Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Paris to Swiss Alps: Senheim Wine Tasting (3/29/2017)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
The Viking Hild cast off at 7:00, to sail along what is claimed to be the best part of the Moselle Valley, between Bernkastel and Cochem. Keeping our fingers crossed that this gorgeous weather holds!
During the cruise this morning, it was Open Wheelhouse time for those who wanted to stop in to see the Captain at work.
The twists and turns of the Moselle River were very evident while sitting on the sun deck. One minute the sun was on your right side, and the next it was on your left!
Town of Kröv backed by vineyards
Town of Reil
Railroad viaduct leading to a tunnel,
across the Moselle River from Pünderich
Oh! A commuter train running through the vineyards
Terraced vineyards
Lunch: In addition to the buffet items, including Fettuccini Alfredo with turkey breast, ruccola, and parmesan cheese, we tried the Corn Chowder, which was a cream of corn soup.
Approaching Beilstein with the
Burg/Castle Metternich (1129, fell 1689, "restored" 1868) 
Hmm, the barges were so long and so close to us that it was hard to
get the whole boat into one photo! There were "wet" barges to
carry liquid cargos (usually oil or gasoline), and "dry" barges
designed to carry freight such as coal, finished steel or
its ingredients, grain, sand or gravel, or similar materials
(many seemed to carry metal scraps to be recycled)
The barge captain and his family lived on the barge, and the spouse was usually also a captain to keep the boat running 24/7. There was always a small car or two parked at the back of the barge, with a crane to unload the car when needed for shopping and catching up to the barge at the next town.
The ferry at Ellenz-Polterdorf (to Beilstein)
We disembarked at Beilstein and took motor coaches back upriver to the town of Senheim. A short walk brought us to the Weinmuseum/Wine Museum Schlagkamp-Desoye, located in a former festival hall (1923).
Weingut/Winery Schlagkamp
A wine press
Our group filled the tables in the hall filled with thousands of
implements used in cultivating grapes and making of wine, and barrels;
on the right side of the "stage" is the "Venus Mosellana"
Venus Mosellana "is a sculpture from Mosel oak crafted by Hans-Günther Obermaier of Hauroth. Legend holds that the original oak tree was planted in 1492, was felled in 1800 and served as a ceiling beam in a house. When the house was renovated, the beam was uncovered and came into the possession of the artist. He delivered the sculpture to Dieter Schlagkamp in 2002, at the festive commemoration of the estate's 400th year."
Andreas Schlagkamp was an enthusiastic and entertaining host,
and he made sure we learned 1) the proper toast with wine is "Prosit!"
not the slangier "Prost!" used by beer drinkers, and 2) when in a
restaurant to eat, always order wine, never beer!
We also learned the secret of the success of vineyards in the Moselle Valley: slate. The soil is dominated by porous slate, which provides drainage for the region's heavy rainfall and good heat retention properties. The thin topsoil over slate and shale forces the grapevine's roots deep into the ground (up to 30') in search for nutrients, producing wines with a high mineral content.
Wine Museum stained glass window (KSS)
We first tasted a bubbly Riesling Secco, then a dry Riesling Classic, followed by a local specialty, a Roter Weinbergpfirsich Likör/Red Wine Peach Liqueur, made with the sour little red peaches that grow in the vineyards. So all those pink-blossomed trees we were seeing were actually peach trees!
Vineyard peach trees in blossom
The motor coaches took us downriver along the right bank, then across a bridge into Cochem.

Next: Cochem.

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