We are on our way back to Calais after a six night stay in Selestat. the villages we visited Riqhwihr, Kayersbourg, Bergheim, are where I imagine the artists at disney visited before working on Beauty and the Beast. I haven't ever come across such well kept medieval towns- not a lick of graffitti, yet still very much living towns, none of the saccharine perfection of the renditions of old Europe at Disney World.
We visited Freiburg on the other side of the Rhine on Wed, but it rained that day and I was grumpy, so we didn't stay long. It did have two yarn shops- but with really commercial yarns – nothing that jumped out and shrieked BUY ME I'M ROCK 'N ROLL! Incidentally, what's happening at the wollmeise? All her stuff is on clearance?
The food is rather better suited for winter (choucroute, cream, big hunks of meat) but delicious nonetheless. I will have to start a gym regime as a consequence of the week's indulgences.
We visited three vignerons, the amazing Marcel Deiss, Domaine Engel and of course Trimbach. Alsace is famous for its wines- mostly dry Rieslings and Gewurztraminer, but it also produces yummy Sylvaner, pinot gris and pinot noir (surprisingly good!). Before the prussian invasion, alsatian wines were more reknown and sought after than even some top name bordeaux!
Perhaps mistakenly we went to Marcel Deiss first. He has some basic single varietals, but his single vineyard wines, a blend of regional grapes- are beautifully complex and he is rightly reknown for these. The young chap working there was a little sullen to begin with, but he warmed up and recommended a cool bierstub in one of the nearby villages. A little bit goth but they had a fab selection of beer and were playing the chilli peppers. Good stuff. The wine was fabulous- interesting, with layers of flavour and a crazy long finish. These are created as expressions of terroir, and have can be kept for decades.
We went to domaine Engel next, and whilst the wines were good examples they tasted flat in comparison. We did get a few bottles of the sweet gewurz from engel and their pinot gris-easy every day drinking wine.
Finally we made it to Trimbach. The trimbach family started their winery in 1626, and achieved nationwide recognition when they brought home an award for wine excellence in 1689. Successive generations of Trimbachs have continued the tradition of super dry accurate rieslings. Bit too austere for me, but we did get some pinot gris which was softer and easier to drink, and some lovely dry gewurz. I love those kinds of wines- ones that smell unctuous, honeyed, and feel the same in your mouth, yet are dry. The lady at the winery was a little.. Well robotic. Not quite rude, but def not very friendly either. Didn't keep us from buying wine though. We had a frederic emile riesling 2000 (the better stuff) for dinner last night- and this was gorgeous. Dry. Puckeringly acidic, yet full of honeyed goodness. Really moreish.
We also got some wines from a local wine shop. I intended to get some Jacky Blot's domaine de la taille aux loup chenin blanc – he makes these gorgeous chenin blancs that smell and taste of linden flowers, quince, honey, and are totally dry, but they didn't have them. They did have some Huet vouvray- which got a 19.5 out of 20 by the recently published 2008 edition of Bettane and someone- the best tasters in france, according to the wine shop chap. We got two cases of it- good too since all the cases he had in the shop (about thirty) that morning were all sold, bar three bottles, by the time we returned that afternoon to pick up our wine!
Photo is of the inside of a winestub in Kayersbourg. Wouldn't it be great to have a local like this?