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An ar t in itself

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Deze publicatie werd uitgegeven door de Commissie voor de Promotie van de Wijnen & Crémants van Luxemburg. www.vins-cremants.lu Teksten: Romina Calò Fotografie: Andrés Lejona Foto’s op pagina’s 28, 29 rechterzijde, 35 rechterzijde en 37 zijn van Carlo Rinnen Concept & Layout: a | part, Luxemburg Druk: Imprimerie Centrale, Luxemburg Met bijzondere dank aan de Minister van Landbouw, Wijnbouw en Rurale Ontwikkeling Fernand Boden, de Staatssecretaris van Landbouw, Wijnbouw en Rurale Ontwikkeling Octavie Modert, Marc Weyer, Gilles Estgen en Philippe Eschenauer van het Leader + Miselerland, Romina Calò, Andrés Lejona, Thierry Corona, Claude Bertemes, Thorunn Egilsdóttir, Léa Linster, Enrico Lunghi, Dominique Rizzi, Frank en Andy Schleck, Claude Schmitz, Carole Tompers, François Valentiny, Raymond Weydert, Christiane Blum, Jeannot Bonifas, Serge Fischer, Marc Kuhn, André Mehlen, Jean-Paul Risch en Jerry Scheuer van het Institut Viti-Vinicole, Romain Batya, Abi Duhr, Bénédicte Ernst, Claude Gaasch, Josy Gloden, Rudy Joostens, Elisa Kern, André Klein, Ruth Latin-Herber, Romain Mondloch, Claude Moyen, Dan Neven, Carlo Rinnen, Tom Schumacher, Anne Tarin, de leden van de Promotiecommissie en het Solidariteitsfonds voor de Wijnbouw en al de Luxemburgse wijnbouwers.

Dit project werd gecofinancierd in het kader van het Leader+ initiatief door het fonds FEOGA, het Luxemburgse Ministerie van Landbouw, Wijnbouw en Rurale Ontwikkeling en de gemeenten van het Miselerland.


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Luxembourg, home to good living Never has wine flowed so freely, never was the hour of glory so sweet to savour, never were the “temples” in its honour, the wine bars, restaurants and cafés, so prolific across the land of one of the smallest countries in Europe.

Today the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg

and the latest technical innovations to its

world a fact that twenty years ago was known

advantage. Luxembourg wines and crémants

only to a few well-informed connoisseurs: this

are today proudly exported across many

is not only a good place to live, but also a good

borders. Opportunities abound for consumers

place to enjoy wine – wine which has been

to rediscover an ancestral cru or a more recent

lovingly produced in the Moselle Valley for

grape variety. Whether it be a large public

centuries.

gathering, a special event or a more intimate

The passion of man, the very special soil

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year, and which uses both ancient know-how

is no longer reticent in disclosing to the wider

evening encounter, the range of Luxembourg

and the characteristic climate of this ‘grape

grape varieties has something to suit every

paradise’, all makes for a fruitful marriage.

occasion. You will be completely seduced by

It is now difficult to ignore this wine-producing

the range of Luxembourg wines and crémants.

region which is gaining in reputation year by

And with a grape variety to suit every palate,


The young generation of wine growers are enthusiastic about the future.

The Moselle Valley offers welcoming accommodation for all ages, as depicted by this youth hostel.

they can be appreciated as a drink but also as a tasting experience. The nine main grape varieties (Riesling, Pinot noir, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, GewĂźrztraminer, Auxerrois, Rivaner, Elbling and Chardonnay) plus the crĂŠmants from the GrandDuchy will guide the reader through these voluptuous and joyous pages. Is there any more agreeable way of penetrating into the heart of an area still so unknown?

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Wines & crémants Eleven Luxembourg personalities have agreed to join us and answer our questions. Specialists or just wine lovers, each of them presents their favourite variety in their own words. This is followed by an overview of the “Speciality” wines, some words on recent developments in vinification techniques and a description of the quality control processes carried out in Luxembourg.

The Grape Varieties Speciality Wines Luxembourg, between tradition and modernity Appellation contrôlée in Luxembourg

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Carole Tompers introduces us to the

Riesling Aromas: Citrus fruits, apricot, apple, pear, quince, mirabelle plum, melon, white peach, exotic fruits, spices, mineral notes, lime tree, eucalyptus, acacia, orange blossom, elderberry flowers, petrol.

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Carole Tompers, General Secretary of Luxembourg for Business

We are proud of Riesling Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

Although I prefer red wines, my favourite of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is definitely Riesling. Can you describe this grape variety? Which of its characteristics do you like best?

It’s not for nothing that it’s called “The King of Wines” in Luxembourg. It has this rare ability to combine both sweetness and acidity in perfect harmony. To drink Riesling is to start from the mineral notes and arrive at the most fruity notes, while passing through this spectrum of acidity. It is a very rich wine. I also admire its ability to withstand even the harshest of winters. Frost or no frost, it always delivers a good wine. The weather conditions last year were ideal for the production of an even fruitier Riesling, just as I like it. I love this taste of mango and passion fruit whereas in the drier Rieslings, you can detect more citrus aromas. Is there a particular moment that you associate with tasting this grape?

In our profession, when we are working abroad we introduce our country by placing great emphasis on the quality of life in Luxembourg. Offering the opportunity to taste Riesling is one way of demonstrating this quality of life – by marrying the practical with the enjoyable. It’s one of the tools that we always take with us. We are very proud of this prestige Luxembourg prodThe wine-grower’s view on Riesling uct and we have no qualms about letting people taste it; it’s almost as if we were sharing a little of the Grand-Duchy way of life. Reactions are “The King of wines” is the best known grape variety. generally very positive. Our contacts all know about Riesling, but they Rieslings are among the greatest white wines in the think of it more in connection with Alsace or Germany and it is always world. The Moselle valley in Luxembourg offers a pleasant surprise for them to experience Riesling from Luxembourg. excellent cultivation conditions with its southerly And sometimes we even encounter a great connoisseur, who already aspect, sloping hillsides, significant sunlight hours appreciates its qualities. and ideally suited terroir. Depending on the soil, Riesling can be more mineral, richer or fruitier. It is

With which dish or food is it best enjoyed, in your opinion?

the grape variety that reacts the most to the terroir

Personally I think Riesling complements grilled dishes very well the powerful flavours of grilled meat and sausages. In my mind I associate it with good weather and sunshine, even in winter. Quite recently I discovered that it was the perfect accompaniment to spicy Chinese food. Very spicy dishes are counter-balanced by the coolness of this grape variety. But I am confident that Riesling will introduce me to even more new discoveries...

and the climate over the whole year. For optimum maturity, and well-structured wines, the ideal weather pattern just prior to the grape harvest is an alternating rhythm of hot days and cooler nights, something which the Moselle valley does perfectly. Even when the summers are particularly warm, the Luxembourg soil retains its humidity very well. The Riesling grapes are light green, gilded with yellow, sprinkled with reddish-brown patches on reaching full maturity. This gives a characteristic balanced bouquet that is typical of this wine which, more than any other grape variety, proudly discloses its origin. Riesling is also the best grape variety from which to produce late harvest and ice wines, as it always retains sufficient freshness and acidity.

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Thierry Corona introduces us to the

Pinot Noir Aromas: Raspberry, wild strawberry, blackcurrant, morello cherry, black cherry, blueberry, red currant, blackberry, apple, caramel, vanilla.

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Thierry Corona, Sommelier President of the Association of European Sommeliers

I like to amaze my customers with Pinot noir Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

Pinot noir Can you describe this grape variety? Which of its characteristics do you like best?

The wine-grower’s view on Pinot noir

Pinot noir is an extraordinary grape variety which can be very different depending on the way it is produced. I think that it is very well suited to the unique climate of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg. It can be made into white wine, by pressing and without any maceration, so you end up with a true white wine, with a beautiful pale yellow colour with silver and even “onion skin” reflections. We can detect notes of apples, a little over-ripe even. It leaves a sense of lingering liveliness in the mouth. The longer you leave it to mature, the more it will take on the aromas of ripening apples. When vinified into a rosé after a short maceration, a light colour is obtained giving a very pale rosé with hints of raspberries and wild strawberries. Finally, longer maceration periods yield a true red that can be further diversified depending on whether it matures in old oak or new oak barrels, and for how long. This gives a complex spectrum of aromas of wild blackberry and blackcurrant, plus a hint of vanilla, if placed in oak.

Pinot noir, Pinot gris and Pinot blanc are all part of

Is there a particular moment that you associate with tasting this

the same family. In the vineyard the similarly shaped

grape?

leaves and grape bunches make it difficult to tell the

Personally I have the most fun with this grape. I love to astound my customers with it: white, rosé or red – sometimes they go really crazy for it and they’re always very surprised. It’s a grape variety to enjoy. When I organise tastings of red pinot noir some of my customers think they’re tasting a robust Burgundy.

three types apart. It is only just before the harvest that the grapes change colour and reveal their true identities. The skin of the Pinot noir grape is very dark, almost black, whereas the pulp and juice are clear. The wine owes the intensity of its red colour to the length of time the fruit skins are steeped in the

With which dish or food is it best enjoyed, in your opinion?

As a young white wine it goes very well with shell fish and fish. Its mineral quality is very pronounced, as the roots of the vines extend been vinified into white wine. In all instances it is down very deep. The more it ages, the better it complements fish dishes important to select grapes that are perfectly ripe. in sauce and even white meats. When vinified into white wine, it is a very Vinification takes place either in stainless steel vats adaptable grape variety. Pinot noir rosé is a light and sophisticated wine, or in oak barrels which smooth out the tannins and best enjoyed with grilled meats and grilled fish. It’s an excellent wine for give the Pinot noir its complex aromas. quenching a summer thirst. We could draw up a full wine list of reds and whites from Pinot noir alone. It is a complete wine. The Luxembourg Pinot noir is truly a grape that embodies its own terroir. It is not “forced” then placed in a barrel to restrict its flavours. We can smell that the roots have licked the soil. And this is what I look for – an identity and the pure minerality of the soil. This is part of the richness we have in Europe. We do not manufacture wine. The wine-grower waits for the result of nature’s own work, with only a little helping hand from us. grape juice. Pinot noir is traditionally made into rosé

or red wine, but for the last few years it has also


Thorunn introduces us to the

Pinot blanc Aromas: Pineapple, citrus fruit, mirabelle plum, quince, white peach, apricot, pear, green apple, exotic fruits, dry fruits, white flowers, hints of menthol, beeswax, browned butter, frangipane.

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Thorunn, singer and TV presenter

Pinot blanc is a meal in itself Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

I come from Iceland but I know all the Luxembourg wines. You have a wine culture here that doesn’t exist in Iceland. For years there wine was too expensive as there was no wine tradition. Over the last ten years or so, however, the Icelandic people are starting to learn about wine, to taste it and enjoy it. I adore Chardonnay because it is a soft wine, it suits my personality and there’s nothing quite like starting off an evening sipping a good glass of wine. But the family’s favourite is definitely Pinot blanc. Can you describe this grape variety? Which of its characteristics

The wine-grower’s view on Pinot blanc Originating from the same grape family as its Pinot

do you like best?

Pinot blanc is not as smooth as Chardonnay; it’s slightly more aggressive but still very tasty. For me, it’s a pleasant wine which has a nice feel on the tongue.

gris and Pinot noir cousins, the Pinot blanc fruit is yellowy-green when ripe. When fermented in a stain-

Is there a particular moment, a memory or a type of food that you

less steel vat in the traditional way, its lively charac-

associate with tasting this grape?

ter is emphasised by a more pronounced freshness

Personally I do not find that wine goes well with food. I prefer to taste a wine on its own rather than to mix it with different foods, even though I fully understand that wine can be a perfect complement to food. For me, wine is a meal in itself, and if I have a glass of wine over dinner, I tend to just nibble. Always savouries, even if the wine is fruity. As far as Pinot blanc is concerned, it was mainly my sister who converted me. She used to live in Luxembourg, met her Danish husband here and then moved to Copenhagen. Now every time I go and visit her she asks me to take her two bottles of Pinot blanc. It has become the family wine.

than in the Pinot gris, similar to a Riesling. Dominant aromas are of pear and yellow fruit. It can also be fermented in barrel, which results in very different wines impregnated with strong vanilla flavours. Due to its elegance and freshness, Pinot blanc is often used to make crémant sparkling wines.

How is it best enjoyed, in your opinion?

I would say with my lover, lost somewhere in a castle in the north of the country, at sunset. It’s a very romantic vision. Wine is the very best of addictions – mine in any case. A good glass of wine creates a wonderful atmosphere: you sip it, you let it gradually go to your head and then finally the magic of Bacchus commences: “I love the sweet lies that Bacchus tells me”.

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Enrico Lunghi introduces us to the

Pinot gris Aromas: Apricot, yellow peach, quince, mirabelle plum, pear, citrus fruits, mango, passion fruit, acacia, nutmeg, fig, date, honey, toast, tea, mint, spices, dried fruits, mature fruits.

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Enrico Lunghi, General Director of the Musée d‘Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg

Pinot gris is the mirror of the Moselle Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

Pinot gris is one of my favourite Luxembourg grape varieties, but as a general rule I am very proud of our wines to the point that, without exception, I serve them to our foreign hosts at all our exhibition previews. We always vary the grape varieties and the domains so as not to favour any one in particular. If you’re respecting the tradition of offering guests a drink when they attend previews, you might as well take the opportunity to offer them something that they don’t necessarily know and which is worth tasting. We have chosen to give particular prominence to Luxembourg wines. Which of its characteristics do you like best?

The wine-grower’s view on Pinot gris In the past the third member of the Pinot family was not widely planted in the Moselle Valley. But with the first land consolidations in

I think the Pinot gris is subtle and light while still retaining very balanced and soft aromas. I like to drink it chilled but not too cold. In my opinion it suits the Moselle valley, or at least the idea that we like to have of it – a soft and rich region that is more diverse and harmonious than anywhere else in the country, while remaining authentic and influenced by the land. There is a softness of life in the Moselle valley that I value greatly.

the 1960s, its cultivation became more widespread. The moderate acidity and rich aromas

Is there a particular philosophy that you associate with tasting

in Pinot gris made it an instant hit. Delight-

this grape?

fully creamy, it offers a range of fruity aro-

What I love about wine in general is that it is like an art. First of all there’s a tradition that has to be learnt, a technique that has to be mastered. Then there’s hard work, inspiration, the ability to know when to take risks and how to make firm decisions at any given moment. An artist may experience intense periods followed by less fruitful ones, just as the same wine may have a good or a bad year. It is over the long term that reputations are made. One should never judge an artist by a single work, but over an entire evolution. And the same goes for great bottles of wine.

mas, depending on its degree of maturity, from quince to exotic fruits and raisins. Thanks to its perfect balance, Pinot gris remains the most popular grape variety in Luxembourg today, its versatility making it an easy wine to accompany food.

How is it best enjoyed, in your opinion?

I rarely drink outside of meal times so for me Pinot gris is ideally enjoyed with lunches or dinners with friends, with a good wholesome meal of traditional Luxembourg or even Alsatian fare, as my wife is from Alsace. The fact that Pinot gris is a light wine means that it is a nice counterbalance to these heavy, rich dishes. Its finesse makes it the ideal partner for these social occasions.

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François Valentiny introduces us to the

GewĂźrztraminer Aromas: Rose, lychee, peach, apricot, melon, pear, orange, grapefruit, raspberry, pineapple, preserves, liquorice, verbena, honey, toast.

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François Valentiny, Architect

Gewürztraminer also delights the eyes Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

My grandparents were wine growers in Remerschen. I did everything I could to leave my village, but it was no good (laughs). Even today if you’re not a wine grower you are nothing. So I kept a piece of land. When I lived in Vienna I particularly enjoyed drinking Muscat. So when I returned to Luxembourg I tried to keep this attachment by cultivating Gewürztraminer because it is the closest in style to Muscat. Which of its characteristics do you like best?

The wine-grower’s view on Gewürztraminer Gewürztraminer is a highly perfumed wine with a dominant nose. On tasting it exudes a characteristic aroma of roses. It can be served as an aperitif and also as a complement to foie

White wine should be fruity and chilled. As far as my Gewürztraminer is concerned the problem is that working on the vines is not always compatible with my profession, which of course remains my priority. I want to get out into the vineyards, but it’s not always possible. Wine, and Gewürztraminer in particular, needs a lot of attention. You have to choose the grape bunches, sort them, and I’m not always there to do it. In addition Gewürztraminer is much more difficult than many other grape varieties and it requires a great deal of concentration from the outset. My ‘Gewürz’ is certainly not the best, but I am still happy with it.

gras, brioche, cheese or dessert. It is also ideally suited for vinification into late harvest and

Do you associate a particular philosophy with the tasting of this

straw wines. The elegance and sophistication

grape?

of Luxembourg “Traminer” sets it apart from

My approach to wine is constantly changing. Our tastes and ideas are in a state of permanent flux – it’s the proof of a mind that is open to the outside world. But a good wine is of the utmost importance: drinking bad wine is like saying I don’t deserve the best wine. By economising we could die without having known how to enjoy it. It’s important not to forget that one day we will die, and never to lose sight of that fact: it also enables us to choose the right path in life.

the rest, owing in large part to the local weather conditions, but also to the perfect balance between acidity, residual sugar and alcohol content. The grapes are easily identified by their pink to light red colour.

How is it best enjoyed, in your opinion?

I am influenced by the appearance of some wines. Whenever I see a white wine in a transparent glass bottle, to me it immediately signifies dry white wine, and for me Gewürztraminer should be in a yellow glass bottle. Gewürztraminer is linked to an image that influences my style. The same goes for wine glasses. An amber-coloured gilded wine glass gives a totally different taste to white wine. Today’s world is no longer aesthetic, only functionality counts, which in my opinion is a shame. If taste changes with age, the pleasure of drinking a soft, chilled and fruity wine in a gilded bottle and served in a sophisticated baroque glass never changes. So this wine also delights the eyes.

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LĂŠa Linster introduces us to the

Auxerrois Aromas: Melon, mirabelle plum, white flowers, citrus fruits, lemon zest, passion fruit, kiwi, broom, hints of menthol, acacia, honey, lime tree.

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Léa Linster, Chef

Auxerrois is the love of my life Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

There are two which I particularly adore, but for different reasons. Riesling, of course, since it is the most noble, a wine par excellence. In 2007 I produced a Riesling that I selected with love. It’s a wine that perfectly reflects my character and my personality – generous and joyful. It also has a light sparkle that makes you feel happy to be alive. This wine is best served with love, as it says on the bottle! Otherwise, amongst the other Luxembourg varieties, I am in love with Auxerrois. Can you describe this grape variety? Which of its characteristics do you like best?

The wine-grower’s view on Auxerrois This well-known Luxembourg grape

I am not interested in “analysing” a wine. What I prefer are the emotions that rise up in me when I taste a wine. I love to delight my palate. I don’t like those wines that leave a rather acrid taste in the mouth. I appreciate smoothness without the sweetness, and a light acidity without the acid. Auxerrois tends to be smooth. It’s soft without being heavy. For me, a glass of wine really is a treat, and the glass I drink it from must be at the correct temperature, neither too hot nor too cold. It must be clean and clear and develop a light condensation as the wine is poured in. Not too much and not too little, just enough for it to be appetising. I like to see Auxerrois in a high-stemmed glass with quite a small bowl like the Alsatian glasses, and to have someone refilling mine frequently!

variety has great potential for the future. Luxembourg is also one of

Is there a particular moment, a memory or a type of food that you

the only countries in Europe to

associate with tasting this grape?

have Auxerrois as a named grape

Auxerrois goes exceptionally well with smoked ham. This pairing creates a second moment in the mouth which occurs when there is symbiosis between the food and the accompanying wine. Smoked ham enjoyed with an Auxerrois at the right temperature is magic. Auxerrois combined with ham generates within me a moment of warmth when I feel myself to be loved by these two products, and I love them in return.

variety. Whereas in Alsace it traditionally comes under the Pinot blanc designation, in Luxembourg it has always been considered as a unique grape variety. The terroir in Luxembourg is rich and chalky, and so ideally suited to the cultiva-

With which dish or food is it best enjoyed, in your opinion?

tion of Auxerrois. The plants are

Auxerrois goes very well with all those lightly smoked Luxembourg dishes such as neck of pork with beans. It’s a traditional dish, with smoked neck of pork being very rustic in nature. I love this opulence, this smoothness without it being overly sweet. Auxerrois goes perfectly well with all those dishes that require a little smoothness.

fairly easy to work, despite the size of the foliage in the months of June and July. The delicious yellow grapes, nicely ripe and very aromatic, produce fruity wines that are most pleasant to drink as an apéritif or with cheese. Thanks to its excellent potential to mature, Auxerrois is a wine that can easily be stored for a few years before drinking.

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Claude Schmitz introduces us to the

Rivaner Aromas: Muscat, apple, mirabelle plum, apricot, lychee, wild peach.

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Claude Schmitz, Artist – Jewellery designer

Rivaner is quite simply great Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

Although my true love is Gewürztraminer and my jewellery is more “Gewürztraminer” style, my favourite grape variety on a day-to-day basis is Rivaner. Can you describe this grape variety? Which of its characteristics do you like best?

It’s an honest wine that is not at all pretentious and that can be drunk every day. I love it because it has light mineral hints, very little acidity and is just sufficiently flowery. It’s not a wine to be enjoyed only occasionally, like full-bodied Gewürztraminer, which I adore. Some wine-growers are today able to create something in a barrel that is more complex, more flowery and more mellow and which acquires a huge bouquet. It is even possible to enrich it with aromas in an oak barrel, but then I don’t find the spontaneity of my Rivaner. What I really like about this grape variety is that it is a fairly simple wine, but not at all boring. It has a frankness to it that I like. Its basic quality means that it can be tasted anywhere and at any time. I love it because it is quite simply great.

The wine-grower’s view on RIVANER Rivaner, also known as “Riesling x Sylvaner” or Müller-Thurgau, shares the fate of Elbling, its long-term companion in Luxembourg. These were the main grape varieties grown in Luxembourg until about thirty years ago. Cultivated

Is there a particular moment, a memory or a type of food that you

since the 1920s and destined initially for the

associate with tasting this grape?

local market, it can be considered to be the

A glass of Rivaner reminds me of my childhood, of old smoke-filled cafés with their games of skittles. I come from Lenningen, a small village in the Moselle region where there were lots of old bachelors, farmers and wine growers ….they used to meet at the corner café to drink a “Patt Rivaner” from uniquely shaped glasses that are hard to find nowadays. Rivaner is a timeless grape variety, although today some have reinvented it by putting it into oak barrels. I prefer the traditional Rivaner.

other traditional wine of the Grand-Duchy.

With which dish or food is it best enjoyed, in your opinion? Do you have a particular recipe which especially complements this grape variety?

I adore it with everyday dishes but also with traditional Luxembourg dishes such as “Hameschmier” or “ham, chips and salad”, the typical dish served in the evening after a wedding or a christening. In fact, I prefer a good table wine to a bad complex wine. It’s the wine that I always have close at hand at home, ready to taste. Sometimes I even cook with it, although the purists consider that to be a sin.

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Rivaner produces fruity, flexible wines which are very pleasant to drink when they are young. Both connoisseurs and novices delight in Rivaner’s light and joyful personality and its attractive, musky aromas.


Claude Bertemes introduces us to the

Elbling Aromas: Pomegranate, gooseberries, fresh almonds, lemon, mirabelle plum, physalis.

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Claude Bertemes, Curator of the Luxembourg Cinematheque

Elbling is a pleasant, sociable wine Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

I’m very fond of Elbling and I think it’s a shame that in Luxembourg cultivation of this traditional grape variety has dwindled like Balzac’s ‘peau de chagrin’ since the Second World War. Which of its characteristics do you like best?

I love its strong character with its slightly acidulous taste. In a cinematic context, if Elbling were an actress, it would be Bette Davis – big mouth, very temperamental, a bit of a sharp tongue but very courageous, the total opposite to these “sugar babes” forged by Hollywood. I view wine from an ethnological perspective and from a sociological perspective, like Pierre Bourdieu, who studies cultural and daily customs. For me, Elbling is a pleasant, sociable grape variety. It also acts as a memorial to the Middle-Ages, which I respect intrinsically due to my work as a curator. There is a discrepancy now between what wine used to represent in the past and what it represents today. What was part of popular culture has now become part of an élite culture, reserved for a public of connoisseurs. Elbling, however, truly represents the wine of yesterday, the source of pure hedonist pleasure. I like the fact that this wine is not a victim of snobbery.

The wine-grower’s view on Elbling This historic Northern European grape variety has been around since Roman times. Today it is only planted in the Moselle Valley. For many years Elbling was grown in vast quantities for the German market, where it was used by wine-

Is there a particular moment, a memory or a type of food that you

growers to create their sparkling wines. It has

associate with tasting this grape variety?

historically contributed greatly to the prosperity

Coq au vin brings back many memories for me. But although my mother always made it with red wine, I tried it with Elbling. The result was even better; there is a transparency of taste and a freshness that doesn’t come through with red wine. This elemental but powerful wine easily withstands the temperature test when used for cooking. By the glass, it is drunk leaning on a bar, as I’ve always seen it done. It is an ideal accompaniment to the famous “Schueberfouer Fësch”, the fried fish served every year at the “Schueberfouer” annual fair. This whole epicurean, simple and spontaneous world resists a universe of more elaborate, conceited and sophisticated wines. Elbling is fundamentally pleasant.

of Luxembourg vineyards. Elbling produces

How is it best enjoyed, in your opinion?

Its refreshing aspect makes it particularly well suited to the warmer time of the year. It’s perfect for making “Maitrank”, a drink that folklore associates with the month of May and celebrating spring. It is based on Elbling, to which you add cognac, white port, cinnamon and orange slices. Leave it to stew for 24 hours. Filter it and drink well-chilled. This makes me think that intoxication has also been banished from civilised society. In the past it was politically correct, as it was recognised as a source of pleasure and sometimes of inspiration (Rimbaud, for instance). But today it’s frowned upon. We shouldn’t drink any more, just taste.

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lively, fresh and spirited wines with such subtle and flowery aromas that some people refer to it as “Riesling’s little brother”. Low in alcohol content, it is characterised especially by its freshness and is the archetypal bistro wine.


Dominique Rizzi introduces us to the

Chardonnay Aromas: Mineral notes, muscat, melon, white fruits, quince, apples, pears, citrus fruits, grilled almonds, butter, brioche, vanilla, white flowers.

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Dominique Rizzi, Sommelier Member of the “Marque Nationale” Committee of Experts

Chardonnay is a chameleon variety Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

Chardonnay. Which of its characteristics do you like best?

This variety should not be compared with the Chardonnay that is to be found everywhere else, as this is not a Chardonnay that we are used to drink. It has a very straightforward, very mineral character that may surprise more than one connoisseur. However, Chardonnay absorbs the qualities of the land; here in Luxembourg wines are nervous, vivacious, fresh but not acrid. It is very fresh but perhaps with less volume as you would normally expect for a Chardonnay. It is this freshness that I love. Yet it does not prevent the wine having notes of grilled fruit, hazelnuts and bitter almonds. It is this vivacity that makes Chardonnay stand out from the other varieties grown in Luxembourg. Although it is a recent arrival here, Chardonnay can acquire a very lively character provided one avoids, amongst other things, too long a period of oak ageing. The wine must be vinified in the local way if it is to have a local character. Is there a particular moment, a memory or a type of food that you associate with tasting this grape variety?

When I think of Chardonnay, I think of somewhere far away, of Israel. Israel was one of the cradles of this variety, before it was brought to our lands by returning crusaders. Chardonnay is a multi-faceted variety. It can differ greatly according to the terroir in which it is grown – sometimes vivacious, sometimes voluminous, smooth, sensual, suave. I love this chameleon aspect, which can adapt to each terroir, to each vinification and which each time produces an individual essence and taste. To appreciate Chardonnay we must respect this local identity. This chameleon nature means Chardonnay can appeal to a very diverse range of clients, from those who are looking for straightforward enjoyment of wine rather than any great complexity, to connoisseurs who will find in Chardonnay a greatness and a complexity that will lead them to explore this world of such differing flavours.

The wine-grower’s view on CHARDONNAY Chardonnay is certainly the world’s bestknown grape variety due to its reputation as a great white wine and a wine that is produced in huge quantities in the New World countries (Australia, New Zealand, Chile, California, etc). It is through their impetus that it has become a fashionable wine. Even in the Moselle Valley, where it

How is it best enjoyed, in your opinion?

has been discreetly produced since the

Luxembourg has excellent freshwater fish. Steamed pike-perch with a little fennel tip to bring out the flavours goes extremely well with Chardonnay. It is best to avoid textures of meat or fish that are too fatty and go instead for more simply prepared fish dishes, with an element of freshness such as fennel or artichoke in order to create the paradox that produces harmony between wine and food. I believe Chardonnay can accompany different types of food because its freshness sets off leaner dishes.

1980s, this grape variety varies considerably in aromas depending on the terroir. It can also develop flavours of exotic fruits or floral aromas depending on the various slopes where it is planted. Best suited to barrel fermentation, its tannins and vanilla aromas are easily distinguished. Chardonnay is a well-structured base wine that is ideal for producing crémant.

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Frank & Andy Schleck introduce us to the

CrĂŠmants 26


Frank & Andy Schleck, cyclists

Crémants are for victory and a double source of pride Which of the grape varieties produced in Luxembourg is your favourite?

As athletes, we don’t drink much alcohol. However, crémant is very symbolic for us. We travel two hundred days a year and of course we do not take any bottles with us. But when we get the opportunity to celebrate a good result with Luxembourg crémant, then our pride in our victory is doubled by our good Luxembourg wines. Can you describe this wine? Which of its characteristics do you like best?

After hard physical exertion, its coolness is of course always welcome. It reminds us that the hardest part is behind us and that we can now enjoy this moment of celebration while quenching our thirst and relaxing. It’s a double joy. Is there a particular moment, a memory or a type of food that you associate with tasting this wine?

The actual moment of victory, of course! The celebration as a family or with the team! Uncorking the crémant is part of a ritual that we enjoy. It follows success. It confirms success. All these after-race moments are therefore fundamentally associated with crémant. It’s very powerful.

The wine-grower’s view on Crémants With which dish or food is it best enjoyed, in your opinion? Do you have a particular recipe which especially complements this wine?

The appellation “Crémant de Luxembourg” has

We personally drink crémant before or after dinner, or in the coach after a race, but always to celebrate something. When we are savouring our victory, we don’t want anything else. There’s no need for food and in fact it doesn’t even enter our heads. At times like that everyday life is still very far away.

existed since 1991. Thanks to its freshness, sophistication and vigour, Luxembourg Crémant has enjoyed unparalleled success, winning awards every year at international competitions. Crémant is made using a traditional method mastered long ago. As pinnacle of quality, it requires hard work in the vineyard and a rigorous selection of grapes and base wines. All of the grape varieties authorised in Luxembourg may be used to produce Crémant. The grapes must be very healthy, nicely ripe and intact until they are pressed. For 150 kg of grapes, a maximum authorised of 100 litres of must can be obtained, which then undergoes initial fermentation in a vat. The second fermentation takes place directly in the bottle. A minimum maturation of nine month on the lees is required. Luxembourg mainly produces Crémant brut. Crémant may be produced from a single grape variety or from a blend of several grapes, as vintage or not. All offer the perfect accompaniment to a meal.

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Speciality Wines The speciality wines from Luxembourg – the “late harvest”, “vin de paille” and “ice wines” – are successful attempts to further diversify local production whilst pushing the boundaries of vinification techniques.

They comply with specific regulations in

“Late Harvest” . As the name indicates,

terms of minimum natural alcoholic strength

these wines originate from a very late harvest

by volume (indicated by Oechsle degrees), grape

which for each grape variety depends on the

variety and grape-picking, which must be done

grape containing a minimum amount

by hand.

of sugar. The carefully selected grapes have

Truly challenging wines given the

often developed noble rot, the Botrytis fungus.

weather and the climate, the success of these

As the skin becomes porous, it allows water

speciality wines depends on expertise, care,

to evaporate, favouring the concentration

undivided attention, plus a measure of luck.

of sugars and the development of aromas

These amazing wines with their astonishing

in the grape. The skin changes colour and

range of aromas and tastes are produced in tiny

assumes the appearance and concentrated

quantities, which restricts them to prestige

taste of a raisin. The permitted grape varieties

markets.

for a late harvest are specified by legislation and include Auxerrois, Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, Riesling and Gewürztraminer at 105° Oechsle minimum (95° Oechsle for Riesling).

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The few frozen grapes are now ready to be harvested. A rare and very special sight that will result in truly heavenly wine.

Many cellars today use these oak barrels which give wine rich aromas.

“Vin de Paille” . This type of wine is

The autumn sun plays a vital role in maturing late harvests.

“Ice wine” . Ice wine is produced from

produced from healthy grapes picked when ripe

grapes frozen on the vine at temperatures of

from selected grape varieties and spread out

less than or equal to -7 °C. At this level of cold,

on racks. Straw (‘paille’) was used in the past,

the water contained within the grape freezes

hence the name. These racks are placed in well

and only the sugars remain soluble. Saturation

ventilated locations to allow the water contained

is used to achieve a highly concentrated must

in the grapes to evaporate until the maximum

of at least 120° Oechsle. Grapes are harvested

sugar concentration is achieved. This lengthy

in winter under very difficult conditions such

waiting period of minimum two months, entails

as at night, when it is coldest and on slopes

constant monitoring and selection, with a massive

that are relatively steep and difficult to light.

reduction in volume as the grapes dry out.

The fact that these temperatures are rarely

Annual production is, therefore, extremely

reached, the risk of losing everything, plus the

limited. Produced from the Auxerrois, Pinot

great concentration of the grape obtained justify

blanc, Pinot gris and Gewürztraminer grape

the uniqueness and the elitism of ice wine.

varieties, Vin de Paille has a minimum natural

In Luxembourg, ice wine can only be produced

alcoholic strength by volume of 130° Oechsle.

from Pinot blanc, Pinot gris or Riesling grapes.

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Luxembourg, between tradition and modernity For nearly half a century, stainless steel vats have virtually replaced traditional wood barrels. The many intrinsic advantages of stainless steel, in terms of hygiene in particular, have made them almost indispensable in Luxembourg wine cellars.

The vigour that characterises Moselle

Green harvests and the fermentation

wines is certainly due to the smooth inside

of wines in barrel are just a few of the many

walls of these stainless steel vats which do not

examples of this. Determined to remain at the

allow much of the carbonic gas or the natural

forefront of progress, Luxembourg wine-growers

aromas of the wine to evaporate. This unique

try to keep up-to-date with the latest innova-

characteristic, a result of state-of-the-art

tions in viticulture and vinification.

vinification methods, contributes towards

This enables them to offer products that

the freshness of the Luxembourg wines.

demonstrate the potential of Luxembourg’s

Since the 1980s, many wine-growers from the Grand-Duchy have been keen to work

vines in the best way possible. However, this constant evolution is not

with expert wine-makers from neighbouring

at the expense of an ancient tradition which

countries. Together they have perfected new

is still very much alive and rich in experience.

technologies which have enriched wine-growing

Are not truly great wines those which succeed

in Luxembourg.

in achieving the perfect symbiosis between modernity and tradition?

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“Appellation contrôlée” in Luxembourg Luxembourg’s vineyards have evolved ever since the early 20th century, and in particular by introducing new grape varieties and levels of yield.

The question of how to ensure the originality and quality of wines produced on Luxembourg soils led to the creation of the

only have been harvested and vinified within the national production area. In 1959, the Marque nationale intro-

“Marque nationale” (National Seal of Approval)

duced wine classifications with the distinctions

as early as 1935, as the State wished to ensure

of “Marque nationale – Appellation contrôlée”,

the quality of local production through close

“vin classé”, “premier cru” and “grand premier

monitoring. Strict criteria have been in place

cru”, with this last one being the most difficult

since the famous “Marque nationale – Appella-

to obtain.

tion contrôlée” designation was created. Only

In 1988, it was the turn of the sparkling

wines of Luxembourg origin that have not been

wines, then three years later in 1991 it was the

blended with foreign wine and which comply

crémants who also benefitted from their own

with European Union requirements can lay

appellation contrôlée. More recently in 2007

claim to this designation. It is also obligatory

assemblage wines (cuvées from indigenous

that wines displaying this label must have been

grape varieties) were also introduced.

commercialised in bottles, and the grapes must

From the laboratory to the organoleptic examination, test after test at the Institut Viti-Vinicole.

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Representatives from all sectors involved in wine production and consumption (from wine-growers, cellarmen, wine merchants, hotel and restaurant owners, café proprietors and consumers to the representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture) make up the Marque Nationale Committee of Experts.


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The Wine Route “Drinking wine is like drinking the spirit of genius.” Charles Baudelaire, French poet 1821-1867. So not only does Luxembourg wine pay tribute to its native land, when mature it also plays its part in that special joie de vivre which is so characteristic of the entire Moselle Valley.

Soils and Climate Wine – A means of celebration The Moselle Valley

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34 35 36


Most of the vines in the Moselle Valley are located 150–250 metres above sea level.

The ancient cultivation of wine has preserved the local fauna and flora.

Soils and Climate In the Middle Ages, vines were cultivated across the entire country as a result of the proliferation of monasteries and other religious centres. Over the centuries, variations in the climate gradually limited production to the Moselle Valley.

With an annual average rainfall of 725 mm,

are steep. The wines produced in this region

or two degrees Celsius above the national

are racy and elegant. In the south, the land-

average, the Valley’s micro-climate is ideal for

scape of the district of Remich is completely

wine-growing. The climate zone is temperate,

different: the valley widens out, the hills are

with both a maritime and a continental influence

rounded and the slopes are softer. The soils are

which gives moderate winters, temperatures

rich in clay on a substratum of Keuper marl.

that are rarely too high in summer and tempera-

This type of terroir produces more mellow and

ture ranges that do not vary widely.

more harmonious wines.

As far as the composition of the soils

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pebbles. The valley is narrower and the slopes

spread out over the entire year, and one

A trip to sample the latest vintages from

is concerned, there is a clear distinction

Easter onwards is an excellent pretext for

between the north and the south of the Valley,

visiting the Grand-Duchy, or why not come

which can easily be discerned when tasting

in early summer and enjoy the spectacle of the

the wines. In the north, the district of Greven-

valley of the vines in flower, or even take part

macher is characterised by its limestone rock.

in the grape harvest when autumn comes

The soils are a mixture of dolomitic clay and

around. For each season, there’s a reason.


Wine – means of celebration “Quality of wine is measured by joy” said the French actor François Cluzet. No problem – the Grand-Duchy’s wines are up for the challenge.

Between picturesque wine festivals and

with cosy lighting or even propping up a bar

special events, opportunities abound to measure

in a café. But the aim is the same - to discover

the happiness which tasting these local crus

the wines of the vintage.

brings to the people of Luxembourg. Fountains

The wine growers have understood this

filled with wine, tables with colourful tablecloths

perfectly. This curiosity just keeps on growing.

laden with food, and the happy peals of laughter

Tastings in specially equipped cellars are

of those lovers of good wine – there is constant

increasing. Private and professional evening

proof of how proud and satisfied these wine growers

sessions are gaining in popularity, to the great

and their neighbours are. And thanks to a lively

delight of the wine growers who are pleased to use

tradition, these popular festivals continue

these opportunities to share the fruits of their

to attract to the region both the simply curious

labours. If yesterday’s wine consumption was

and also lovers of good food and wine who will not

a daily ritual, today it is accompanied by a whole

hesitate to travel across the country to take part.

new wave of social ceremony. Let’s get the party

Outside the Moselle Valley, exploration is

started!

a little more intimate. In the shade of a restaurant

The good weather signals the start of the many garden parties.

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Filled straight from the barrel, these small traditional glasses set the pace at popular festivals in many wine-growing villages.


The Moselle Valley The Moselle River canal was built in 1964 and the vineyard valley extends for 42 km between Schengen in the south, famous for the signing of the European Treaty, and Wasserbillig in the north.

And flowing through the centre of the

national “dolce vita�, where hedonism flourishes.

peacefully between Germany and Luxembourg,

Food lover or food expert, sporty or lazy, or quite

marking the frontier between the two countries

simply curious and eager for adventure, there

that was agreed at the Congress of Vienna

is something here to suit every taste.

in 1815. It is possible to travel along almost the

the region on foot, by bike or even on horseback.

Route Nationale and for the most part, running

In the summer the River Moselle sees an

alongside neighbouring Germany. This gives the

increase in river traffic. Pleasure boats join the

opportunity to pass through several localities

barges which travel up and down this important

and small traditional villages which owe much

waterway leading to the Rhine and down to the

of their charm to a vine cultivation that has

North Sea. And why not benefit from the grape

been deeply ingrained in these places and

harvesting period to discover this little corner

lifestyles for several centuries.

of paradise?

tourist destinations for several reasons. In addition to its magnificent vineyard landscapes and clement temperatures, it represents

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A complete network of marked footpaths has been created enabling walkers to discover

entire length of the valley without leaving the

The Moselle is one of Luxembourg’s main

The towers of Schengen castle announce this famous little village.

more than any other region in the country the

Valley is, of course, the river Moselle, which runs


Green geometric slopes or imaginary landscapes, each season leaves an impression on the Moselle Valley.

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A few figures

6 39.5 %

2000

Luxembourg is the 6th smallest country

Vines have been cultivated in

in the world and the only Grand-Duchy in

Luxembourg for nearly 2000 years.

existence. Since the land consolidations, which led to a better distribution of the grape varieties being planted, 39.5 % of the wine-growing area has been dedicated to the cultivation

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of Auxerrois, Pinot blanc and Pinot gris. Riesling vines occupy 12.3 %. There has been a reduction in the cultivated area for Rivaner (28.5 %) and Elbling (8.9 %). Pinot noir is increasingly popular and now represents 7.4 % of the vineyards. Saint Laurent was reintroduced in 2004.

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18 wine festivals take place each year in the Luxembourg Moselle region.

82 km long from north to south and 57 km wide from east to west:

6,444,700

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These are the dimensions of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, which boasts a wine-growing area of 2,586 km²

6,444,700 vines are planted in Luxembourg.

(999 square miles).

45 gold medals were won by Luxembourg wines in international competitions in 2007.

66 %

1,289

66% of Luxembourg production

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is exported to Belgium, making it

Luxembourg’s wine-growing area covers an area of 1,289 ha of which 1,234 ha

the largest importer of Luxembourg

are in production. This has diminished in size since the early 1990s due to a policy

wines (Germany 28 %, France 5 %,

of abandonment of wine-growing land, generally located at the extremity

other countries 1 %).

of the wine-growing area and mainly unsuitable for producing quality wines.


Fichier à imprimer, verso (3mm inclus)

Published by the ‘Commission de Promotion des Vins & Crémants de Luxembourg’ www.vins-cremants.lu Copy: Romina Calò Photography: Andrés Lejona The photographs on pages 28, 29 on the right, 35 on the right and 37 are by Carlo Rinnen Concept & Layout: a | part, Luxembourg Printed by: Imprimerie Centrale, Luxembourg With special thanks to the Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development Fernand Boden, the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development Octavie Modert, Marc Weyer, Gilles Estgen and Philippe Eschenauer of the Leader + Miselerland, Romina Calò, Andrés Lejona, Thierry Corona, Claude Bertemes, Thorunn Egilsdóttir, Léa Linster, Enrico Lunghi, Dominique Rizzi, Frank and Andy Schleck, Claude Schmitz, Carole Tompers, François Valentiny, Raymond Weydert, Christiane Blum, Jeannot Bonifas, Serge Fischer, Marc Kuhn, André Mehlen, Jean-Paul Risch and Jerry Scheuer from the ‘Institut Viti-Vinicole’, Romain Batya, Abi Duhr, Claude Gaasch, Josy Gloden, Elisa Kern, André Klein, Ruth Latin-Herber, Jonathan Lyddon, Romain Mondloch, Claude Moyen, Dan Neven, Carlo Rinnen, Tom Schumacher, Anne Tarin, members of the ‘Commission de Promotion des Vins & Crémants de Luxembourg’ and the ‘Fonds de Solidarité Viticole’ and all luxembourgish vintners.

This project has been co-financed as part of the Leader+ initiative by the EAGGF, the Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development of Luxembourg and the municipalities of Miselerland.


Fichier à imprimer, verso (3mm inclus)

Published by the ‘Commission de Promotion des Vins & Crémants de Luxembourg’ www.vins-cremants.lu Copy: Romina Calò Photography: Andrés Lejona The photographs on pages 28, 29 on the right, 35 on the right and 37 are by Carlo Rinnen Concept & Layout: a | part, Luxembourg Printed by: Imprimerie Centrale, Luxembourg With special thanks to the Minister of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development Fernand Boden, the Secretary of State for Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development Octavie Modert, Marc Weyer, Gilles Estgen and Philippe Eschenauer of the Leader + Miselerland, Romina Calò, Andrés Lejona, Thierry Corona, Claude Bertemes, Thorunn Egilsdóttir, Léa Linster, Enrico Lunghi, Dominique Rizzi, Frank and Andy Schleck, Claude Schmitz, Carole Tompers, François Valentiny, Raymond Weydert, Christiane Blum, Jeannot Bonifas, Serge Fischer, Marc Kuhn, André Mehlen, Jean-Paul Risch and Jerry Scheuer from the ‘Institut Viti-Vinicole’, Romain Batya, Abi Duhr, Claude Gaasch, Josy Gloden, Elisa Kern, André Klein, Ruth Latin-Herber, Jonathan Lyddon, Romain Mondloch, Claude Moyen, Dan Neven, Carlo Rinnen, Tom Schumacher, Anne Tarin, members of the ‘Commission de Promotion des Vins & Crémants de Luxembourg’ and the ‘Fonds de Solidarité Viticole’ and all luxembourgish vintners.

This project has been co-financed as part of the Leader+ initiative by the EAGGF, the Ministry of Agriculture, Viticulture and Rural Development of Luxembourg and the municipalities of Miselerland.


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Wines from Luxembourg