(I can't believe I forgot to post about this. Slap my hand and shame on me! Here's a recap of our visit to an epic wine festival held right outside our own front door this past August.)
If you would have told me a year ago that I'd be living in the Riesling capital of the world, I would have laughed at you and asked you to pass me another bottle. Funny how life can surprise you sometimes, because that's exactly where I live now. Right in the heart of Riesling country. And oh my gosh is it awesome.
I love me some wine, as if that wasn't already evident enough in my previous posts. I don't necessarily like to think of myself as a wino...no, no...wine enthusiast is a more fitting title. D and I love visiting wineries, tasting new and inventive wines, and paring them with amazing foods. We are by no means on our way to becoming sommelier's (like at all)...we just know what we like and like what tastes good...to us. Yeah, there are no refined palates here. I don't really care if you are supposed to drink Eiswein as your dessert...I'm gonna drink it with my chocolate soufflé and I'm gonna love it! So there. Oh and can you tell I'm a fan of sweeter white wines? Yeah, D and I both are. Hand me a bottle of Riesling Spätlese and I'm a happy camper. Although, I have noticed over the last few months that I'm starting to enjoy the dryer ones as well. Leave it to German wine country to change my mind. Dry reds...you'll still take some coaxing, but I'm working on it. I'm sure a trip to Italy would help out in that department (hint, hint). But please, I beg of you, don't hand me a bottle of anything aged in oak or with oak essences. If I wanted to have that flavor in my vino, I would go lick a tree. Seriously, no thank you.
With all that being said, you can see why D and I were floored the second we heard there would be a major, I'm talking large and in charge, wine festival literally steps down the street from our new home. Wine in walking distance...SIGN ME UP! It was the infamous Rheingau Region Wine Festival held every summer for 10 straight days in downtown Wiesbaden. 10 days of wine literally right outside my front door. Not to mention it's touted as the "longest wine bar in the world." Um hello...I'd died and gone to wine heaven (Dear Lord, please let there be wine in heaven. I'll bring my own glass!). So, D and made the 5 minute walk down our hill to the grand event. Seconds after seeing the first tent from the road, I realized that this wine festival was going to be unlike any other festival I'd ever attended...and believe me, D and I went to ALOT of them back in Virginia.
So let me break this down for you guys. When attending a German wine festival, you don't just drop $30 on a ticket at the gate, they hand you tasting glass, and shove you into incredibly long lines waiting for a drop of wine to taste. Oh no. You pay to taste the wine by the glass. I'm not talking a little dribble of wine that barely wets your whistle...I'm talking a full glass of wine. It'll cost you anywhere from 2-5 euros depending on what winery and what type of wine you want to try...but it's a full glass. C'MON! Awesome, right? It get's better. Each winery serves their wine in their own specially etched glass (how very European of them) so you know what/who you're drinking the whole time. If you turn the glass back in to the wine tent you bought it from, they'll kindly give you your 2 euro deposit back, making your wine experience dirt cheap. That's how a wine festival should work in my opinion. You may not get to taste every single wine in the festival (if you did, you'd surely be dead...don't try that), but you don't have to wait in a single line for HOURS just to get a sip of some mediocre chardonnay. You do this festival on your time and on your dime. Do just whatever you fancy!
As if a wine festival isn't already cool enough, they had to go and put it right in front of Wiesbaden's beautiful Marktplatz Church. Epic. And, I'm kind of loving the LemeLeme iPhone app. Makes for some pretty cool photos.
Wine and food. I mean, really. Is there any kind of festival better? I think not. This here was a super yummy German version of pizza called Flammkuchen. It's also called a Tarte Flambée in France. There are many different toppings and versions of this pizza, but we opted for the Classic Flammkuchen made with quark (kind of cheese), bacon, crème fraîche, and onions. We also got it "mit Rucola"...with arugula. It was absolutely the perfect addition to our wine. Who can go wrong with cheese, bread, AND bacon? No one. No one can.
Good to the last slice.
Amongst the 100 wine stalls, there were also tons of food tents with plates of delicious meats and cheeses perfect for any wine pairing. And, if you needed that extra carb boost to help you stomach another glass of delicious wine, there were pretzels the size of your face ready to help you do just that.
After glass #2, it was time for more food. Duh. This was a German Gouda sandwich. A little strange considering it was just half a hoagie slathered with butter and topped with arugula, cucumbers, and a crap-ton of Gouda. Thankfully, that cheese was cheese-tastic and worth the 2 euros we paid for it. Can't complain.
Hans Lang...ohhh myyy... I can still taste that delicious Riesling in my mouth now. Crisp, sweet, with a hint of citrus. So refreshing on a warm August day.
This was happy glass number 4. Both of us ended the night with 6 under our belt. Don't worry, we ate ALOT of food for good measure. I'd call that a job well done.
Best part is...we just exited the festival, walked up a hill, and we were back home. Who wants to come visit us now? Huh? Yeah...thought so. Germany is awesome despite it's crazy toilets and recycling habits. Come on over in August and we'll be happy to wine and dine you! I SO cannot wait till next year!