Alsace: Day 1 – Haut-Koenigsbourg, Saint-Hippolyte, Rorschwihr, Ribeauville

by | Aug 22, 2018 | Food & Drink, International Travel, Travel


Our first day in Alsace was predicted to be the sunniest, so we decided to start explorations here to take advantage of the views. It was one of the top three items on Eric’s must-see list and did not disappoint with amazing views both inside and outside the castle walls!

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg  Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg gardens

Eric fake attack!  Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

Hall of Arms @ Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

Kaiser's Hall @ Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg  Kaiser's Hall @ Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg

We got there right around opening so our visit was not too crowded. Things were definitely picking up (including large groups of school kids) as we were leaving. An amusing sidenote: a healthy stack of pamphlets had been added to the car in our absence.

flyers left on the car while we were in the castle


We tried to go to Sylvie Fahrer & Son but they were closed for lunch, so we wandered around a bit taking photos. I wound up tasting a rouge from here that I loved during our brief stay in Strasbourg so we will definitely be back to try some wine on another trip.

Saint-Hippolyte  Saint-Hippolyte



Our visit in town was brief as we just stopped in for lunch @ Chez Helmut.  The sky opened up as we were trying to find parking but we managed to grab a spot in a small lot across the street and dash into the covered patio (surrounded by grape vines) without getting too soaked. Seeing no wine list, we used our limited French to order a glass of wine each (Riesling for Eric and Pinot Noir for me) and two tarte flambees – the bleu roquefort and a goat cheese and honey. So filling and completely delicious.

lunch @ Chez Helmut  tarte flambees @ Chez Helmut

Before leaving we managed to ask for the check correctly (l’addition s’il vous plait) and helped another English-speaking couple get silverware. Good deed for the day done!


We found some free street parking on the north side of town and did a quick wine tasting at Maison Trimbach:

  • 2016 Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve Alsace – Nose: pluot and fortified wine notes. Palate: Pluot, hint of brown sugar. Medium tannins. Very nice.
  • 2015 Trimbach Pinot Noir Reserve “Cuve 7” Alsace – Nose: dark berry, brown sugar. Palate: earthy, rich mouthfeel, good tannin with a long lasting finish.
  • 2010 Trimbach Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile Alsace – Dried peach and apricot on nose and palate. More layers than the Vielles Vignes, and a little less fruit forward.
  • 2014 Trimbach Pinot Gris Réserve Personnelle Alsace – Palate: Rich fruit, white peach, plum, Lots of mineral up front, more fruit on finish. Medium acidity.
  • 2015 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Alsace Gewürztraminer – Nose: very floral. Palate: tastes like it smells, lots of floral, with some pear and spices too. Coating, lightly oily mouthfeel.
  • 2013 Trimbach Gewurztraminer Reserve Alsace Gewürztraminer – Light floral, more spice and apple. Reminds me of Autumn. Very well-balanced, a lovely wine.
  • 2015 Trimbach Riesling Sélection Vieilles Vignes Alsace – Nose: melon, white peach. Palate: melon, light almond, and a light salty minerality. Nice trailing acidity. Pairs nicely with cheese.

You may have noticed that most of those wines are white. The Alsace region is known for their white wines and bubbly, so I would generally try one or two pinots (if I was lucky) and a cremant while Eric ran down the list of available whites. I was the driver so this suited us just fine.

As we left the tasting room we felt the wind pick up, and after some thunder rain started to come down. Since we were near the car we hunkered down for a 20 minute thunderstorm that swept through the village.

wine tasting @ Maison Trimbach  waiting out the rain storm

Soon enough the sun came out again and we ventured into town.

Ribeauvillé  Ribeauvillé

My favorite part was a stone staircase that led into the vines and offered great landscape views of the town.

Ribeauvillé  Ribeauvillé


Given that it was now late afternoon we decided to head back to Colmar to relax a bit before heading out for the evening.

Our Itinerary

2023 Trips

San Diego (Jan)
Orlando (Feb)
Richmond, VA (Apr)
Northern Italy (Apr)
NC Mountains (May)
Long Island (Jul)
Wisconsin (Aug)
Chicago (Aug)
Bordeaux (Sep)
Rugby World Cup (Sep)

Castile and León (Sep)
Seychelles (Nov)

Willamette Valley (Dec)

2022 Trips

Florida (Feb)
NC Mountains (Apr)
Washington DC (Apr)
Valencia, Spain (May)
Hilton Head, SC (May)
Pacific NW (Jun)
Long Island (Jul)
Florida (Sept)
Chicago (Sept)
Poland (Sept)
NC Mountains (Nov)
Euro Xmas Markets (Dec)