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Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Italian Wine Country: The German Way - Page 2

Written by Allen Tan
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As we turned off the road and into the orchard, my gaze broke from the rugged alpine peaks in the distance. Adolf had started speaking and I looked to the front of the carriage to listen as he leaned over his shoulder: “And these apples get sold all over the world…” he explained, tipping his wide-brimmed felt hat towards the stout trees on our right.

 

Today, the Weinstraße is a well kept secret of Bavarian vacationers, and remaining untouched by cookie-cutter tourism, every step draws you deeper into a rich culture that has managed to remain authentic in the face of global homogenization. In the Weinstraße’s narrow streets and erratically intercepting corridors shops and homes lay hidden around corners and in small nooks, making exploration exciting and unique.

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A ride on Adolf’s carriage takes us through one of the Weinstraße’s villages.

Wandering village streets there is no shortage of fantastic daytime dining; pizzerias and taverns mark every corner. Because there are no touristy sections in these villages, follow the local’s lead when choosing eateries. Dinner reservations are not necessary along the Weinstraße, and there are enough restaurants that it would take months to experience them all.

 

My most memorable meal was a lunch taken just outside the town of St. Pauls in the castle on the hill. Schloss Korb is a family-owned castle turned four-star hotel and produces one of the premier wine labels in the region. This was not my first visit to Schloss Korb, and I was pleased to be greeted once again by its patriarch, Mr. Dellago and his horse-of-a-Great-Dane Zeus. A blue-eyed Italian, Mr. Dellago owns and administers Schloss Korb with a tradition of excellence, and remains a permanent resident in the castle’s keep.

 

Everything about Schloss Korb is brilliant, and their cuisine is no exception. Pairing everything from authentic German favorites to Northern Italian staples with skilled preparations and an impressive wine list that boasts best local and international wines, Korb sets the standard. The open-air patio that wraps around Korb’s valley-facing side may be the best view in Südtirol, and is a great complement to their superb cuisine.

 

Try to visit the area in fall or late summer, particularly in the harvest season (late September through mid-October). The spirit of the harvest permeates everything, and the vineyards come alive with workers and German hikers. The harvest is considered a high-season and it would be wise to plan lodging accordingly.

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The Weinstraße from a window in the Castle Beaumont ruins.

Flights arrive at Bolzano Airport (BZO) several times a day, and are the priciest of your options. For travelers who don’t object to a little driving, I suggest flying into Munich International Airport (MUC) and renting a car. The drive will take you through the Southern Bavarian countryside as it transitions into a breathtaking Alpine landscape, passing through Austria on the Brenner Highway. It’s also easy to travel by train, and is the least expensive option if you’re already in Europe.

 

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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