Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Alsace Wine Route

 Wow, this seems like forever ago with all that’s been going on lately. Just a quick relapse for ya. After night of surviving the forest, we headed east to the Alsace Wine Route that stretches from Marlenheim near Strasbourg to Thann near Mulhouse. This 170km of windy roads and roundabouts are pure heaven for any wine lover as it’s packed with gorgeous countryside, vineyards, wineries, tasting cavs, and medieval villages…all sandwiched between the Vosges mountains and the Rhine. It is definitely recommended to have your own car for this kind of trip. The interesting part was the tasting aspect. Some of these ‘Cavs’ or tasting rooms were classy established places while others were in some guy’s basement. A few times we turned around and got right back in our car because it literally seemed we were supposed to ring some guys doorbell and go in and sit with grandma in their living room. We had no idea how this all worked. So yes, there are literally 100s of places along the road you can stop and have a free taste or ten. The portions that were given also caught us by surprise, for some places were giving us half glasses for each taste. So unlike our Michigan bus tour where the sommeliers are just plain stingy. Can’t blame them, I guess, when they have huge busloads all coming in at once. Noticing this, we decided it best to at least buy one bottle wherever we stopped, which actually to our surprise, didn’t really break the bank. Of course, you could buy super fancy stuff, but they also had typical wines that were affordable and probably tasted just as good as anything fancy. Very comparable to Trader Joe’s, we’ll say. The best part, though, was the ability to be able to practice some French. A lot of the people serving us didn’t speak English in the first place, so it was great to learn some new vocab and gain a bit more confidence for the next place we stopped. No one ever looked annoyed with us, and usually helped us stumble through a description of what we wanted to taste. I told Adam that this was how they needed to teach French classes; learn a few words, then go out, taste some wines, loosen us, and use that vocab!

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