Famous vineyard sites
Osterlämmchen - 'Easter Lamb'
The Paschal Lamb – from Pasch, meaning Passover or Easter – is deeply rooted in tradition, as is wine culture. How, then, did a Mosel vineyard site, located midway between Cochem and Zell in the village of Ediger, acquire the name Osterlämmchen...literally, Easter lamb?
The precise origins are not really known, but it was first mentioned as “der Weingarten des Lämbgen” in 1736 then as the “Weingarten am Osterlämbgen” in the Bishop of Trier's Registry in 1761. Perhaps the St. Martin Church nearby lends a clue, as there is a depiction there of Christ, the ‘lamb of God’ in the vaulted ceiling.
Osterlämmchen was highly rated as a vineyard site both then and later when, in the early 19th century, Napoleon had properties appraised for tax purposes. It's qualities were again recognised in the famous vineyard classification maps that the then-ruling Prussians published in 1897, based on the assessments of the French nearly a century earlier.
Osterlämmchen is a sloping to very steep site that consists of stony slate and weathered graywacke soils. It has a southeast to southwest exposure and was originally around 35 hectares. In the 1990s during the national program of vineyard consolidation, the Hasensprung site, a prime parcel located within the heart of Osterlämmchen, was incorporated into Osterlämmchen. Hasensprung (hare’s leap) probably takes its names from the huge amount of rabbits in the area who have always enjoyed munching on the grapevines’ tender shoots.
Today the vineyard of 20ha is mostly planted with Riesling, with approximately a quarter planted with Spätburgunder and Dornfelder.
Unfortunately, you are not likely to find Osterlämmchen wines in export markets... all the more reason to visit this region in person. A mature (3-5 years old) Riesling of Spätlese ripeness would be a great accompaniment to a holiday meal featuring Easter lamb.
Tips for Tourists
Ediger is a picturesque wine village full of 16th-18th-century half-timbered houses nestled within the remnants of the 14th-century town wall. St. Martin’s Church (11th–16th centuries) celebrated its 500-year-anniversary in 2006 (the old church was “modernized” in Gothic style in 1506). This architectural gem boasts a Romanesque belfry (6 bells), a Gothic spire, magnificent star vaulting with 117 bosses, a baroque high altar, and an 18th-century Stumm organ. On display is a stone relief of “Christ in the Wine Press” (16th-century), which was originally housed in the Kreuzkapelle (Chapel of the Cross) on the Ediger Berg just outside of town. Ediger is ca. 7 km from Cochem and 27 km from Frankfurt-Hahn airport.
The family-operated Moselhotel Löwen is a hotel and restaurant, located in Edinger-Eller. Mr. and Mrs. Saffenreuther offer lovingly furnished rooms and a delicious local cuisine, with homemade jams for breakfast and their estate-bottled Osterlämmchen wines for lunch and dinner (mosel-hotel-loewen.de).
The Springiersbacher Hof is an estate, managed by Michael Borchert and his family. They cultivate 3.5 ha of vines in and near Ediger. They offer a Vinothek, restaurant, café and a number of rooms and apartments. Their historic wine cellar is a perfect setting for sampling Osterlämmchen wines. The property is one of several formerly owned by the Augustinian monastery Springiersbach. The family purchased it in 1806, in the aftermath of secularization (ediger-mosel.de).