Germany South / Alsace - INTRODUCTION
THE SUN-KISSED SOUTH: GERMANY'S SOUTHERN RIESLINGS UND PINOT NOIR, THE OTHER WHITES, BEAUTIFUL ALSACE WINE COUNTRY, THE CULINARY REGIONS
The southern tour
10 day immersion: Friday, May 15, 2020 – Sunday, May 24, 2020
Discover Germany’s southern wine regions where Rieslings have a very different taste profile than the ones from the more northern wine regions such as Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau. Explorer the culinary region of Germany and red wine country Germany. Discover the breathtakingly beautiful Alsatian wine region where German and French culture meets. For the start we will visit winery Dönnhoff in the Nahe region as an outstanding example of a “classic northern" German Riesling appreciated and known by wine aficionados around the planet. On the second day of our tour we travel to Rheinhessen, a region with gently rolling hills, sumptuous red and white wines, and a generation of young, ambitious, up and coming winemakers. Then we travel on to Baden, the southernmost and internationally fairly unknown region that produces bone dry, more opulent Rieslings, outstanding Pinot Noirs (in German: Spätburgunder), and whites from Burgundy grapes. We will step across the Rhine River to compare the very different style of wines of the eastern (German) and western (French) Rhine valley and we will get a feel for beautiful, quaint Alsace with its incredible picturesque wine villages dotted with half-timbered century old buildings. Enjoy 1-Michelin star meals at beautiful German and Alsatian restaurants. Enjoy the Pfalz, the second largest German wine region by growing area and only topped by Rheinhessen, which it borders to the north. From there, the Pfalz stretches to the French border 53 miles to the south and borders the French wine growing region of Alsace. In this region French and German vineyards melt into one another and some wineries on the French side own vineyards in Germany and vice versa. Discover the 2000 year old city of Mainz, one of the ten wine capitals of the World, where wine is one of the most important part of everyday life.
- We will visit a total of 23 wineries: Baden, the most southern German wine region and Germany’s answer to Burgundy. Pfalz with its almost Mediterranean climate and voluptuous whites and reds; Rheinhessen where a variety of white and red grapes grow to produce bold, stunning wines. Alsace with its unbelievable picturesque medieval wine villages and world-class winemakers.
- We will get intimate insights into a selection of Germany’s and Alsatian best of the best wineries, normally not open to visitors.
- We will learn how to read the label on German and Alsatian wine bottles.
- We will get to know the classification of German wines including the new VDP classification.
- We will learn about Alsatian grape varietals and the classification.
- We will experience the German red wine revolution and discover the German Pinot-Noir country.
- We will enjoy typical Southern German restaurants with lots of "Gemütlichkeit".
- We will enjoy typical Alsatian restaurants with the French "Savoir Vivre".
- We will enjoy 3 exquisite meals at Michelin-starred restaurants in Germany and in Alsace.
- We will experience the difference between German and Alsatian wines.
- We will travel through quietly beautiful sun-kissed rolling hills planted with vines as far as the eye can see.
- We will get the "inside track".
Germany with its roughly 250,000 acres under vine belongs today to one of the smaller wine producing countries in the world. However, viticulture in Germany has a long tradition, going back to Roman times. In the 15th century, the area under vine was four times larger than it is today. Wars, subsequent loss of territory, diseases, oerproduction, and competition from beer brewing resulted in land turned over to other agricultural uses. In the 19th century, concentration on terroir and technological progress fostered a tremendous improvement of quality and of the prestige of German wines. In 1987 German red wine accounted for only 15 percent of German wine output. Today, close to 40 percent of German wine is red. Germany is # 3 in terms of Pinot-Noir production world-wide, which is a fact not a lot of people are aware of. Soil conditions in the South were always conducive to Pinot-Noir and other red grape varieties, and with the climate changing, more and more red varieties, in particular Pinot-Noir, were planted. Today Germany makes stunning Pinot-Noirs on par with the best of Burgundy. The Alsace wine region is unique in France. For thousand years this region has gone back and forth between France and Germany. The philosophy and approach of winemaking is more German than French with the focus on single grape varieties; the language is a German dialect; the village names and a lot of winery names are German, but the culinary approach is distinctively French.