Sunday, June 01, 2014

Reisling Tasting in the Moselle Valley

Supposedly we were to scale back on all European travels for the remainder of the year, but I couldn't refuse the £40 RT per person tickets to Frankfurt Hahn, albeit on RyanAir {{shudder}} over the late May bank holiday. I must say, however,  RyanAir were surprisingly pleasant and allowed 1 luggage AND 1 personal bag. 

We got the idea for a relaxing weekend getaway to Moselle Valley, the Rhine River's low-key younger sister, from another couple friend who we travelled to Iceland with last August. Known for its lovely Rieslings and fairytale castles, the Moselle Valley is as picturesque as can be with steep vineyards, charming hamlets, and a 545 km ribbon-like river. 

Using the quaint cobble-stone town of Cochem as our base, on Saturday we took a leisurely drive up to Burg Eltz, a medieval castle perched on a hill about 30 minutes outside of Cochem. Dreamy and one of the most well-preserved German castles we've seen, although we have yet to see the famous Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria, Burg Eltz makes for a great half-day trip. 

Back in Cochem, we spent the rest of the afternoon wine-tasting and exploring the medieval town centre. Unlike Napa/Sonoma where you drive to vineyard to vineyard, here in Moselle, all the tasting rooms are along the riverside promenade or hidden in narrow alleyways. My favourite winery was Knolls for their dry and crisp Reislings. 

The next day we rented bicycles and did a 60 km bike ride along the Moselle River from Cochem to the Saint Aldegund. It was a glorious day with perfect riding conditions, beautiful scenery, and easy flat terrain. On our bike ride back, we stopped off at Beilstein, a postcard perfect town often used as a film backdrop, for some wine-tasting in a cave tavern and ice cream. 

On our last day, we hiked up to the hilltop castle above Cochem for wonderful views of the town before driving back to the airport. The castle was reconstructed so it lacks the authenticity of Burg Eltz. A lovely bank holiday weekend of sipping Reisling, hiking, and cycling. 

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