Route du Vin

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I have to admit, on our trips we may be on a Route de la Chèvre, but we are ALWAYS on the Route du Vin. Traveling with Bill, a seasoned traveler and  knowledgeable winemaker, he often guides our travels into food and wine decadence.

 

 

 

Bill, Nancy and most of our wine drinking friends prefer a dry wine experience. As a lesson in wine selection, the label or your server should provide you with some basic information: vintage, grape variety, origin and whether the product is dry or off dry. Here are some clues for searching for a dry wine.

France – Vin sec
Germany – Trocken wine
Italy – Vino secco
USA – Dry

From there you can match your choices to your varietal tastes and budget. For myself, I put down my menu and ask Bill to select something I will like. He is seldom wrong on this.

Beginning our trip in Bavaria, Bill spent an afternoon chatting with a charming Winzer or wine grower. The topics are all similar wherever we go, climate, soil conditions and environmental threats to the grapes.

German Wine Law requires 6 items to be included on the label. Unfortunately vintage and grape variety are not required. The best option is to decide white or red and the level of “Trocken” you desire.

We came home with two bottles of German wine, a Riesling and a Merlot from Gehrig in Weisenheim am Sand and the labels were clear that the Riesling was “Trocken” or dry and the Merlot is a Blanc (White) de Noir.

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We are both looking forward to tasting the Merlot. The Riesling we might save for a warm summer afternoon.

 

 

 

Alsatian wines are unique and some of “Bill’s favorites”. We visited the Wolfberger Winery in Eguisheim which has a beautiful tasting room, Sipp Mack in Hunawihr and a few others along the way. From Alsace we brought home a Riesling and several bottles of Gewürztraminer. The Gewürztraminer with a little creme d’ cassis makes a fabulous Kir, a popular aperitif at our house.

Incidentally, on the back label of the Alsatian wines, there is a chart which helps you identify the level of “vin sec”. Very helpful.

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The Burgundian wines, mainly chardonnay and Pinot Noir are typically sorted out by the area the grapes are sourced from. A single winery can produce Grand Cru, Premier Cru and a Village wine. We were able to taste all levels of wine on our visit to Imaginarium in Nuits-Saint-Georges, where they had a cruvinet that allowed us to taste some higher end wines.

 

It is possible to also look for opportunities in restaurants that might be serving some better wines by the glass. We like to confirm the bottles are stored correctly, optimally in a machine that will protect the open wine from oxidation. The O’Chateau wine bar in Paris offers a great selection of wines by the glass at all price levels and a knowledgeable server to explain the source and characteristics of the wine.

IMG_0158As far as what we like, our go to wine of choice is a Cotes du Rhone. It is reasonably priced and most of the time proves to be a good pairing to the food we enjoy. Our white wine selections are typically a higher priced variety and a special treat for us. Sancere is a particular favorite from the western part of the Loire Valley, primarily associated with Sauvignon blanc.

While considering your wine palate, think of your preferences of dry or sweet, red or white, grape variety and when you have the bottle in hand, be sure the read the label, front and back. There is always something to learn.

A couple of other beverages I also enjoyed along the way.

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The “Tango” or “Monaco” – Beer with a splash of grenadine or in this case a BIG beer. Some also have French Lemonade added to them.

 

 

 

 

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The Aperol Spritz – Aperol with prosecco or sparkling water and an orange slice. Yum!

 

 

 

 

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The very popular double espresso

 

 

 

 

And when you just are not sure of what you want, there is always this fall-back from home available down the street with free WIFI.

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Cheers!

Bavaria – Favorites

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Herbert and Christiana – our wonderful Bavarian hosts and good friends

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The beautiful city of Regensburg, on the Danube River. Rich with history and Bavarian traditions.

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Weinschorle – Weiss oder rot – This is a refreshing mix of wine (white or red) with water. Great treat to have during a stroll through Bavaria or anywhere!

 

Amazing sites along the Danube River – King Ludwig I Liberation Hall and Walhalla.

 

Wonderful and unique food – Christl’s Pumpkin Soup, Schnitzel and Kaiserschwarrn. There is a interesting story for each traditional food.

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Our fantastic tour guide, Stefan. He speaks very good English, has great knowledge of Regensburg and loves to play the guitar. He is also very fond of a good Bavarian beer. Thank you Stefan!

 

The Sausage kitchen with tasting special mustard, yum!

 

A winemaker’s tour of the Bavarian Wine culture.

Thank you Herbert and Christl, Thank you Bavaria!

Auf Wiedersehen

 

Bavarian Food and Wine

 A Brief Tour

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Bavaria is full of rich food and wine experiences to tour and taste. Bavarian cuisine uses fresh produce, locally sourced, complementing any meal with delicious Bavarian beer or local wine. The one suggestion I like to make is to learn words of the foods you do not like to avoid a gastronomic disaster when there are so many wonderful things to enjoy.

I share with you what we learned during our tour today:

Bavarian vineyards face challenges of cool temperatures so they require varieties that can ripen in these conditions. Varieties that grow well in this area are Silvaner, Riesling, Muller Thurgau, dornfelder and Domina. Much is being done to create varieties to improve ripening capabilities of the regional vineyards.

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Domina gives high yields and is not very demanding with respect to vineyard conditions. Domina wines are full-bodied and have a deep, red color.

Dornfelder is a dark-skinned variety of grape of German origin used for red wine.

Sylvaner or Silvaner is a variety of white wine grape grown in Bavaria. In Germany it is best known as a component of Liebfraumilch.

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Today we tasted Federweisser, from German Feder, “feather”, and weiß, “white”; (from the appearance of the suspended yeast). It is the product of fermented freshly pressed grape juice. It also is commonly referred to as Neu Wine.

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With the Federweisser we also enjoyed a Zwiebelkuchen or onion cake. Delicious.

 

 

 

Other Bavarian treats we enjoyed:

Obatzda is a Bavarian cheese delicacy. It is prepared by mixing two thirds aged soft cheese, usually Camembert and one third butter. Sweet or hot paprika powder, salt, pepper are the traditional seasonings as well as a small amount of beer.

 

And with the Sausage, Handlmaier’s Sweet Bavarian Mustard.The flavor of this mustard reminds us of sweet applewood. Perfect for mild sausages, like the classic “weisswurst” you will find in Bavaria.

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And of course, my favorite, Schnitzel.

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Auf wiedersehen

Regensburg, Germany

This week we are visiting our friends Herbert and Christl in Regensburg. This is a city in south-east Germany, situated at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen rivers. Regensburg is the fourth-largest city in the State of Bavaria and is one of Germany’s oldest towns, founded by the Romans in 179 A.D. Today Regensburg is a prosperous city of about 137,000 inhabitants, 3 universities and many landmarks …

We are fortunate to have a local friend give us a tour of the town followed by a boat ride on the Danube.