Apr. 20th, 2017

shewhomust: (bibendum)
We are in Aachen, and I am reunited with my keyboard, since our hotel room here has a convenient spot for me to sit and type. So that's good. It's quite a splendid room, with lots of space and a huge window leading onto a balcony. In other respects our arrival in Aachen has been complicated, and I'm not ready to post about that yet. Fortunately, there's plenty to catch up with! So here's how we spent yesterday evening:

Roger had found a tour advertised on the Tourist Office website, offering a combination of tour of the city in a vintage bus, and wine tasting at the winery in the neighbouring village - so that, give or take, is what we did. Let me clear up the 'take' aspect of that first, because all my criticisms are to do with the mismatch between the advance information and what actually happened: the package itself was fine. The vintage coach is a lovely creature (you can smell her coming from several yards away, but that's only to be expected) but a city tour ought to mean more than passing the several impressive landmarks along the route between the Porta Nigra and the winery in Olewig. This was fine by us, as we had by this time visited all the promised sights already, and were more disappointed not to return via the viewpoint on the Petrisberg above the vineyards. Well, it would have been dark anyway... And I wish they had told us that there was a restaurant at the winery, and we would be able to eat there while we tasted the wines (the restaurant actually appears elsewhere on the Tourist Office website, but isn't mentioned in this context). We vhad discussed this, and eaten a late lunch at the museum, rather than risk a wine tasting while fasting, which in hindsight was a wasted opportunity.

Weingut Georg Fritz von Nell

Other than that, though, it was great fun. The winery was founded in 1804, and our guide was the eighth generation to run it and make the wine. He gave a great performance in explaining how he does this, and since we were the only non-Germans in a group of about a dozen, a lot of this was completely lost on me. When he slowed down to explain something to the five year old in the group, I was in with a chance, but most of the time I was lucky to catch one word in three or four, which was exhilarating but bewildering: wait, what was that about the full moon? He took care to check at the end of each stage that we were to some extent following, and I learned some things I hadn't known before (sweet wines are made by stopping the fermentation, and this is done by filtering out the yeast). One thing I loved was that apparently Moselle wines must spend some time in barrels, and when I asked whether he used French oak, or American, he looked very pleased with himself, and said, "Own oak!" One of the advantages of a firm founded in 1804 is that you can source your barrels from your own oak forest.

One other way in which the advance publicity erred is that we were promised a tasting of four wines, and in the event we tasted six. They were: behind a cut to spare the uninterested )

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