July 19, 2012

Alsace - Colmar and the Wine Route

Train Station in Colmar

We went to France for three weeks toward the end of June and during our stay, we took a five day side trip to the Alsace. The highlight of the trip was a one day tour of the wine region, including a private wine tasting/tutorial. We travelled by train from Lille to Strasbourg and then took a connecting train to Colmar. The Colmar train station has two marvelous windows, painted by the artist Jean le Gac. The front window depicts  two damsels in distress, tied to the railroad track, with a man rushing from the train to save them. The back window shows the girls having been happily rescued by the artist.

Evening in Colmar

On the first morning after arriving in Colmar, we were met by our tour guide, Jean Claude. Our fellow passengers in the tour van were two Japanese women from Osaka and an elderly Japanese married couple. Jean Claude, it turned out, could speak perfect English, Japanese, French, Alsatian, and German. When we asked how many other languages he had mastered, he replied with a smile that the number depended on how much sleep he had the night before!

Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg

Our first stop was the Haut Koenigsbourg Castle. Built sometime in the 12th century, it was restored around 1900 by  Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany. The French seized it after World War 1 and have done extensive and ongoing repairs.

Vineyards of Alsace


A Ribeauville restaurant, where we had baeckeoffe - a hotpot of potatoes, lamb, beef, and pork that has been marinated overnight in white wine.

The wine tasting was in Ribeauville, a very picturesque town on the wine route. Jean Claude's father had been a vineyard owner and Jean Claude conducted the wine tasting in the basement of the Dopff and Irion wine merchants and he proved to be a great tudor. We tasted the main wines of the region - Muscat, Riesling, a Riesling Grand Cru, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, a late harvest Gewurztraminer, and Crémant d'Alsace - the French alternative to champagne.

Then on to Riquewihr



Stadtplan Church


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wonderful memories of our visit to the Alsace and the Wine Route....way back in 1995!