Old world European charm. Serene villages. Steep and narrow landscapes dotted with romantic castles and lovely vineyards. Gentle, winding bike and walking trails. World-class wine. Delectable cuisine. This is the Moselle River valley.
And where I had my first official wine tasting.
A few miles down the road from Cochem is the small town of Poltersdorf, home to Weingut Clemens, a delightful boutique winery that is now run by the fifth generation of Clemens.
A weingut is a winery where the wine is grown, made and bottled right on the premises, and Herr Clemens, the (third generation) owner, loved to show us around, and of course show off his wines, especially their wonderful Rieslings. I still remember going down into the cellar where the big barrels of wine were stored. Always the same cool temperature, no matter what it was outside.
Herr Clemens would syphon small tastings from each barrel , and would sometimes pull out a special bottle or two for all to enjoy. Well, for the adults to enjoy. My consumption was limited considering I was only 11 years old! Needless to say my brother and I learned how to appreciate good wine from an early age!
They now have an official tasting room and guestrooms to stay overnight. It would be fun to go back and visit. Great memories.
Of Germany's 13 wine regions, the Moselle is the largest and the oldest, dating back over 2000 years. The Moselle starts in France and menders to Koblenz, where it flows into the Rhine. "Where Father Rhine and Mother Moselle meet" is known as the Deutsches Eck, or German Corner.
A cruise that includes the Moselle has you enjoying many of the wonderful towns and villages along the river. Trier, which is coincidentally Germany's oldest town, is a treasure chest full of well preserved Roman ruins.
Belstein, the Sleeping Beauty of the Moselle, is called such due to its historically inaccessible and beautiful setting. A small town with 180 residents, you'll find wonderful cobblestone streets, fancy door knockers but no ATM or food shops. About 40 minutes from here is Burg Eltz, a beautiful castle that has stayed in the Eltz family for 8 centuries and miraculously avoided any damage in the wars.
Bernkastel, a lovely, quaint wine village, is filled with 17th century timber framed houses.
And Cochem, surrounded by vineyards and romantic ancient castles.
The Moselle River may not be as popular as the Rhine, but it is equally if not more delightful. I like Rick Steve's description: the Rhine's peaceful little sister. You should check it out.
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