Fine Wine in Beer Land
27 August, 2015
At some spot between Ingolstadt and Nuremberg, the Bavarian accent becomes gentler, the wind blows a little further down and wine competes with beer as the local beverage. This is Franconia (Franken) and, as locals never fail to point out, the Franconians – who live in the wooded hills and on the banks of the river Main – are very different from their outgoing southern cousins.
The wine producers in the north-east of the region make sublime white wine, sold in a characteristic tear-shaped bottle known as the bocksbeutel. For open-air enthusiasts, the Altmühltal Nature Reserve is an ideal area for hiking, cycling and canoeing. However, it is Franconia’s incredible towns – Nuremberg, Bamberg and Coburg – that attract most visitors. But, let’s concentrate on that marvellous elixir that has captivated human beings since the dawn of time.
Wine – the Soul of the Region
The wine of Franconia is not merely a beverage, but a celebration of the senses. It is welded into the DNA of the whole region. Its presence is felt everywhere. To see how influential it is in the landscape, suffice to go walking or cycling on the banks of the river Main, or to visit Würzburg Residenz Palace. Its presence is also tasted in the culinary creations of local chefs and in the taverns. Moreover, in Franconia, wine is extolled at festivals and trade fairs –Heckenwirtschaften– dedicated solely to wine.
The region’s mild climate is propitious for the production of this delicious beverage. It is continental, with very cold winters and mild summers, meaning the grapes mature very slowly. The soils are highly varied, being formed of coloured sandstone, granite, limestone and some slate, so that each soil type yields a different kind of wine. The coloured sandstone yields red wine, while the granite and limestone are ideal for white wines. Grape-growing has been an important and constant activity here for over 1,200 years. It is a joy to explore the wines of Franconia and all their nuances.
This wine-producing region lies east of Frankfurt and some 65 kilometres from the Rhine. The vineyards are planted on the south-facing slopes along the river Main and encircle the city of Würzburg, so this is the only vinicultural region in the state of Bavaria. Franconia is divided into three districts – Mainviereck, Maindreieck and Steigerwald – formed by the shapes adopted by the Main’s meanders. It is worth a trip along the river to get an idea of how varied the area’s vineyards really are. The main types of grape are the Müller-Thurgau, Sylvaner and Bacchus.
Wine Cellars and Taverns
Wine cellars have proliferated lately. True, the consumption of white wine has increased markedly in recent years. They put it down to the economic crisis – white wines are usually cheaper than red – and to global warming – wine served cold is more appetising. The great advantage held by Franconia’s wines is undoubtedly the exceptional grape varieties grown there. And, the exuberant architecture of the wine cellars provides added value for the senses. Here is a list of the wine cellars and taverns specialising in the area’s leading wines.
Langgasse 33 · 97334 Nordheim a. Main. Website
Kirchplatz 2 · 97236 Randersacker
Vinothek im Kuk
Rathausplatz 6 · 97337 Dettelbach. Website
Kirchplatz 7 · 97346 Iphofen. Website
Kirchplatz 3 · 97332 Sommerach a. Main. Website
Hauptstraße 37 · 97246 Eibelstadt. Website
Winzer Sommerach- Der Winzerkeller
Zum Katzenkopf 1 · 97334 Sommerach a. Main. Website
Have you got that? Then come and discover the wines of Franconia. Check out our flights here.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación
27 August, 2015