There is a lot of potential here for quick, last minute side trips; we deciced to take advantage of that and the great weather this past weekend. We went with friends to experience the Moselle Wine Festival, which involves several towns along the Moselle River in both Germany and Luxembourg. Though the experience was not precisely what we had expected, we definitely had a great adventure, drank some excellent wine and cremant, and even made some new friends!
Initially, we had been under the impression that the tour was on a boat. We envisioned ourselves on the deck of a fancy yacht or some other type of watercraft, and leisurely exiting at several points along the Moselle to sample wine. We would do this in the late morning and early afternoon and convince ourselves that we were being classy and not just a bunch of drunks. I even included a photo I took of some boats along the river to help build the image of what we expected. Pretty, isn’t it? This isn’t quite what happened, though.
We had intended on boarding a boat in Wasserbillig, but there were no boats or wine festivities in sight. Still wanting to find out where all this wine partying was taking place, we opted to catch a bus back to Remich, which is a small town of about 3000 on the bank of the Moselle. Though we were unable to find a boat at that location either, there was quite a bit of hustle and bustle around their public market–and it did involve wine. We were all slightly grumpy about our boat fantasies being dashed (due to either poor organization on the part of festival organizers, or to our own ineptitude as Americans used to being hit over the head with information), but we enjoyed wine and cremant and decided to have fun for the day right where we were. The tour was out, but a fun day of drinking wine and checking out the scene in the beatiful riverside city of Remich was in. Here are some shots around the festival in Remich.
The whole day turned out to be quite a happy accident, though, as–at one of the wine booths–we met a couple from the UK who had lived in Luxembourg for more than a decade. They both spoke fluent German and French, knew the area and its wineries as well, and offered to show us around a bit. We had a nice late lunch and toured two wineries: Desom and Caves St. Martin.
The Desom winery was a smaller operation specializing in cremant, but the wine and tour was cheap and informative.
The Caves St. Martin was larger and the tour more extensive. The winery has been around since 1919, and the caves which house the wine were carved out between 1919 and 1921. The tour takes you through the caves and explains wine making process, and has a great selection at the end for your sampling pleasure. During my time living in San Francisco, I had toured several wineries in Napa and Sonoma. None of those tours contained the kind of information on winemaking our guide at the cave provided us. Also, Napa and Sonoma wine (though it can be quite good) is often ridiculously overpriced. The Caves had quite a nice selection of delicious wines and cremants, all at reasonable prices. From The Caves:
We bought a case of the Cremant Brut, and have vowed only to break it out on special occasions. We’ll see how long that pledge lasts.