Nestled on the west bank of the Rhine, Alsace offers a delightful German influence on this magnificent wine region. Brightly coloured houses, rolling hills, and delicious food and wine make this tour consistently interesting. Discover the unique difference in Alsace wine and try the sparkling wine that is rapidly growing in popularity. The gastronomy in the area is equally sumptuous and is definitely not to be missed – hearty meat dishes battle with stunning desserts and the flavours on off er are incredible. Join us on tour to enjoy a glimpse into the many treasures that Alsace has to offer.
We pay a visit to Basel in France, a city on the border triangle of France, Switzerland and Germany. Look out for the picture-book historic quarter of Petite France, with its half-timbered medieval houses and its quays that overlook branches of the river, which makes it an ideal spot for a glass of wine.
The German influence is still evident in Alsatian cuisine. Pork is typical, and dishes are filling and rustic. Look out for Baeckeoffe, a stew of three meats, potatoes and about 10 spices, which is usually marinated in Riesling. The area is also famous for tarts, both sweet and savoury, and for its sausages.
While best known for its Riesling, there is also a great selection of other wines to discover. Mainly whites, such as Gewürtzraminer and Pinot Gris. Sparkling wine (crémant d’Alsace) is a nice aperitif and worth trying. Alsatian wines typically have slender bottles – called ‘Flûte d’Alsace’.
This morning we will depart from London and fly to Basel. We arrive in time for a late lunch at Domaine Schlumberger, which welcomes the start of our tour well. After checking in to our hotel, our wine expert will treat us to an introductory tasting to familiarise us with this region’s wines over a group dinner.
After breakfast we will visit Domaine Trimbach in the village of Ribeauvillé where we will taste a selection of Rieslings. Lunch is spent at your leisure, which will ensure that there is time for you to explore this pretty medieval village. Dinner is included this evening.
Today will begin with a visit to the village of Keintzheim for a tasting at family-run estate, Domaine Paul Blanck. Our tour here is hosted by Philippe Blanck. The Blancks have a passionate quest to understand and express the terroir of the Kientzheim/Kaysersberg Valley, and from these vineyards we try wines of restrained elegance, great finesse and powerful character. Our lunchtime visit is at Hugel, a name that needs no introduction. We will enjoy their excellent wines over lunch. This afternoon, you have the option of a vineyard walk, led by our Arblaster & Clarke staff, or you can choose to return to the hotel to simply relax. This evening’s dinner is included.
After breakfast today we will visit a winery located at the foot of the majestic Schlossberg Hill. The wines here are remarkable for their balance and finesse, and their intensity and concentration, which are achieved by drastically pruning the vines to limit yields per hectare to nearly one-half that is typical in Alsace. For lunch, you will have free time in the picturesque village of Kayersberg, where you can discover its main square surrounded by painted half-timber buildings and perhaps its 13-15th century Church, Sainte-Croix. This afternoon, we enjoy another tasting before returning to the hotel for an independent evening spent at leisure.
This morning, we travel to the village of Rouffach and begin our day with a tasting at Domaine Muré, which is owned by a family who have been making wine for 12 generations. Following this, there will be an included lunch at one of the village’s best restaurants. Leaving this afternoon and evening free, you will have the chance to explore the rich history of the village, which was the former capital of Upper Mudat, and has been shaped by the Romans, Merovingians, knights of the Teutonic Order, Renaissance and more.
Leaving our hotel this morning, we will begin our return journey to Basel and then we can catch our flight back to the UK.
Beverley is an independent writer, professional wine judge and educator, who has travelled extensively both visiting and writing about the vineyards of the world. Author of ‘Teach Yourself Wine Tasting’ and ‘Biodynamics in Wine’, she also leads wine courses in London and wine holidays in France and South America. She is one of only 370 Masters of Wine in the world, passing the notoriously rigorous exams on her first attempt. When not travelling and tasting, Beverley enjoys nothing more than enthusing others with her passion for the world’s greatest drink.