We left Strasbourg to drive along the famous Route du Vin (The Wine Road) to Colmar. In Alsace the villages and towns are beautiful and the monuments are rich in history. As we pass through the Rhine River Valley the vineyards are well kept, the vines all pruned taking their winter rest. I am awed seeing the blue silhouettes of the Vosges Mountains on my right.
Whether on the sides of the Vosges or on the lowlands of the plain, the Alsatian countryside is inviting. Story book villages, church steeples and vineyards spreading far and wide along the Wine Road. The sun is shining, but the air was cold and crisp.
We arrived at Eguisheim, the birthplace of wine growing in Alsace. We pulled into the courtyard of Leon Beyer's Winery. Mr. Leon Beyer and his son, Marc were there to greet us. The Beyer family have been winegrowers from farther to son since 1580. In 1867 Emily Beyer founded the Alsace wine company which today is directed by Leon Beyer, who succeeded his father, Leon Beyer in 1959, and who is in turn seconded by his son, Marc.
We enjoyed a tasting running the gamut of Alsace wines from Sylvaner and Pinot Blanc to the most prestigious Riesling, Tokay Pinot Gris and Gewurztraminer. There wines whose label is world-renowned include special selections such as Riesling les ecaillers and Gewurztraminer Cuvee des Comtes d'Eguisheim as well as Cuvees Particulieres and the rare Vendages Tardives and exceptional Selections de Grains Nobles late-picked wines.
The Leon Beyer estates, situated on the finest vineyard slopes of Eguisheim and nearby, produce the prestigious Alsace wines which have established the worldwide reputation and brand image on the wine-lists of practically all the greatest restaurants in France, Europe and even the world.
After our visit with Leon and Marc we continued on our trip. On the Wine Road between Colmar and Guebwiller is the Chateau D"Isenbourg. High on the side of a hill the Chateau towers over the old city of Rouffach. This was our home for the Christmas Holiday I had always dreamed of.
Situated in remarkable surroundings the Chateau owes its history to a charming and varied architecture. There are drawing rooms and bedrooms with painted ceilings; 12th century vaulted cellars; an interesting turret as well as terraces from which you can see theVosges, the Alsace Plain and the Black Forest.
In addition to the 40 elegant bedrooms, decorated in various styles, there are two striking dining rooms, one of which looks out over the tiled roofs of the old town. The wine cellar is a real gem. You eat well in Alsace: the local fare is roast goose, frog soup, pike from the River Rhine, pork and wild game.
It is interesting that the Wine Road is only 75 miles long and has 37 stars in the Guide Michelin. There is a greater concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else.
If you haven't visited Alsace you have a treat coming. So far I would say this was my favorite trip to France. All the locals are friendly and anxious to make your journey enjoyable.
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