Adventures in Wine Touring 7
The powerhouse wine destinations in France are Burgundy, Bordeaux and Champagne but there is a hidden gem that I recommend for consideration.
Alsace is a strikingly beautiful region between the Vosges Mountains and the Black Forest. It has an idyllic summer climate and a unique history based on influence under both French and German rule. This is a place of world culinary excellence and expertise.
After a landing in Frankfurt, a three-hour drive brought us to the notable village Eguisheim at the midpoint of the Alsace Wine Route. With a population just under 2 000, it is surrounded by prominent grand cru vineyards and is home to an impressive 33 wine caves and shops. Our favorite wine stop was Jean-Luc Meyer, a wine-crafter and bicycle renter. We saddled up our four kids with bikes and sent them through the village confident that they could navigate the quiet streets while we sipped on some outstanding whites. On their ride, they visited a chapel in the central square dedicated to the famous resident Bruno of Eguisheim who became Pope Leo IX in 1049.
Did I mention this village is old? The original inhabitants were Cro-Magnons 20 000 years ago and the Romans were making wine here in 58 BC. It is in close proximity to the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg medieval castle, the Statue of Liberty’s birthplace and NaturoparC where you can observe cigognes (storks) and other local wildlife.
Alsace is a proud producer of four noble varietals: Pinot Gris, Riesling, Gerwurztraminer and Muscat. There is some Pinot Noir production but that is about it for reds. The good news is you will be seriously blown away by the world class cuisine including Choucroute, Tarte Flambee, Baeckeoffe and Coq au Riesling which pair perfectly with the local wines.
Finally, the architecture captivates. The multi-colored, flower-laden half-timbered houses bring to mind a Brothers Grimm fairy tale. This wine destination will truly take your breath away.