Freiburg im Breisgau is a quintessential European vacation. Located in the wine growing region of Baden, an area noted for it’s cuisine, Freiburg is Germany’s warmest city. Founded in 1120, this centuries old university town has been architecturally restored to its picturesque medieval state. Known for sunshine, the Black Forest, and Albert Ludwig University; a visit to quaint, quiet Freiburg with it’s temperate climate and proximity to more than 300 wineries is a perfect opportunity to experience old Europe and enjoy a wine lesson while you’re at it.
Waking up in Freiburg for a day of exploring? Prepare to be enchanted because this city of sunshine has a once upon a time feel. Start with der Munstermarkt a two-centuries-old market in the plaza near the 800 year old cathedral, one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture. From there the sights unfold as you wander but watch out for the bachle, or brooklets – these are small canals of water from the Dreisam river, which run throughout the village. Once a source of fresh water for animals, the legend is that one who steps in it is destined to marry a Freiburger. Adding to the fairytale ambiance you will notice how quiet it is, perhaps because there are limitations on car use, making it very pedestrian friendly.
German beer and sausage and pretzels, have stolen the spotlight from the many culinary experiences that await a visitor. As there are over 1,000 breweries and 1,500 varieties of sausages one can certainly understand the hype. But credited for locally sourced sustainable ingredients Badisch cuisine goes far beyond, and oh, the wine! Until the twentieth century there were only two great wine producing countries, France, and Germany. Baden, it has been said, is the Burgandy paradise of Germany.
The Baden wine region is not concentrated, but consists of several land parcels spread out including; central Germany near Wurzburg, on Lake Constance (the Bodensee) near Switzerland, and parallel to the Rhine from Heidelberg all the way south to Basel. To the west is the Black Forest and beyond that France’s Alsace region. The most famous vineyards today were planted and cultivated by monks in the Middle Ages.
In the land of beer, everywhere I went I had wine. And it was fabulous. The brightest most brilliant roses, sharp and crisp the clarity of the flavor meets the beauty of color for a sensational palate explosion. German white wines are known for being delicate and pure, and having a quality of transparency or nakedness, meaning the true qualities of the grape are showcased. The lesser famed red wines produced in Germany will take you out of your comfort zone, in a good way. Wine can be confusing and German wine can be extra confusing like there are thirteen wine regions, 1,400 wine villages, and 2,600-plus vineyards. How do you choose? Below I have attempted to simplify.
The Grapes of Germany. There are eighteen, I am only going to touch upon Baden wines, (for the purpose of this article. However if your thirst for knowledge isn’t quenched there are links at the end for further reading and, of course, drinking pleasure).
- Weissburgunder – pinot blanc
- Rulander (Graoburgunder) – pinot gris / pinot grigio
- Riesling – the favorite grape of Germany and perhaps the most widely associated with German wine is planted on all the best sites, however very little is grown in Baden
- Muller-Thurgau – the leading grape in Baden, an everyday drinking wine
- Gutedel – makes simple wines, same grape as chasselas from Switzerland
- Silvaner – dependably good but typically not great wine, same as sylvaner grape from Alsace, France
- Gewurztraminer – often described as full of floral and fruit
- Spatburgunder – pinot noir
* all wines in the list above are white except for the last one
Three basic styles of German wine are
- Trocken – dry
- Halbtroken – medium-dry
- Fruity – semidry to very sweet
And the two main categories of German wine are
- Tafelwein literally translation is table wine, this is the lowest designation
- Qualitatswein meaning quality wine which in itself includes the two subcategories of: QbA (Qualitatswein bestimmeter Anbaugebiete) indicates a quality wine from one of the thirteen specified regions, and Pradikatswein which is the best.
And now you know why.
Thirsty? I am a wine enthousiast, like, Hell Yes I Would LOVE A Glass!” and in learning more about this tasty beverage I like to consult The Wine Bible and also I have been reading Windows On the World
Hungry? The Grounded Traveler sums it up perfectly for where to eat in Freiburg
Interested? get to know more about Freiburg
Want to visit? The Black Forest is a popular vacation destination too!