Discovering Luxembourg wine country

It was the day of wines – bubbly wines, white wines, pink wines and even red wines. The Moselle wine area of Luxembourg is a gem and one I didn’t even know existed.

We started off the day at Wormeldange cellars of the Domaines De Vinsmoselle, united winegrowers since 1921. They make a fabulous series of cremants – sparkling wines that we would call champagne if they actually hailed from the Champagne region. But they don’t so we don’t. By 11:30, we’d had an excellent tour, sampled four of their lovely vintages and were ready to head on to our next stop.

This was a luncheon boat cruise on the river Moselle that started off with sparkling wine…which kept flowing while the captain and crew sorted out some engine problems that made boat wander a bit aimlessly back and forth on the river for a while. Eventually, this was resolved and lunch was served with yet more wine. Our meal time conversation was a lively mix of German, French and English – a product of the unique linguistic medley of this small country sandwiched between Germany, France and Belgium.

Our cruise took us to the small town of Schengen, where a historic treaty was signed in 1985 that allowed citizens of the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg), France and Germany freely cross each other’s borders without having to stop and show papers each time. Eventually other EU nations also signed on to this treaty, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

Our next stop after lunch was, yes, another winery, this time at Wellenstein. A climb up a crazy steep hill of vines just to see what was on the other side (more vines…AND a road that meant we likely didn’t have to actually climb to get there), a tour of funky cellars and state of the art wine making facilities was topped off by a tasting of four lovely white wines and a free bottle of sparkly wine generously gifted to each of us by our Luxembourg hosts.

Our last stop before dinner was at the farm of the president of the Luxembourg Limousin Breeders’ Association. More on this in a later post – some fascinating stuff – but believe it or not, there was yet more wine to be had!

Our evening ended with a dinner where we were expecting the Luxembourg Minister of Agriculture to join us, but he unfortunately had to cancel at the last minute. We still had a lovely meal (yes, more wine!) and I got a little carried away photographing some of the courses as they were put in front of me…

Note: My participation in IFAJ 2010 is partially supported by the IFAJ Alltech Young Leaders Award.

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