My first view of Germany is that of the stunningly steep, cliff-side vineyards lining the Mosel River. Some 5,000 winemakers take advantage of the ideal sun exposure and intensified heat provided by the cliffs and the water’s reflection. These beautiful, unique vineyards characterize the Mosel region and boast world renowned grapes.
The Riesling wines cultivated along the Mosel are rich in minerals and delicately fruity – they are unlike any other, the epitome of their kind. The grapes that thrive in this warm zone are late ripening and must be manually harvested due to the precarious placement of the vines. The extra effort put into these grapes is well worth it. They consistently produce wines with low alcohol content and exceptionally elegant flavors - perfect for regular enjoyment.
Need I say more?
Our destination, Trier, is the perfect place to sip my first taste of Deutschland.
The Mosel Valley is the cradle of German wine culture and I, for one, am ready to dive right in! After dropping our bags by the apartment we’ve reserved here in Trier, we head straight to the town center where just around a quiet corner we find a bustling wine pub – the Weinstube Kesselstatt.
This weinstube is nestled into what was once a manor of the palace that stood on this square – with exposed beams, cozy seating and eclectic décor it is a busy but inviting scene. It’s a self service pub and as we approach the counter I’ve apparently forgotten that weinstubes are outlets of individual wineries. I try to order a “House Riesling”. The attendant gestures to a full-wall chalkboard with white scribbles from ceiling to floor - They are all house Rieslings.
Every wine on this extensive list is a product of the Reichsgraf von Kesselstatt estate! The excitement of so many incredible options trumps the brief feeling of stupidity that has washed over me.
Wilhelm and I enjoy a bottle of the perfectly crisp, yet sweet, ‘Sommerpalais’, and then another. We order “Das Beste der Region” in hopes of getting a good, local snack - a wooden board full of fresh, regional cheeses, breads and hams finds its way to our table. We eat, we drink and we even make a few friends (or at least we think so - our German is sub-par, after all!). All of this whilst sitting on the terrace under the emerging stars, staring up at some of Trier’s most beautiful and mysterious attractions.
Before us sit the Dom zu Trier (Saint Peter’s Cathedral) and the Liebfrauenkirche (The Church of Our Lady).
Not only is Trier Dom the oldest church in Germany but it is also home a few significant Christian relics. According to legend, Saint Helena returned from a trip to Jerusalem, in the 4th century, with the robe Jesus wore at the crucifixion. She also brought back a nail that is believed by many to have been used in the crucifixion of Christ as well. Mention of the robe was discovered in historical documents in the 12th century at which point the cathedral altar was opened up in search of the holy relic. The robe was found, and remains, in Trier where Christians from all corners of the world still come to view it.
^ Regardless of your religious affiliation, this is certainly an interesting bit of history that Trier lays claim to!