > Markus Molitor
In 1984, at the tender age of 20, Markus Molitor took over his father's winery with a clear aim: to produce Mosel Rieslings under the name "Molitor" in the tradition of eight generations and in the same quality that made the region world-famous 100 years ago – terroir-specific, unmistakeable and extremely storable.
"Vineyards with genuine steep slopes as opposed to the vast expanses of vineyard found in so many parts of the world are what make our terroirs unique.."
"Learning from the past" – an uncompromising commitment to quality in the manual (manual) work and selection in the vineyard and the harvest, precision in the cellar combined with our know-how and experience of nature, grapes and wine production – every terroir and every vintage manifested in the taste. Wines by Markus Molitor demonstrate the potential of the Mosel terroir – structure and depth of flavour combined with freshness and elegance. The winery is based at the centre of the Wehlener Klosterberg site and cultivates vineyards in 15 different sites, each of which is unique in its own way – and only a "Molitor terroir" for this reason.
"Planting the ideal grape variety for the respective location is the key to the quality of our wines."
The winery > Philosophy
Old inclination Ungrafted vines, some of them more than 100 years old, form the basis for incomparable, fine Mosel Rieslings. The steepest slopes with up to 80 % inclination are lovingly and meticulously cultivated by hand.
"80% inclination – 94% Riesling – 100% passion"
The "Molitor vineyards" are spread out over locations from Brauneberg to Traben-Trarbach and, since 2001, also along the River Saar. Due to this wide regional spread and the associated diversity of the slate soils and microclimates of the vineyards, the "Molitor Wines" represent every variety of Mosel wine.
365 days manual work
for pure pleasure
The vineyards are stocked mainly with Riesling, while the excellent Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir are grown on certain selected areas. Pinot Noir on the Mosel? The cultivation of red wine on the Mosel was only prohibited by law in the 1930s. What a lot of people don't know: before that, large areas of the Mosel winegrowing region were covered with Pinot Noir!
Select manual work Multiple selection, pure manual work, careful examination of every individual grape – as the most work-intensive period of the year, the harvest is decisive for the quality of what ends up in the bottle. With an experienced team the grapes are picked exclusively by hand in several rounds, so that what was carefully observed and nurtured for 350 days of the year is brought to its climax in the harvest.
Time is a decisive factor. Despite the increased risk, we harvest quite late. This gives the grapes time to ripen physiologically – the most important criterion to develop the optimum balance of the wines with increased extract values and animating acidity.
"Rigorous selection, manual harvesting and careful examination are the determining principles of our activity."
"Maturity instead of Oechsle" is our approach to achieving the ideal grapes in the respective quality grades – and it is not the analysis values, but people who decide when the grapes are perfect for picking. Every grape is selected as an important part of the "Molitor Wines". By the careful separation of all ripeness stages and the post-selection of individual berries in the vineyard we achieve the highest qualities – such as for example the unique series of late harvest and botrytis grapes over two decades.
The winery > Philosophy
Natural careWe also place great emphasis on the natural management of resources in the cultivation of the "Molitor Vineyards". Soils enriched by exclusively organic means, deliberately gentle cultivation of the vineyards and a balanced leaf-fruit ratio deliver the desired high quality of the grapes – and set the standards for the potential of the resulting wines. High walls of leaves ensure the ideal supply of nutrients for fewer grapes per vine and promote the optimum in terms of extract yield and physiological maturity. Depending on the site, plot, density of the plants and the vintage, the harvest volume is 10 - 55 hl/ha.
"Gentle vineyard cultivation,
high quality of the grapes and physiological maturity are decisive"
Influential basisSlate not only has excellent heat storage properties, it is also distinguished by a very specific, localized mineral composition. Blueschist, grey shale and Rotliegend are the best known types of slate, while there are also numerous interim forms.
Slate is, in the truest sense of the word, the "basis" for our wines
The structure of the sub-soils forms the basis for the wines in the truest sense of the word. It influences the water supply and thus has an effect in particular on the minerality, the aroma and the sweet-acidic structure of the grapes.
The winery > Philosophy
Stone vault Naturalness, site characteristics, complexity and potential for ageing – in keeping with this basic philosophy, all "Molitor Wines" are made by spontaneous fermentation. We deliberately refrain from using improving agents, enzymes or other aids.
The old, three-storey vaulted cellar cut out of the slate offers an optimum, permanently cool climate with high humidity in which the wines are fermented extremely slowly.
"We believe that great wines are only possible with spontaneous fermentation."
Alongside maturation in stainless steel tanks, the wines are fermented and matured in large (1000 l, 2000 l, 3000 l) wooden barrels of high-grade, air-seasoned oak to ensure an especially natural flavour. These are the ideal maturation containers for high-quality Rieslings and, thanks to natural clarification and moderate oxygen contact, result in the same unmistakeable flavour as they have been doing for centuries.
"We give every wine the time it needs to become perfect."
Molitor wines are fermented at low temperature and slowly over months. The wines are then left to lie for several more months on the fine yeast to give them bloom and depth – the accustomed full-bodied character of the "Molitor Wines".
After a pause in winter, fermentation is ended as the temperatures start to rise in the spring. The wines are then left to lie for several more months on the fine yeast to give them bloom and depth – the accustomed full-bodied character of the "Molitor Wines".
"After the many days of work in the vineyard, almost nothing has to be done in the cellar to achieve a perfect wine."
Markus Molitor | Interview on the philosophy
Video | 05:22
Natural yeastIn contrast to fermentation with industrially selected yeast cultures, with spontaneous fermentation the yeasts naturally occurring on the skin of the grapes convert the grape sugar into alcohol. Numerous yeast cultures, each of which is dominant at different stages of fermentation, turn the sweet grape juice into delicious Mosel Riesling. The diversity of natural yeasts enhances the complexity of the wines and gives authentic expression to the terroir character. Another advantage of spontaneous fermentation is the lower alcohol yield.
The colour code
The colour codeThe bottles are colour coded according to the taste category of the wine. The dry wines have a white cap. The off-dry wines have a grey-green colour like slate. We do not use the term "semi-dry", as "feinherb" or "off-dry" is the historical term for this style of Mosel Riesling and provides a much better description of the flavour profile of the wines. The naturally sweet and botrytis wines have a gold cap. However, the use of a gold cap for the Molitor Rieslings is not based on any quality evaluation as might be the case with other Mosel wineries who offer gold cap, long gold cap or extra-long gold cap wines.
The winery > Sites
This map is based on the results of a survey of the wine sites on the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer carried out between 1816 and 1832. In 1868 the Prussian tax authorities published the first official wine terroir classification in the world. For simplification purposes, instead of the original eight classes, the individual site representation contains only three classes, graded in different shades of dark red. In order to maintain the accustomed quality of the "Molitor Wines", only the sites of the two darkest red shades classified as particularly valuable are cultivated.
Markus Molitor | Interview on the sites
Video | 05:22
"100 years ago the top sites on the Mosel, Saar und Ruwer were among the most expensive wines in the world – more expensive even than Bordeaux."
Overall a very mixed site. Two very steep and two medium steep plots with finely granulated slate soils and a large proportion of stones are mainly planted with Pinot Noir clones of French origin.
Overall a very mixed site, ranging from flat to steep. A sloping site that stretches up to the forest, and has ideal water availability even in hot, dry years, with grapes retaining their acidity very well. The rich slate soil is stony with hard quartzite and gravel, producing piquant acidity and finesse.
This site is located directly beside the legendary Bernkasteler Doktor vineyard, the most expensive vineyard site in Germany (possibly the world), and is very similar in quality. Planted with extremely old Riesling vines. A relatively rich slate soil that is stony, but never dries out. The wines have an unobtrusive but highly elegant and rich fruitiness and a clear slatey flavour. The sweet wines from this site are extremely complex and complete.
The vineyards located towards the upper end of the site consist of fine slate soils with very good water-retention properties. This produces a very fresh, lively, exceptionally typical Mosel Riesling wine with stable acidity and very good maturation potential, even in the case of the lighter dry wines.
Another small top-class terroir in Bernkastel, whose reputation is overshadowed somewhat by the better-known Doktor site. Here we own very good quality plots in the heart of the site with extremely old vines. The slate here is decomposed and fine, regularly producing excellent quality, very ripe harvests with extremely elegant and filigree fruit.
Not as steep in all sections as the Domprobst site, but to some extent with even richer slate soils, the site produces very racy, crisp Riesling grapes with firm body and particularly good for dry or off-dry wines. This is our oldest red wine vineyard, producing Pinot Noir with lots of fire and power, needing a long time to mature and develop.
One of the most famous and legendary top-quality sites of the Middle Mosel. An extremely steep, classically south-facing slope, characterised by stony blue and grey slate soils that are not too dry. Produces most impressive full-bodied, elegantly fruity wines with tremendous ripeness and finesse
The "Ürziger" site is traditionally considered to be a specialty among the Middle Mosel vineyards due to its red iron-rich soil mixed with fine slate. This gives the grapes grown here a totally distinctive character, with spice and opulent fruit as well as a crisp, hearty acid backbone, which produces a tremendously full-bodied wine when combined with emphatic residual sugar, particularly in our Spätlese wines.
This vineyard site is located above and around the Sonnenuhr site. It is also very steep and has to some extent even richer slate soils than found in the Sonnenuhr, producing crisp and hearty wines with firm acidity and a mineral aftertaste. Ideally suited for particularly dry wines.
The largest vineyard in Zeltingen with steep slopes as well as flat sections. 95% of the areas owned by the Molitor winery are located on steep and extremely steep slopes, with only 5% in moderate slopes. The soil is made up of fine and decomposed slate, ranging from light to quite deep. Elegant, often beautifully full-bodied and juicy Riesling wines with elegant yellow fruit notes and an interplay of slate.
Covering less than 20 hectares this top Middle Mosel site has mainly very old, ungrafted vines (often more than 80 years old) with fine but also very stony soils of mostly quite light blue Devon slate. The oldest and best plots are often located on small terraces with very little soil, producing very low yields (10-20 hl/ha) of exceptional quality. This site produces our greatest dry and off-dry wines as well as many of our top botrytis wines. All wines grown on the Sonnenuhr have an incomparably elegant ripeness relative to the vintage.
This is at the heart of our vineyards, and stretches up the steep slopes around the winery buildings. It is located in a side valley directly opposite Zeltingen, and faces almost due south. Light to medium-heavy stony soils of decomposed slate with a high proportion of iron to produce mineral-flavoured and long-lived wines with delicate, elegant fruit. Apart from Riesling, our elegant Pinot Blanc (Weißburgunder) grapes are also grown here.
This world-famous top vineyard site borders on the Zeltinger Sonnenuhr but is much more extensive, and thus more variable in quality. The soil is also very stony, but in sections somewhat deeper. It would be splitting hairs to compare the wines of the two Sonnenuhr sites, as both are of exceptionally high quality. Whereas the Wehlen wines are always impressive for their juicy fruit, their unique balance and interplay of nuances, and their slightly piquant acidity, the Zeltingen wines often have an even more impressive ripeness, and an even more incomparable filigree delicacy.
This is one of the top sites of Graach, relatively small and facing south-west. Here we own some very steep plots of vineyard with a fine, stony slate soil that is not too dry, and indeed is close to perfection. Full-bodied, slatey wines with great character in the dry range, but also extract-rich late harvest and botrytis grapes with a wonderful acid aftertaste.
The winery > Haus Klosterberg
Built at the end of the 19th century as a winery, and acquired in 1984 by Markus Molitor, the estate has been restored to its former glory by extensive renovations between 2009 and 2012. With great affection for detail, using historical and modern materials, the estate with its new Vinothek is an architectural highlight among the wineries on the Mosel and has won several awards including the "Architekturpreis Wein 2013".
The Vinothek is open to visitors without appointment from Monday to Friday from 10.00 to 17.00 hrs.
On weekends and public holidays by appointment only.
For further information and group bookings please call us at +49 (0)6532/95400-0.
We look forward to your visit.