Germany South / Alsace - INTRODUCTION
THE SUN-KISSED SOUTH: GERMANY'S PINOT NOIR, THE CULINARY REGION, ALSACE
The southern tour
9 day immersion: Saturday, May 12, 2018 – Sunday, May 20, 2018
Discover Germany’s southern wine regions and red wine country Germany. Explore Baden, the southernmost and internationally fairly unknown region that produces outstanding Pinot Noirs (in German: Spätburgunder), and whites from Burgundy grapes and other varietals. Visit wineries on the shore of Lake Constance, the largest body of water in Germany bordering Switzerland. Take a look at medieval monasteries and other cultural heritage sites. We will spend one night in an epicurean's dream destination in the Kaiserstuhl to indulge in true southern German hospitality and 1-Michelin star gourmet food. We will step across the Rhine River to compare the very different 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 a 2-Michelin star dinner at a great Alsatian restaurant with truly French charme. Enjoy the Pfalz and Rheinhessen regions with its gently rolling hills, sumptuous red and white wines, and a generation of young, ambitious, up and coming winemakers. Discover Mainz, on 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 18 wineries (10 are members of the VDP, the German association of elite wine makers; 4 are in Alsace) in 3 different wine regions in Germany where predominantly grapes other than Riesling - Burgundy grapes - are planted: Baden, the most southern German wine region and Germany’s answer to Burgundy. In Baden we will also visit wineries off the beaten track on the shore of Lake Constance; Pfalz with its almost Mediterranean climate and voluptuous whites and reds; Southern Rheinhessen where a variety of white and red grapes grow to produce bold, stunning wines. We also spend two nights in the Alsace region in Eastern France with its unbelievable picturesque medieval wine villages and world-class winemakers.
- We will get intimate insights into a selection of Germany’s best of the best wineries, normally not open to visitors.
- We will learn how to read the label on German wine bottles.
- We will get to know the classification of German wines including the new VDP 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 2 exquisite meals at Michelin-starred restaurants in the south of Germany and in Alsace.
- We will hop across the Rhine river into France and spend two days in Alsace to 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.