Long gone are the days when I’d buy a £3.99 bottle of wine from the coop. I am finally at an age where I enjoy drinking wine for pleasure (does this make me grown up?) and there’s no better place to do this than where the wine is produced itself.
Green landscapes, fairytale villages and numerous vineyards make up The Alsace region. Many people come here to follow its famous wine route, route du vin, which snakes through quaint, mediaeval villages and green foothills. There are so many wineries on route so surely it would be rude not to try one!
For my mums birthday I treated her to a whole day Alsace wine tour from Strasbourg. We booked with a company called Ophorus and we were the only two on the tour! Some may find this a bit awkward but we loved it. It meant we could ask our tour guide to stop at any picturesque locations without annoying anyone else and we could also spend more time exploring as less time was spent waiting around for everyone.
We started our wine tasting in Barr in a winery called Strafeller, which is family run business. Like 15% of the wineries in the Alsace region, the Strafeller wine is Organic. Here, we tried five different wines and I loved them all (which I can’t say for every place we went to!). The first wine was a Crement D’alsace Blanc, a white sparkly wine similar to champagne. This is considered a dry wine but I actually found it quite sweet. We also tried some Riesling, Gewurtztraminer and some Klevener De Heiligenstein which is only made in that particular village. The final wine was an extra sweet one and it was my favourite here, another Gewurtztraminer. Strafeller is a great winery to come to for tasting as they are quite generous with their glasses!
Here’s a view of the vineyards our driver drove us to because we had extra time.
We drove through some quaint and beautifully decorated villages to arrive at the next winery in Andlau, Anna and Andre Durrmann. The owner, Andre, who was an eccentric and passionate man, enjoyed the wine tasting alongside us, whilst informing us about each one. Andre is keen on helping environment and living sustainably. He has an electric car and even cooks his dinner with the heat from the sun. Here, we tried eight different wines! Firstly we tried three Grand Crus wines with exactly the same grape but from three different types of soil: limestone, slate and sandstone. I couldn’t believe how much difference the soil made to the taste of the wines. Each one tasted completely different. The one with the monk on the front was the sweetest, therefore my favourite. We then tried Pinot Gris Fruite which was lovely. We also tried a few more Gewurtztraminers. Two of these were the same but different years and again, I was shocked by the difference in taste. The 2015 was much sweeter than the other because it was so hot that year. We bought this one as we liked it so much.
Needing something to soak up all the wine, we had lunch in Ribeauville. We both had a traditional tarte au flambe.
Like most villages in the Alsace region, Ribeauville was very picturesque.
It was here that we had our next winetasting in Louis Sipp. In this winery we toured the cellar where so many boxes of bottles lay and some enormous oak barrels. After this we tried our first red wine of the day, Pinot Noir, Grossberg. This was far too strong and dry for me. I couldn’t finish it. We then tried a Pinot Gris which was, again, slightly too dry for me. Next was a taster of Riesling which is what this winery are famous for. This was lovely and fruity. To show us how a wine ages, the lady gave us a taste of two gewürztraminers. One was from 2004 and other from 2009. The 2009 one was much sweeter than the other one, so of course I preferred it whilst mum preferred the other one which was still delicious but slightly more spicy and less sweet. Finally we tried two very sweet ones which were again wonderful. You could tell how sweet they were from the colour -sweet wines are much darker. One was a Vandanges Tardives whilst the other was a Pinot Gris, Selection De Grains Nobles. I loved the first, but the second was too sweet even for me. Both bottles were over €50 which makes them the most expensive wines I have ever tried.
Our final winery was in the beautiful village of Riquewihr. Be sure to walk around the beautiful streets and be charmed by their colour and character.
We tried a number of sparkly ones which used to be called champagne and tasted just like it. We tried a couple of white ones which were a little too dry for me and a rose one too which was slightly sweeter.
Overall I loved trying all the wines in each winery. I can’t believe how much we drank and I’m even more amazed by the fact we were still standing. My favourite was Anna and Andre Durrmann, partly because of the owner’s charm.
Wherever you go on your wine route, be sure to inform them of your wine preferences so they can cater your tasting to your liking.