I like wine. Elise however is a true enthusiast. And though we have spent time in the vineyards of France, South Africa, and Baden, we had never been to Germany’s most famous wine region: the Mosel valley. We decided to finally rectify this situation.
We were excited to visit a totally new region of Germany, to which we had never been (or at least that Elise could remember having been to). I had no preconceived notions of what to expect, except for some standout rieslings for which the region is known, and was truly looking forward to experiencing something new. However whenever mentioning our vacation plans to German friends or colleagues (i.e. people more or less our age), they usually just said, “Oh. Really? You’re going there?”
As we drove into the region I was positively awestruck by the amazingly steep valley, meandering river, and endless vineyards in the start of their autumnal glory. It was simply breathtaking. And shortly after settling in to the room we booked for the week at a winemaker in a 600 year old old abbey building, we took part in a sampling in its cellar. After being introduced to a new grape variety hitherto unbeknownst to us (the elbling), I knew that this was the right vacation spot. Going on our first hike the next morning with stunning views over the valley from perilously narrow, winding paths along and through impossibly steep vineyards, we were even more convinced that we had made the right holiday destination choice. But we could not understand why our friends were so ho-hum on the Mosel.
Then we dined out.
Not that the food was bad. Far from it. Like any good wine region, the food was simple, fresh, local, and deliciously well-prepared. It was the fact that when we walked into a restaurant we immediately brought the median age down by twenty years.
The Mosel is the pensioner’s vacation spot. Once we started walking about those beautiful, charming villages and small towns along the river, it became clear that the target demographic is people somewhere comfortably between retirement and the grave. But here’s the thing: it didn’t matter in the least. Not to us anyway. Sure you might be smack in the middle of a restaurant full of septuagenarians ordering from a menu whose contents haven’t changed much since the Adenauer administration, but it was genuine!
Germans our age often look at the Mosel as a relic from their (grand)parents’ generation. And to some extent it is. Much of the aversion to it is likely down to the automatic disdain or at least eschewal by the younger generation of those things associated with the previous. There are some genuine shortcomings as well. But if you can get over persistent seventies decor, a dearth of health spa treatment options, and food presented without gratuitous use of squeeze bottles, you find a destination with simple, good food, great wines, a wealth of cultural history, and staggering natural beauty.
We can’t wait to go back. And take my parents.
I want to go to the Mosel valley! Sounds like the perfect short holiday destination!
Beautiful photos! Looks like you guys (and Heidi) had another awesome trip!! No Moseltalbruecke??