Saturday, December 19, 2015

Wine Tasting in Alsace

First, let me just say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my brother Ben! He's 18 today and probably more mature than my 27 year old self.  He's one of the coolest guys I know and he makes me extremely proud to be his sister every day.  He's definitely not one who likes to be the center of attention, but he deserves to be in the limelight for a day because he's pretty incredible.  Happy birthday, Benj! I love you and miss you!  Have a great day!

Thanks to We Are the Mitchells for a great photo of Ben and I

Mike likes to say that three of the most important women have birthdays three days in a row.  His sister, Kelly's is December 12th, Taylor Swift's is December 13th, and mine is December 14th. Saturday was the beginning of the birthday stretch and we celebrated Kelly's birthday (and mine a little early) with a full day of wine tasting!  

The Alsace region of France is known for their white wines, more specifically their Rieslings, which was completely fine with me.  I love a good, refreshing glass of white wine. Kelly did a great job of planning our day of wine tasting ahead of time and had three wineries for us to stop at throughout the day, as well as a map of how to get from place to place.  Love it! The wineries are about an hour outside of the city and we had our first tasting at 10:00, so we were up and out the door bright and early. 

Not a bad driving view, right?

Our first stop was the Domaine Bott-Geyl Winery, which was tucked away in the middle of a cute little neighborhood.  

We were greeted by a young woman who spoke great English.  We started out with Rieslings.  We tried four different Rieslings, which was really interesting.  Most of the wineries we've been to elsewhere have one bottle of each type, so you try a riesling, a cabernet sauvignon, etc.  Here, we were able to try four different rieslings, which allowed us to compare them, which was really cool and interesting. Sean was driving, but he still tasted most of the glasses before dumping them in the provided bucket.

We all really enjoyed their wines and both couples walked away with a bottle.  We set out for the second winery and passed by good old Lady Liberty. 

The second winery Kelly had planned for us was Dopff et Irioin and only about 5 minutes away.   Unfortunately, when we got close, we hit a TON of traffic, which was weird because it was in a tiny little French town.  What we didn't realize ahead of time was that there was a Christmas market in this town and people took buses and tours of the market.  This made finding parking impossible and we finally gave up our hopes of making it to the second winery.  Instead, we decided to head straight to Colmar, a town nearby, where we had planned to have lunch. 

Just like Strasbourg, there was a huge Christmas market there and tons of tourists.  We walked around the Christmas markets and grabbed pretzels and sausages for lunch, as well as some mulled wine and beer.  Colmar was super cute and a great little town in the middle of France.  I didn't think the Christmas market was quite as good as the ones in Strasbourg, but definitely worth the visit if you can make it work.

 After a few hours in Colmar, we headed to the last winery of the day, which was Domaine Paul Blanck.  We were greeted by a man in his 50s who was a self-proclaimed teddy bear.  He was so friendly and French and we spent the next couple of hours talking with him about wine, Turkey and everything in between.  He was a little sick with a cold, so when he would smell a bottle of wine to make sure it was still good, he would always scoff and say "My nose just isn't quite right" and then take the bottle to his father who also worked at the winery to see if it was still good.  It was wonderful!  The wine was also delicious and Mike and I walked away with a few bottles!

Overall, it was a great day of wine tasting and exploring.  I fell in love with the Alsace region of France.  It's geography is beautiful and the wine is delicious.  Plus, they really know how to do Christmas.  It was a great weekend in France! We had so much time exploring with Kelly and Sean and doing some wine tasting.  We ended our trip with a night at a wine bar with some cheese and charcutterie, which was the perfect way to end our time in France. 

For my birthday, Kelly gave me this book of 52 different wine trips to do.  Looks like we have a few new trips to plan!  Thanks Kelly!