As we left Mayen with the intention of heading back to Monheim, we decided to do a little sightseeing. Little did we know what wonderful sights the Mosel River had to offer!
We started our exploration in Cohem, a delightful little town alongside the river, dotted with old buildings, cute cafes and wonderful views of the castle, perched high on top of the hill overlooking the township.
Leaving Cochem is a very old, a rustic looking house on the left hand side of the Mosel. A big yellow, hand written sign reads "Wine Samples". Well, that sounded like fun, and since the weather was turning yukky, what better way to enjoy the Mosel than sample a few local vinos?
This driveway led us to a "WeinStube" (Wine Room), where an elderly man - typically German, may I add - welcomed us and gestured for us to sit down at the long, wooden table in the dimly lit room. We mentioned that we would like to try a local Riesling (by this stage we still had no idea what the name, vineyard or what they had to offer), which he then placed a shot glass in front of each of us (Ok, we thought - it truly means, samples only then :-) He produced a clear and yellowish liquid in an unlabelled bottle and filled our shot glasses up to point of overflowing. "What type of wine is this?" I asked cautiously. "Oh no, my girl, this is not wine. This is SCHNAPPS!"
Geoff and I do not, actually - HATE Schnapps. But when in Rome...?
This older man was so sweet, and began telling us his life story and of how all his children have left Germany that there was no way around drinking this potent liquid other than - down the hatch. Certainly home-made and certainly rancid... but a smile and finish of his prizes Schnapps went a long way... we continued our conversation whilst the wine flowed and left with several complimentary bottles and a standing invitation to come back and stay with him whenever we were in the area.
If you are ever in the region, make sure to stop at the store Walter J. Oster http://weingutoster.de/ for the the chance to sample some wonderful local wines, vinegars and infused oils. We left with few bottles and are still enjoying them to this day (trying to make them last!!)