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Rheingau Wine Region
The Statue of Germania towers high above the rolling hills of the Rheingau. She is 10.5 metres tall, weighs an impressive 32 tonnes and commemorates the re-establishment of the German empire following victory against the French in 1870/71. Construction of the Niederwald monument on which she stands began in 1877. The statue and monument are now a popular destination for visitors to the Rheingau, a narrow region extending from Wicker and Flörsheim on the Main river to Lorchhausen on the Rhine .
Just a few kilometres wide in places, the Rheingau is ideal for wine-growing. It borders the Taunus hills in the north, which protect against the cold winters, and the Rhine in the south, which reflects the sunlight and retains its heat.
The numerous vintners in the region make their excellent wines from approximately 3,000 hectares of vines. Most grapes are rieslings (84 per cent), while pinot noirs – which prefer the steep vineyard slopes in Assmannshausen – account for a respectable 11 per cent.
The pinot noir grape probably originated from a wild variety of burgundy. It takes time to ripen in this temperate climate, but in good years produces excellent wines full of body and vitality. Their sensuous colours, somewhere between terracotta and deep red, hint at the berry aromas to come, and promise a bouquet of flavours without compare. The delicate spicy overtones, pleasant acidity and full body go particularly well with roast game or beef or a low-fat herb cheese.
Strawberry wine packs a punch in Erbach
Erbach is in the Rheingau, one of Germany‘s leading wine-producing regions. Even at the town‘s famous Strawberry Festival the focus is still firmly on the fruit of the vine.
At the annual event, which this year takes place mid of June, wine from the Rheingau is mixed with kilo upon kilo of fresh strawberries to create a delicious fruit punch. The festival traditionally begins with a ceremony involving senior members of the community. Over the next three days, dance troupes, brass bands and other musical ensembles get up on stage and get everyone to join in the fun, helped no end by the wide availability of strawberries and wine.
Website Strawberry Festival (Erdbeer Fest): www.erdbeerfest-erbach.de
The Annual Rheingau Gourmet Festival is the ten-day event that marks the start of the wine season in the Rheingau region. It takes place end of April / early May and more than 115 wine-growers and restaurateurs from Flörsheim on the River Main to Lorchhausen on the Rhine will be inviting visitors to taste their wines and sample some of the region‘s culinary specialities.
The locals are fond of quoting the saying „Wo Gutes leit im Keller, gehört auch ebbes Gutes uff de Teller“, which roughly translates as „good food and wine go hand in hand“. The festival naturally centres on Rheingau wine, particularly riesling and red spätburgunder, more commonly known outside Germany as pinot noir.
There will also be a varied programme of entertainment, including musical and literary events, open-air wine tastings, activity programmes and lots of appealing and unusual ideas on the theme of wine and sparkling wine.
Rheingau Wine Association: www.rheingau.com/weinbauverband