Thursday, June 17, 2010

Tulips and Wine from Amsterdam to Alsace ...

I must begin this blog post with a very special thank you, once again, to my good friend Katherine Andes. As regular readers of my blog will have noticed my blog has a new look. ( and thank you to those who have already sent me emails with positive comments.) Anytime I make changes to my newsletter or this blog I run it past Katherine and her extremely useful suggestions have always been very helpful.
Katherine develops custom content for commercial websites. She also has a free, very informative newsletter which you can sign up for by visiting her website. THANK YOU, Katherine !!

So while I am still in Amsterdam, lets stay on the Keizersgracht and go visit with Jessica Lombardo at Art Vine located at 471 Keizersgracht.
They were recently written up in the travel section of the New York Times. I had a great chat with Jessica while visiting her art gallery and plan on doing an art and wine event with her when I next visit Amsterdam. Hopefully next year.

Now before heading for Alsace with my cousin Gerda, who kindly offered to drive me down there, I must show you at least a couple of images that we can all recognize as being truly Dutch.

Windmills and tulips anyone?

It takes about 5 hours to drive from Vancouver to the Okanagan Valley, our main British Columbia wine region. Nice easy drive on a very scenic highway. Then you are only about half way across our province. Holland on the other hand is one hectic highway. When you look at a map, the whole thing is one road after another. Too many cars ! So it was nice to get to Belgium, then Luxembourg and end up in France with our final destination of Alsace. Imagine 4 countries in one day.

My visit to Alsace this time was confined to the Haut-Rhin region. So many wineries and so many wines and not enough time. I will cover some of the wines and wineries in the next few posts.
Colmar, the capital of Alsace, has a population of 67,000 people. Great place to shop and visit. But approximately 6 KM south of Colmar is the little village of Husseren les Chateaux nestled in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains.
That is where we stayed at the marvellous Hotel Husseren les Chateaux.

Fabulous facilities, great swimming pool, excellent restaurant and a bonus for me, the walls are solid cement. So you will never hear your neighbour in the next room snoring. Meeting facilities for up to 45 people. What a great hideaway place to have a group meeting and seminars. Another bonus for me was Lucas de Jong. Very knowledgeable about the local wineries. He took a day out of his busy schedule to take me to some of the best Grand Cru properties. More on that in my next posts. So tulips in Alsace you might ask? Lucas was originally from Holland. Then 20 some years ago before he and his lovely lady, whom he had met in Denmark, moved to Alsace and built the hotel. Lucas,formerly a sommelier, has extensive wine knowledge and yes they also own a vineyard in the Beaujolais. Naturally he would have a few tulips around. Look at them in the entrance to the hotel inviting you to the restaurant Au Sapin Dore.
Next up winery visits and some great photos and of course a discussion on food and wine in Alsace.
A Bientot!

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