Prior to Monday, I had never heard of Soultzmatt, another cute town in Alsace where wonderful locally produced wines are turned out every year. My friend, Ellen, said that she’d been buying wines from Klein René et Michel for years. As I mentioned in my previous post, I knew Ellen from Facebook. Before Monday, I had never met Ellen in person, though we have been interacting for a few years now. She and her friend, Louise, were about a half an hour behind us, so we had originally planned to visit Eguisheim. But the lure of wine was too strong to resist, and we soon found ourselves on the was to 5 Rue Ingold in Soultzmatt.
Bill was a little confused at first, once we found the winery. We weren’t sure where to park, or where to go. As luck would have it, another couple pulled up at about the same time we did, only they were French and spoke no English. Ellen had asked us to wait, but since the lady was already opening the tasting room for the French couple, we decided to go ahead… We knew we’d still be tasting wines when Ellen and Louise showed up. Sure enough, we were!
The lady who was running the tasting didn’t speak any English at all, so things were a little awkward at first. But then Bill told her he speaks a little German and, lo and behold, she spoke German, too! We’ve found that a lot of people in Alsace speak German, especially among the older folks. There’s a guy in Ribeauville who sells liqueurs and wines who speaks no English, but has happily carried on conversations with Bill, despite Bill’s limited German proficiency.
By the time Ellen and Louise showed up, the French couple had left with three boxes of wine– probably about 18 bottles worth. And Bill, Parker, and I had already tried about three… Ellen speaks French and German, so things got a lot easier after that! We left with twelve bottles of wine ourselves.
Ellen did manage to get a nice shot of us enjoying our wine…
It’s always a pleasure to meet online acquaintances offline. After all, that’s how Bill and I came together. We used to be strictly online friends. Ellen and Louise were delightful company. It turns out we have some things in common, too. Louise is a horse person, and I was a horse person for years before I grew up… and out. Louise lives in Mobile, Alabama, which was where my horse lived after his very first owner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana sold him with his mom. Louise is also the name of my former riding instructor. 😉 And Ellen was especially great company, especially since we lived in the same community and have husbands who do somewhat similar work. I was most impressed by her ability to speak French and German. Time for me to get back on the stick, I guess.
After we tasted and bought our wine, we headed back to Ribeauville. Parker stayed in while Bill and I went searching for dinner. We found only one open restaurant, though it was one we’d never tried before… Restaurant Le Ribeaupierre. I see it gets pretty low Trip Advisor ratings, although I can honestly say I have legitimately had worse dining experiences in Ribeauville. We were the only ones in the restaurant, but the waiter was still very pleasant and the food wasn’t bad.
Restaurant Le Ribeaupierre is quaintly decorated and seems like a somewhat popular lunch spot, despite its low ratings on Trip Advisor. It looks like they mostly serve pizzas. I had some trouble choosing what I was going to have, mainly because the presence of mushrooms pretty much spoil my meals (not that I can’t afford to have some spoiled). Lasagne is one of those items that is hit or miss. Sometimes people use mushrooms in them. Sometimes they don’t. Anyway, this meal was alright. The Irish Coffee made up for it, and Bill enjoyed his “colonel”– lemon sorbet with a shot of vodka. We noticed that the waiter locked up right after we left, at about 8:00pm. Like I said, Ribeauville is dead in January, but plenty of fun can still be had if you look hard enough.