Arriving under grey skies, and scheduled to be in Frankfurt only 3 days, within an hour after settling into our hotel that morning, we were looking for interesting options that would take us out of the city, and into greener, brighter, more inspiring surrounding. In the brochures we collected at the front desk during registration, we looked for, and found a day trip that engaged our interest—a cruise on the Rhine River to the historic town of Rüdesheim. There, we’d have lunch of traditional German fare at the Restaurant Zum Anker. Later, and capping off the day, a tour and wine tasting session were noted as part of the cruise package! Perfect! We booked reservations for the following day!
Turned out, the high point of our brief stay in Frankfurt was that get-away- day-cruise along the picturesque Rhine Valley to Central Germany’s renown Rheingau wine region. Besides the splendor of the Valley’s steep, lush hillside vineyards, the castles on the hills overlooking the vineyards, and villages gleaming under the sunlight, equally fascinating was the narrative—all new to me—told by one of our lunch hosts on the subject of Ice Wine, or Eiswein. Ice Wine is a winter wine specific to the northern region of Germany. The sweet grapes are picked during a single night, the night of the areas’ first frost, and when temperatures have dropped below zero. To accomplish the monumental one night task, guest workers cross the border into Germany from Poland, to help harvest the frozen grapes for Ice Wine. And lucky us, we got to sample some of this very special wine. A delicate, mellow palate, Eiswein was…ambrosia. A taste so pleasing, and for a plum of a discount, I had a case of this exceptional wine shipped to our home in Charlotte, directly from a local Rüdesheim vinetor! Specifying the arrival date was to be four weeks out, pretty much guaranteed its delivery to be well after our return. Couldn’t allow that costly package dropped at the door, arriving from across the pond, before us!