26 Jun 2013

Day 4: Ammerschwihr

Today was meant to a lazy day and we finally dragged our lazy arses out of our beds at noon. Despite the open window I slept through all the crashing and banging going on outside as part of the day to day running of the winery.

We were treated to homemade choucroute garnie courtesy of Laure's mum—this is a regional specialty of the Alsace which consists of meats/sausages cooked in sauerkraut. It's like the German version with a French twist. A lot of the food in the region combines German and French cuisine and cooking techniques which is just fine with me!

Pinot the other winery cat has a lie-down on the balcony ledge—he certainly had a lot of 'personality', grumpy face says it all.

After lunch we went off on the bike (much lighter without the panniers) to explore some of the local villages and forest roads. In Riquewihr we came across a very confident stork who was perfectly happy to pose for the camera.

Not bothered.

Most of the roads going up into the mountains are single track, making it tight for even a bike to pass an oncoming car. They tend to be rather unforgiving since the only exit if things go horribly wrong is into the trees, not ideal.

Made it up in one piece, although it was a shame the dirt/gravel forestry roads were closed to the public.

Coming down a particularly narrow lane the view was breathtaking in a way that just doesn't translate in photos.

Indeed, a bench had been installed just in case someone wanted to stop to enjoy the view.

After several hours we returned to the winery for a tour of the cellars.

Barrels are all 100+ years old.

Crystalised acids from the grapes which are in demand by pharmaceutical companies.

From a time where form and function played equal parts.

7,000 litres of grog.

Looking toward the tasting room.

How they used to press the grapes.

Quirky plant arrangement.

We had a final wine tasting to try Gewürztraminer speciality wines which are only made every 10 years or so. The late season grapes are hand picked when the sugar content is at the highest and only a few hundred bottles are made. These are very special wines indeed and taste like nothing else, like a liquid fruit basket. I still can't comprehend how a few grapes can end up tasting like a basket of fruit.

Comfortably numb we set off for bed.

Alps 2013 quick links

Day 1: London to Lille
Day 2: Lille to Hagondange
Day 3: Slow road to Ammerschwihr
Day 4: Ammerschwihr
Day 5: Ammerschwihr to Thônes
Day 6: Thônes to.... Thônes
Day 7: Thônes to Ruèras
Day 8: Ruèras to Flachau
Day 9: Flachau
Day 10: Flachau to Wemding
Day 11: Wemding to Urberach
Day 12: Urberach to Antwerp
Day 13: Antwerp to London

The gear and how it held up
The trip in hindsight