The Magical Mosel

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Breathtaking. Just out of a postcard. This would summarize the quaint little town of Bernkastel in Germany. Situated on the gentle Mosel River, Bernkastel is best known for some of Europe’s finest vineyards (best in the world in my opinion) most notably Bernkasteler Doctor, Dr Thanisch , J.J Prum, Willi Schaefer, Selback-Oster, Scloss Leiser….

         

Riesling, the noble grape, lines the steep hilly slopes along the Mosel. The view from the  ruins of the castle above Bernkastel  is that of a yellow green wall of vines. There’s no doubt that the Riesling is at its best in the Mosel….

There’s something about the slate in the soil along the slopes that impart a unique “Minerally” “Stony” character to the wines. 

 Pale with just a hint of green, a Riesling is known to have aromas of lime & petrol. Take a sip & feel the initial sharpness countered almost immediately with sweetness & hold on…finished off with a crispiness. This is exactly what the finest winemakers in the region strive to achieve- finding the right balance of sugar & acid.

 “The greatest of them, long lived, pale gold, piquant, frivolous yet profound,are wines that beg to be compared with music & poetry”- Jancis Robinson

A good Riesling is your summertime best friend & goes with almost any cuisine. NOTE: is excellent when paired with our Indian curries!!

Visitors to the main town of Bernkastel are greeted by the spectacular sight of the steep golden hued vineyards surrounding the town square(The picture above was taken from the street in which our B&B was located) Take a short stroll down to the Rieslinghaus to sample the famous wines of Bernkastel. Head down to the banks of the Mosel River and visit the Vinotheque or Bernkastel Wine Museum- an exhaustive source of information on the wines of this region. If you are feeling slightly wined out then relax in one of the many restaurants lined up on the river. 

 

 

A must try includes the FLAMMKUCHEN, the German version of a thin crust pizza only far more crispier. A typical Flammkuchen  consists of sour cream or Gruyere cheese with ham & onions. Delicious when eaten anytime of the day & washed down with a chilled Riesling or Beer

The town of Bernkastel though popular among the domestic German tourists, is relatively free of all the tourist trappings prevalent in Italy and France. We got the rather surprised & amused Mr & Mrs Dillinger to show us their modest, rustic winery(Here’s a picture of the lovely couple) We were extremely lucky to visit at a time when harvesting or picking of grapes had just begun

All in all I would recommend visiting the lovely town of Bernkastel if you wish to move away from the touristy travel route in Germany- the steely Riesling, heartwarming food & warmth and hospitality of the towns folk will charm you over. There are many walks all around town taking you through the scenic and legendary vineyards & castle, do bear in mind that the walk uphill can be slightly challenging but you will be rewarded with excellent views 🙂
HOW TO GET THERE:
High speed trains from Frankfurt to the Rhine valley on an hourly basis. We took the Frankfurt-Rudesheim-Cochem route, spending two nights in each town. From Cochem we took the train to Wittlich( every hour), outside Wittlich train station is a bus stop where buses to Kues( just across the river from Bernkastel) operate on an hourly basis, the bus ride not lasting more than 20-25 minutes. Worth the extra effort!
RIESLING IN INDIA:
Unfortunately given the archaic laws that govern import of anything related to liquor, we don’t find too many interesting wines let alone Rieslings from the Mosel region. We can take consolation from the fact that Sula makes a fairly decent Riesling which is now available in most liquor stores in the country.
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