The Saarland or Saar is one of Germany’s federal states, named after the eponymous river. Its capital city is Saarbrücken. The Saarland is described by The Economist (23 Feb 2019) as having 1 million inhabitants and being ‘hilly, abutting Luxembourg and France. Over its history it has been French, German and, for a decade after the second world war, independent. The state long made its living from coal-mining–the last shaft closed in 2012–and is the most Catholic in Germany.’
Wine: The Saar region was formerly part of the larger Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. The Saar is renowned for the ‘steely nature’ of its Rieslings, a characteristic Stuart Pigott (1995, p.33) ascribes to the area’s topography, rather than its latitude, the Saar lying further south than both the central part of the Mosel and the Rhine. Between Konz in the north of the Saar region and Serrig in the south, the Saar makes only a single ‘extreme change of course’ (the Mittel Mosel in contract comprises ‘numerous loops’ Pigott says). Hence vineyards in the Saar occupy mainly side valleys to the Saar river. The Saar’s only extreme loop occurs between Kanzem and Wiltingen, from which come its best wines, the vines being ‘better protected from cold winds here than anywhere else on the Saar,’ (Pigott, 1995, p.35). The Saar region’s vineyards now end just south of Serrig, whereas in the late 19th-century they extended south along the river all the way to Saarbrücken, including in the then highly regarded Kleinplittersdorf (Stuart Pigott: 1995, p.36).
‘Charlemagne, The secrets of the Saarland’, The Economist 23 Feb 2019, p.27.
Stuart Pigott, The Wine Atlas of Germany and the Traveller’s Guide to the Vineyards (Mitchell Beazley, 1995).