Saturday, September 17, 2011

Vin Mosel

Ever since my first visit to the Sonoma Valley, I have always wanted to live in the wine country. I was smitten at first sight by the rolling hills, sun-drenched valleys, and (of course) the wine! Life seems to move a little slower and is enjoyed just a little more when you can take the time to relax, have a picnic, and learn a little about what all those lovely little grapes can produce.

Bernkastel-Kues, Germany
When it came to moving to Luxembourg, one of the selling points for this venture was hearing about the Moselle (or Mosel) Valley. Any restaurant, grocery store or gas station you venture into here in Lux will have an amazing selection of wine and beer. I'm not much of a beer drinker, so the appeal of German and Belgian beer alludes me. BUT, I love having a glass of wine with dinner. Or just to chill out after a stressful day. Okay, I enjoy a glass of wine just about anytime, so the impressive selection caught my eye. Being such a tiny country, and so close to France, I was surprised by the number of vintners.

Moselle wines are primarily white and are produced in three countries: Luxembourg, Germany and France.  The region comprises the areas of the countries that run along the Moselle River. During the fall, you can count on there being a wine festival somewhere in these parts any given weekend to November. The festivals are generally three day events beginning with some kind of opening ritual Friday evening, a crowning of the wine queen and her court, a parade, fireworks, and (of course) the wine tastings.  The first wine festival we ventured to was in Greiveldange on the Luxembourg side of the river.  We travelled there with friends, so we had four children in tow with their scooters at hand. It was a lovely afternoon of wine tasting, eating, wine tasting, eating some more, and a little shopping and site seeing along the way.  I honestly believe that we indulged in some of the best waffles I have had!

Buildings and Oompa band -
The following weekend we ventured off again, this time to the German side of the river.  Bernkastel-Kues hosts the largest German wine festival.  Although the wine festival was larger and was somewhat a cross between a wine tasting event and a street fair, the appeal was the quaint town that hosted it.  Nestled in the rolling hills of Germany, Bernkastel-Kues has a city center with cobble stoned streets, crooked Tudor buildings, and the liveliest crowd we had seen!  Turn a corner and you were likely to see an Oompa band in full swing, or pass by vine-walled storefronts selling grapevines, gift baskets, and any other imaginable wine paraphernalia.  We left the town with a 10 lb. apple strudel that would be our breakfast for the next 4-5 days :)

Finally, last weekend, a friend of ours took us to a wine coop near Remish in Luxembourg.  It was a bit dreary of an afternoon, but the view coming over the hills and down into the valley where Remish hugs the river was breathtaking. It was definitely worth the drive in the rain to be able to bring back a couple of cases of wine and a couple of bottles of yummy ice wine.  If you haven't tried ice wine before, I highly recommend it.  The grapes are harvested during the first frost, generally late at night, in order to capture the highest sugar content levels. The result is a sugary, syrupy, carmel-like wine that is divine!

Wine alter at the church in Greiveldange
There are many blogs and websites that provide a ton of information on the Moselle wines, so I will let them provide the details should you be interested in them.  However, I will share one last interesting fact of the area.  Luxembourg does not produce a lot of wine, especially compared to our neighbors, so the majority of it is consumed here.  What little that isn't is exported to Belgium, Germany and France, leaving about 1% or so for others.  Suffice it to say, we have spent some lovely weekends touring the area.  Being wine novices and new to the area, we still have quite a lot to learn about the various wines and vintners.  Tough job, but I think we are willing (and eager) to do so! 

1 comment:

  1. Hi - I am a new follower of your blog. We lived in Europe for a couple of years (Spain) and I always want to visit Luxembourg but it never eventuated...looking forward to following your posts and learning more about life there