It would seem that our trip was dominated by cars, eating rich meals and drinking beer. But to this point both mine and Vanessa's blogs haven't really done justice to the sheer volume of wine we consumed, and there was a lot. Our wine voyage didn't really start until we left Berlin, other than Shanelle having one solitary glass of wein we did the Berliner thing and drank as much beer as we could. But once out of the cities our journey in to some of the best wine experiences Europe has to offer began.
It all started with a campground in the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer. When we arrived at our glamping site there was a bottle of wine waiting to be opened and consumed. What a great start to visiting wine regions! To be honest I don't really remember much about their private label for the campground, but I do remember us enjoying ourselves. On our way to the campground we drove through the town of Trier where we were supposed to have our first riesling experience with Anna from Bischofliche, but someone along the lines mixed up dates so instead we got to check out the cool town for a bit and see the half palace, half church. Since we didn't get to see Bischofliche, I was especially excited when it was time to see Max Ferd. Richter, and they didn't dissapoint.
Winery #1. Richter Estates, a beautiful old home with over 300 years of riesling experience on the edge of Mulheim. Here we met Constantine, the son of rock star winemaker Dr. Dirk.
Constantine took us through an estate steeped in history. We walked through a very old stone cellar well insulated by black mold, where parts used to be closed off so soldiers in both world wars couldn't get at the vast library of crazy wine! And speaking of crazy wine, I had asked Constantine about their legendary TBA, and Shanelle after finding out that TBA stands for trockenbeerenauslese says, "that sounds like something I have tried, have I tried that?" And the response from Constantine was perfect, "if you have to ask then you haven't tried it. Everyone remembers their first TBA." After a great tour and tasting with the Richters, Constantine sent us to the Weißen Bären, a great restaurant overlooking the Mosel River in Mulheim where we had more excellent German wine with an unreal view. And speaking of the view, we talk all the time about the steep hills of the Mosel and how grapes grow at impossible angles, but until you are there it is hard to picture how steep it is. Driving down the road next to vineyard that you can reach out and touch from the car window though gives a new perspective.
As our wine trip continued on the steep cliffs gave way to the green rolling hills of Piemonte. The beauty of Northern Italy is mind boggling. As we drove through wine country to a tiny town called Serralunga d'Alba the scenes were breath taking, and when we finally made it Massolino the view from their terrace didn't disappoint. Alessandro pointed out where their vineyards laid and took us on a great tour of their wonderfully renovated estate. As we tasted through the wines we all thoroughly enjoyed the big Barolos but the big surprises here were the Barbera and chardonnay.
As we finished with the beauty of Piemonte, we took a pic of ourselves as the two not so wine inclined got a lesson in Phyloxera, which unknown to us would come in handy at our next visit...
We drove straight through Provence drinking a lot of wine but not visiting any wineries. The rose was all fantastic and a lot of it entered our face-holes at every opportunity, but after few hundred more km's we made it to Chateau de Beaucastel and Xavier in the Southern Rhone Valley. Our visits continued to be varied experiences from very traditional, to a small winery of mixed old and new to the wine giant that is Famille Perrin and the fun loving negociant of Xavier vins. Not only were the wineries different from each other but the landscapes continued to be very different from each other. Compared to the the last two, the southern Rhone is flat and arid, with oddly rocky "soils" that bush like grapevines grow from. Beaucastel is epic. It is a huge property originally gifted by the Pope. Like Massolino there is great mix of old and new, with addons to the chateau inside and out as well as in the vineyards with young(ish) vines of many varieties and ancient roussanne vines that yield the magical and sought after juice we got. We toured through the vineyards with Kirsty and she taught us of the Mistral wind and told us about the vine replacement after phyloxera. At Xavier things were a lot more casual and really fun. The personalities of Yolanda and Clement certainly matched the wine. We had a great time visiting with them and tasting awesome Chateauneuf and lots from the surrounding villages as well. We
We had so much fun with those 2 at Xavier that we decided to take a couple bottles with us for consumption at the next campground, which happened to be in the Cote de Beaune. Check out Vanessa's post for many reasons why everyone should camp in Europe, but certainly a good one is the wine you get upon arrival.
We Had arrived in Beaune, as the bottle points out, The Heart of France and our visits once again proved to be very different from the last few. First up in Beaune was Alex Gambal, an American wine maker making awesome wine from grapes all over the region. Burgundy is different from the rest for sure, it's a place where no winery owns any whole vineyard but instead rows or portions or vineyards are owned or many of the grapes are purchased. Alex did a really good job at explaining the business of Beaune and burgundy to us while we tasted a lot of really great wine. At Seguin-Manuel later in the afternoon we got even more info from Thibaut Marion about the nature of burgundy and tried yet more of, especially Vanessa's most favourite wine, dirty pinot. The 2012 vintage was very interesting to talk about while being out there to understand how much was lost on the road to one of the most epic vintages ever. We tried a lot of the 12's at both visits and both winemakers gave us blind wines that had been open a whole week without gas that tasted awesome, crazy talk. In the town of Beaune one of the best wine experiences of the trip was a meal cooked in delicious red burgundy paired with delicious red burgundy at Les Chevaliers which I will highly recommend to anyone travelling there.