The Wine Road and it's fruitage
What she thought
I love German wine. It's my favorite. Viticulture in this region dates back to ancient Roman times. German wines were acclaimed for years but like so many things German, they lost their reputation for a bit. Now, though, award winning German wines are acclaimed the world over. Sadly, most of Germany's best wines are not exported to America and so most Americans judge their German wine experience by cheap, low quality blended wines. To experience the best Germany has to offer, take a trip up (or down) the Weinstraße. The Wine Road is located in the Pfalz or Palatinate wine region, the second largest wine region in Germany. One out of every three bottles of wine produced in Germany comes from this region. Here, Riesling is king. It is the world's largest Riesling area.
We visited the northern part of this area, the Mittelhaardt. Wine-growing began more than 2,000 years ago in this region. They boast the villa rustica, a Roman farming estate and a Roman wine press. Wine festivals occur almost every weekend in this region between March and November so do a little research before traveling so you can attend one. Also, if you haven't had your fill of castles yet (how could that ever happen??), check out some in this region. We visited the village of Frankenstein and it's castle ruin, located about 15 minutes west of Bad Dürkheim. This castle had none of the "fanciness" of Neuschwanstein or Hohenzollern but every bit of the character. There's something to be said for walking through the shell of a castle and letting your imagination fill in the emptiness..... We only had a couple of days on the wine road. You could easily spend a week here, if not a lifetime. Plan accordingly so you have time to reap the fruitage that the Wine Road has to share with you.
What he thought
If I were to list occupations for which people who pursue them seem truly happy, vintner would be right at the top. If, in my desire to live in Germany, I also desired to settle down in an occupation, I would most want to do it on a vineyard. Alas, my desire to see it all wouldn't afford me the time necessary to sufficiently love the vines and furthermore, mastering the art seems to require a lifetime (or more) of getting to know your terroire and the nature of your grapes. So, sad as it is, I will have to settle for drinking the holy nectar produced by these glorious masters of the field. Poor me.
The visual aesthetic of a mature vineyard is something to behold. When the air is cool and humid, there is a rain-storm brewing on the horizon and the gentle Frühlingswind streichelt dein Gesicht... Sorry, carried away for a moment. The breeze feels just so as you are standing before Riesling fields that stretch into the horizon, there's just nothing so spiritual and touching as the experience.
The Weinstrasse facilitates this experience along with countless stops you must make at local Weingüter (wineries) who are more than happy to let you sample their masterpieces. The French may be famous for wine but it is a particularly well-kept secret that the Germans are, dare I say it, even better!
Blind taste tests have indicated that California wines are often preferred to French wines. Germany isn't sufficiently recognized as a wine-producer to be included in such comparisons. Or perhaps, the individuals who perform such a test are too worried about what the results might be.