ChamapagneThe north-east's forgotten vineyards

Lorraine was once a flourishing wine-growing area. In the late nineteenth century the vineyards covered at least 30, 000 hectares and the French Moselle wines enjoyed great fame in France and much further afield . The phylloxera disease combined with the economic instability whkh followed and the destruction of World War I put an end to the aspirations of the local growers. Replanting and re­ establishment only started under a new generation of growers after World War II. Their efforts were finally rewarded   in 1951 when the government officially recognized the vineyards around Toul and the Moselle.



Small vineyards line the gentle slopes of the valley of the Moselle on soil enriched by sediments. A total of 19 villages are permitted to produce Moselle wines but most of the activity is centred on Metz. The volume is small, not last because of the scattered nature of the vine­yards. The wines produced are predominantly fresh tasty, fruity white wines of great finesse made from Pinot Blanc or Auxerrois grapes. The even rarer wines made from the Pinot Gris is of outsatnding quality and available for a very reasonable price. The local red wine, made with Pinot Noir and Gamay, is fruity and pleasent but without the finesse of the white wine.



The area of Cotes de Toul is slightly further south than the district from which the Moselle wines o riginate, to the west of the town of Toul and the oanks of a sweeping bend in the Moselle.   The vineyards are spread between eight communes on sedimentary deposits, clay, and broken chalk. The good drainage, ideal position for the sun, and mild climate, make this wine area   one   of the   most interesting in France. Almost the entire production, that is too small for large-scale exports, is drunk locally at home or in the many restaurants of Lorraine. Toul's speciality is undoubtedly the pale, fresh, elegant, rounded, and delightful rose, Gris de Toul, made with Gamay.

 In addition to the Cotes de Toul. exceptional rose, a fresh,pleasant and elegant white wine is made from Auxerrois grapes and a delicious, idiosyncratic red wine made from Pinot Noir. These wines too are available in limited volume.