We left Heidelberg and sailed toward Rudesheim, Germany. After dinner we had a choice of two excursions. We could go into a wine cellar and have a sampling of some of the fine Reisling wines grown in this region OR we could go to a little restaurant and sample the famed Rudesheim coffee.
You might ask “what is Rudesheim coffee” and I have the answer for you. It is coffee with brandy, lit on fire and then whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles on top, though where I am from they are called jimmies. (PS virtual points if you can tell where I am from by the word jimmies – if you know me, please don’t spoil it).
Guess which one I chose? Yep, the wine tasting. After we finished our dinner on the ship, we put our jackets on and headed for the gangplank. There, waiting for us on the other side, was a train that would take us near where we were going.
We walked to the wine tasting cave while the other group walked to the restaurant for the coffee. The wine cave is all that I thought it would be as we walked down the stone steps into the cave.
There were tables with benches that we sat down on and in front of us was a small glass, the size of two shots glasses. Our host reminded me of the late Robin Williams. He spoke like him and looked a little bit like him but more importantly he had his sense of humor. He seemed to have his finger on American foibles and that gave him fodder for humor. We all laughed quite a bit that evening.
We began with a dry Reisling, then a semi-dry and finally my favorite, a sweet. He told us about ice wines and if they are truly ice wines they cost in the range of a hundred dollars for a bottle about half the size of regular wine bottles. I think I would really like ice wines but at that price I’m not sure if I will ever get to sample one. If you wanted to purchase some local wine, our host would certainly sell it to you. I have brought wine home from other countries using these wine skins from Amazon
I never had any bottles of wine broken. I made sure that they were secure in the suitcase and wouldn’t move around much.
As a side note, our son purchased a case of wine from South Africa and checked it as luggage when returning to the US. When arriving back in the US, he paid the customs tax on it since he was over the tax free amount. The taxes were not much. I think we all assume that custom taxes are very high but they really are not! I believe, and do not hold this as gospel truth, that the duty tax is 3% of your purchase price so for some wines that he purchased at $17 USD he would pay that price plus 3%, much less than the $45 it is retailing for in the US.
Back to Rudesheim, since we were docked overnight in Rudesheim, rather than taking the train back, you could stay in the city. Our cruise director knew of some restaurants and bars that would be fun. HE also thought some of the Christmas markets might still be open.
A number of people did decide to stay and then walk back to the boat. When we took the train up to the wine tasting, it seemed like a long ride – maybe about 15 minutes of weaving in and out of the streets but we were told that the walk back was much quicker and just to point your feet downhill. We chose to go back to the boat. I think we were a little concerned about roaming around at night trying to find the ship. Hearing stories the next day, I’m sure some of the passengers on this ship closed several bars and had a great time.
For those wondering, here is the recipe for Rudesheim Coffee:
Coffee drink with Asbach Uralt brandy and topped with vanilla whipped cream and grated chocolate.
3 cubes sugar
1-2 parts Asbach Uralt Brandy
vanilla whipped cream
Place cubes of sugar in a warm coffee cup
Add Asbach Uralt Brandy, set aflame. Stir and allow to burn 1 minute.
Fill up with hot coffee to within an inch of top of cup. Stir well.
Cover with layer of whipped cream with vanilla, and sprinkle with grated chocolate.
Next up, our day in Rudesheim.