Germany South / Alsace - INTRODUCTION
THE CULINARY SOUTH of GERMANY and ALSACE
The southern tour
9 day immersion: Wednesday, May 09, 2018 – Thursday, May 17, 2018
Our way of traveling allows wine lovers to fully experience authentic Germany. Drawing on our love and deep knowledge of Germany and personal friendships with many personalities in the wine scene, our small group visits many of the hidden gems that other tours pass by, but which are essential to comprehend what German wine and the peculiarities of the southern wine regions are all about. This tour has a strong culinary component reflecting the southern German region's affinity with good food, and proximity to culinary Alsace in France. A little town in the foothills of the Black Forest has the world's highest density of Michelin stars per capita (8 Michelin stars and a population of roughly 10,000 counting all 9 tiny hamlets that belong officially to the village of Baiersbronn). We will discover the Alsatian wine region with its quaint villages where the picturesque half timbered houses provide an incredible attractive charm. We will find it interesting to explore the different wine making philosophies in the German regions and in Alsace.
- We will visit a total of 18 wineries (12 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 explore why wine from the same vineyard can be sweet or dry.
- 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 3 exquisite meals at Michelin-starred restaurants in the south of Germany and in Alsace.
- We will hop across the Rhine river into France 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.