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We departed Amsterdam and cruised through the night with our group enjoying the Chef’s Table dinner on the AmaWaterways AmaCerto

What is a visit to the Netherlands without seeing a windmill?
The perfectly manicured banks of the Rhine River
in the Netherlands
and the next day, after spending a few morning hours in Cologne, Germany

Cologne Cathedral
and purchasing some Farina cologne after visiting the famous cathedral, we sailed to Koblenz, Germany just in time for a for a short evening walking tour (and where I wish we could have spent a bit more time).

The former Jewish Library where the books
were removed and burned in the adjoining
square during Kristallnacht
So it was time for the first Goldring Travel Food & Wine EventA wine tasting at George Breuer, one of the preeminent Riesling winemakers in the world.  (Wine Spectator rarely rates its wines below a 92 and regularly places them in the 97-99 range.)

As with most of the towns we are visiting, Rudesheim, Germany is a small walkable town.  We strolled down the edge of the Rhine River and eventually found our way to a rather nondescript building with a small wine shop. 

We were then ushered out the back into an ancient courtyard and down some very cool blue lit metal stairs into a beautiful cellar for our tasting of eight Rieslings and one Pinot Noir.

I pause to point out that German Rieslings are some of the most underappreciated wines by North Americans.  North American Rieslings from Washington, Oregon and California are generally quite sweet with a high sugar content and low acidity.  That has very little in common with most German Rieslings.  In fact, the wines we tasted simply are not available in the United States…making our tasting even more special…and had a wide range of styles.

Magdalena, 0ur charming and very intelligent guide for
our suburb Georg Breuer Riesling wine tasting
Our “wine master” was Magdalena, a charming, sweet and impressively intelligent young woman who truly knows wines and how to explain them to both the expert and the novice.  She was, without a doubt, the best the Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruises has ever had…and it made the entire experience just that much better.

When I arranged the tasting the list was as follows:

  • Rüdesheim Estate
  • Terra Montosa
  • 2 Vintages Berg Roseneck
  • Nonnenberg
  • Pinot Noir
  • Auslese Goldkapsel
But somehow the list improved and expanded.  Hey, things happen at a Goldring Travel Food & Wine Event! 

As we tasted the wines we discussed everything from the differences in the harvesting on steep slopes versus relatively flat land, when to harvest for different styles of Riesling based wines,  whether to use cover crops (Georg Breuer merely trims back whatever grows between the trellised vines), hand harvesting versus machine (never done by Georg Breuer) and so much more. 

But the majority of the talk, both during and after, was the tremendous difference in tastes and styles created from this one grape and how much the flavor and composition can change from year to year.  Unlike many of the blended wines of France, such as Bordeaux, there is no particular “style” that the winemaker follows, but rather the winemaker follows the grape resulting from dry and sunny conditions or cloudy or rain just before harvest or if there is any noble rot, etc. As a result, one can pretty much be assured that a 2012 and a 2011 Riesling will be different.

There was only one problem:  The AmaCerto was departing in 15 minutes and our wine tasting wasn’t really finished.  We were enjoying ourselves, the wine and our tasting experience too much.  But we did make just enough time to buy a few bottles for our cruise, the Food & Wine Tasting we will have onboard the AmaCerto and maybe, with a little restraint, to take home!

The beauty of this tasting (other than the wines, of course) is that it stands uniquely by itself, as do the other wine tastings organized by Goldring Travel at Chateau Margaux, Chateau Lynch-Bages and others.

Still to be held on this cruise are two more major events:  A Beer Tour and Tasting in Bamburg, Germany and a Tokaji Tasting in Budapest, Hungary. And, of course is the rest of the river cruise on the AmaWaterways AmaCerto!

If you are interested in the 2015 Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise through the Norwegian fjords on the Seabourn Quest departing June 13, 2015, call me at (877) 2GO-LUXURY or email me at eric@goldringtravel.com


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