James in Germany – Rhineland Palatine

Rhineland Palatine is a beautiful part of Germany where the river Rhine meanders through the countryside, and where one finds beautiful Schloss’ (castles) in the famous Rheingau area, home to the delicious Riesling wine.


Founded as a Benedictine Monastery in 1716 Schloss Johannisberg is arguably the home of Riesling as they can prove grape growing on the site back to AD817.  All of this aside the sheer beauty of the area, high on a hill above the town of Rudesheim looking over the Rhine with vineyards as far as the eye can see over the hills.  The Rhine is extremely wide at this point and like the other German rivers is a great way to transport goods throughout the country.  It’s not uncommon to see large barges piled high with containers chugging along.

I’m finding mornings tough in Germany, rye bread is playing havoc with my personal constitution, but I’m beginning to love the sour flavours in it from the starter culture.  Today when shopping in EDEKA  I realised just how many different types of rye bread there actually are.

Back to the Reisling, this (September) is a great time of year to be in the Rheingau as its harvest time for the grapes.  Each Schloss not only labels the Schloss on the wine label, but also the name of the field the grapes grew in.  Each in-turn having a different flavour.  As you drive into the region one can still see the old weighing stations for cars before and after buying wine for the German tax collection.  Try before you buy in the Schloss is available and I found a great bottle or two at a fraction of the price I would pay in the shops in the UK.  Germany does produce some great wines and you can buy them fresh (before fermenting, but very sweet), once fermented (again too sweet) and then the correct bottled wine.

Tonight my local speciality was in the beautiful town of Rudesheim where I had my first Rudesheim coffee.  Sort of like an Irish Coffee but made with brandy.  This is powerful stuff!  The brandy was mixed with the sugar and flambeed to caramelise the sugar, then the coffee added and a dollop of cream on top.


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