Dr Loosen, Mosel
Mosel, Pfalz, Alsace & Champagne by coach
27 October - 2 November 2012
The vineyards of Alsace, the Pfalz and the Mosel are among the most lovely in Europe. The wines have much in common too; most are white and fairly dry but we also taste sweet specialities and some good reds from Pinot. Stylistically, the fullness of Alsace contrasts with the elegant Mosels. The Pfalz, in a way falls between them in style. So on this tour we’ll have a wonderful opportunity to compare and contrast.
In the Mosel we taste some of the greatest Rieslings in the world. From the Saar’s ‘grand cru’ Scharzhofberger, and the Mosel’s Wehlener Sonnenuhr and Brauneberger Juffer. We visit top vineyards owned by wine-makers Eberhard Von Kunow of Von Hövel, Dirk Richter of Max-Ferd Richter and Ernst Loosen of Dr Loosen. Wonderful moments include tasting over lunch at Schlöss Saarstein with stunning views over the Saar.
Moving south, we stop in the centre of the Pfalz, whose spicy wines were, in the 19th century, considered the greatest white wines from the region which at the time was known as the Mittelhaart. We visit top estates Burklin-Woolf and J.L. Woolf.
When we arrive in Alsace with its villages of timber-framed houses, we have generous tastings with Hugel, renowned for their late-harvest Gewürztraminers and with Josmeyer. The Vosges mountains tower above the vineyards and here we visit a ferme-auberge for a copious meal of traditional fare.
We stay in a 3* hotel in the altstadt of Trier. In Alsace, we stay in an attractive but simple 3* in lovely Riquewihr for two nights. Our last night is in Nancy and we have a last visit and lunch with Andre Jacquart, in the Côte des Blancs, Champagne.
Stylistically the fullness of Alsace wines contrasts with the elegance of the Mosel. As each wine estate in Alsace produces a wide range of wines, our tastings will often include as many as 14 wines! In the Mosel and Saar virtually all the wines we taste will be Rieslings but showing great variation of flavour due to the “terroir” of the vineyard, the level of ripeness and the hand of the wine-maker. In Alsace we will taste the full range of grape varieties: Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Tokay-Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Sylvaner, Muscat and Auxerrois, some in the richer Vendange Tardive and the occasional fully sweet Selection des Grains Nobles. Several of our meal times are spent as guests of the wine estates – where our copious tastings will be accompanied by helpings of the best traditional cooking.
People are often under the misconception that German food consists solely of platefuls of sausages; needless to say, this type of meal is by no means obligatory. You may be surprised to find that German cooking can be very refined, elegant and almost French in style!
The food of Alsace is wonderfully wholesome and often served in brightly coloured, patterned traditional pottery. In the winstubes you enjoy the wines and delicacies of the region, relatively inexpensively. There will be time to explore some of the “fairy tale” villages of Alsace, such as Riquewihr, Colmar and Turckheim, with their wood-framed often brightly painted houses and geranium be-decked balconies.
Those in the know in the wine-trade, like ourselves, are always perplexed as to why these wines are not more popular with the British public, and indeed as a result they remain one of the great bargains in the wine-world when you consider the superb quality. Apart from anything else, these excellent rieslings are a hugely refreshing change from the ubiquitous and very dull range of wines sold in supermarkets and served in pubs.
Travelling by coach you’ll be able to easily buy up to 36 bottles each of superb wines, bought direct from the wineries at great prices. In addition A&C do as much as possible to ensure that the journey is a very comfortable experience. We never fill all the seats on the coach, deliberately leaving seats empty to allow space to spread out. On this tour we are planning a maximum of just 26 participants, on a coach equipped to seat 48. We offer complimentary tea, coffee and biscuits en route – as well as an introductory wine tasting to set the scene and make the journey pass more pleasantly. You have the huge advantage that someone else is doing all the planning and driving, you have none of the hassle of airports, you are sitting high up so you can sit back and enjoy the view. Finally you can rest assured that your impact on the environment is minimal as this is one of the most carbon-friendly methods of travel.
Trier, our base for the first three nights, is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 AD. It is the oldest seat of a Christian bishop north of the Alps. In the Middle Ages, the Archbishop of Trier was an important ecclesiastical prince, controlling land from the French border to the Rhine. He was also one of the seven electors of the Holy Roman Empire. Trier is also the birthplace of the influential philosopher and revolutionary Karl Marx. The Karl-Marx-Haus is the house where he was born. It was opened in 1947 and renovated in 1983. There is a wealth of monuments to see in this beautiful city. Must-sees include the Porta Nigra, the amphitheatre, the basilica and the Barbara baths. There are also a large number of restaurants and cafés both in the old town and down by the river.
Our base for the next two nights. This is one of the most beautiful and picturesque of the Alsace villages, with its maze of cobbled streets to explore and well-preserved half-timber houses. It also has many tempting cake shops, selling the local speciality “kugelhopf”, as well as winstubes and cafes.