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Wine tasting in the Rhine

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Apr 29th, 2013, 11:39 AM
  #1
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Wine tasting in the Rhine

I plan on touring Germany's "wine country" between Mainz and Koblenz. Is it like Napa Valley where you pull in and enjoy a tasting, then go to another vineyard down the road? Do they encourage drop in visits and are there winery stops on the main road or do I need to pull out a map and find the wineries?
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Apr 29th, 2013, 11:56 AM
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Not many vines or vineyards right along the Rhine but the Mosel River, which intersects with the Rhine at Koblenz is carpeted with vineyards and cute wine towns and wineries practically its whole length from Trier to Koblenz.

Cochem is one picture-postcard wine town that makes a good base for both the Mosel, which many thinks far more gorgeous than the Rhine even - there are wine tastings right in town. By train? Cochem has frequent trains. Cochem also has the romantic castle of your dreams popping out of vineyard-carpeted hill right in town - though an Ersatz medieval castle it is so so dreamy.

For lots on this area check out these sites if going by train - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

Some pictures of Cochem and its area:
https://www.google.com/search?q=coch...=1600&bih=1099
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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I hope you aren't doing this by car - you will very quickly be over the strict drink-driving limit if you are!
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:04 PM
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Thank you! I did not even realize that!
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:06 PM
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Wine tasting, not wine drinking
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:07 PM
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meant to say there are some wineries on the Rhine that you can access from the K-D boats or riverside trains or car - just that they are postage-stamp size compared to the sea of vineuyards carpeting much of the Mosel (every southward facing slope it seems in what is one of Europe's most very northernly wine areas - the dark slate rocks and deep valley keep vines ewarm and sheltered in cold winters.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:13 PM
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The BAC limit is much lower in Europe and certainly in Germany than the USA. My German friends drink NO alcohol when she has to drive later even though they drink wine if not on wheels.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:42 PM
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http://www.wine-searcher.com/regions-mosel

Mosel Wines have the most Qualitatsweins of all German wine producing areas.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 12:47 PM
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I checked out your drinking warning. I don't plan on going over that limit, but for a safer option is there a bicycle trail or do bicycles carry the same penalty?
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Apr 29th, 2013, 01:17 PM
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There are bike paths that hug both sides of the Rhine Gorge and at least one side of the Mosel. Not sure about legalities but do not think they stop bikers for booze checks like they do on the road.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 01:18 PM
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Bikes are good, though if you are falling off drunk they would be a problem. Tasting glass can vary from a tot to 2/3 of a bottle in a beer type glass. This might help
http://www.mybikeguide.co.uk/Art-_German_Festival.php but there are other articles on that website that would interest you including more details on the Mosel bike path.

You will do better to combine a visit with a local wine festival. http://gogermany.about.com/od/events..._festivals.htm which allows you to taste a good range along with the food (and wine with food is very much the thing.) For instance while dry wine is very much the international style until you have drunk an off dry Riesling with onion flan you have not enjoyed a good german snack.

A better option is to follow PalenQ's guidance which is to follow the Mosel by ferry, train or bike. While the Rheingau (think Rudesheim) is known as the very best of ACs and the area to the north offer some of the few drinkable reds in the country the Mosel for shear beauty and general quality just hits the spot.

Unlike CA the wines of Germany are more made in the lab than in the field, that is not to be rude about growers producing on almost vertical cliffs, but I have seen so much moldy grapes converted into bright clean wine after passing through the magic room that you also have to respect the chemists as well.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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Reislings from this area--Rhine and Mosel--are generally lower in alcohol, in the 8 to 10 % range unless you are into the more expensive late harvests. We have enjoyed them all but favor the Mosel for the slate effect.

We have toured the area on many occasions and have always been impressed with the hospitality and variety of wines offered even when we have arrived unannounced. I can think of instances of wineries having 10 to 15 different reislings on offer and always without a fee.

As Bilbo suggests, enjoying an outdoor patio with food and these wines is a memorable experience and the lower alcohol makes it easier. There are rarely formal tasting rooms ala Napa and you will need to do some research with a map to find them. But rest assured, the effort is worth it--enjoy.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 02:13 PM
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Rieslings, pronounced as in 'fee"

Rhein, pronounced as in fine.

sorry to be picky.

if you stray into the Rheinpfalz, you will find plenty of places around Annweiler and Bad Bergzabern offering "Weinprobe"; the hills are covered in vines for as far as the eye can see, as are the upper reaches of the Rhein.

the mystery is that the germans drink the vast majority of it themselves - it's amazing that they are not permanently pickled!
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Apr 29th, 2013, 02:38 PM
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If you want wine tastings, a very compact wine area is the Rheingau, which is the section of the Rhine between Wiesbaden and Rüdesheim (or thereabouts). It's very popular with people from Wiesbaden, who all catch the train between the small villages and go from Strausswirtschaft to Strausswirtschaft, tasting different wines along the way. (A Strausswirtschaft is a small seasonal tavern, set up only for the wine season. You can typically get a light meal and a glass /glasses of wine.) http://www.rheingau.de/gastronomie/strausswirtschaften

In late summer / early autumn, which is prime time, you can often get a glass of Federweisser (white wine) or Roter Rauscher (red wine), which is light and effervescent. If they sell bottles, they have to sell them without a cork because of the pressure building up in bottles. I have seen this in cooler cabinets in Wiesbaden. The traditional accompaniment to this is a slice of Zweibelkuchen (onion tart). It's a really nice experience.

Have fun, you will have a nice trip.

Lavandula
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Apr 29th, 2013, 02:45 PM
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The Mosel whites are especially renown for Ice Wine - made only in years when a freeze comes early when and the grapes actually freeze on the wine - this is a sweet desert wine and again only produced in spradic years when a freeze comes - too sweet for some but a vaunted wine produced obviously in limited numbers.
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Apr 29th, 2013, 03:03 PM
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Hm, did not mention that Federweisser and Roter Rauscher are not sparkling wines so much as just new wine that is starting to ferment. They're actually quite cloudy but don't let that put you off!

Lavandula
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Apr 30th, 2013, 08:30 AM
  #17
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I can't wait to go home from work today and look up the links and map out my journey. Your help has been extraordinary.
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Apr 30th, 2013, 08:36 AM
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You can always taste and spit in the provided bucket to avoid going over the alcohol limit.
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Apr 30th, 2013, 10:17 AM
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Talking about biking - I have biked up and down the Mosel many times and would give one tip - go with the wind as this deep sinuous Mosel Valley can always be a wind tunnel - with wind usually blowing down the valley. Plan accordingly.
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