Less than half an hour from Frankfurt and accessible by train, the medieval wine villages of Rheingau dot the banks of the Rhine like pearls in a strand. A landscape of ancient Roman castles, monasteries and vineyards, it offers appeal for wine lovers, history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Wiesbaden, Rheingau’s urban core, is an ideal starting point for visitors who seek upscale hotels, restaurants and shopping. The ancient spa town offers restorative thermal springs as well as a historic casino. Moving west along the river, from Eltville to Lorch, each of the region’s charming villages offers an array of sights, tastes and experiences.
Where to Dine
For casual outdoor dining with scenic views of the Rhine, Anleger 511, in Eltville, is ideal. Many wineries operate in-house taverns, known as gutsschänke or gutsausschank, which serve local cheeses, sausages, schnitzel and more. Corvers Kauter,a small, family-owned winery in Oestrich-Winkel, executes traditional fare with a fresh Mediterranean edge. For fine dining among Rheingau’s historic castles and winery estates, the restaurants at Schloss Vollrads or Schloss Johannisberg deliver exceptional ambience.
Where to Stay
For luxury accommodations, the Hotel Nassauer Hof in Wiesbaden offers a thermal spa and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Deeper into wine country, Zum Krug, a Hattenheim restaurant that’s a winemaker favorite, offers sleek, modern comfort at its adjacent inn. At Weingut Baron Knyphausen, the converted living quarters of the noble Knyphausen family (which still owns and operates the winery estate) are minimally furnished, but feature excellent wines and a historic experience steps from vineyards and the Rhine.
Anna Lee C. Iijima joined Wine Enthusiast in 2010. A former attorney turned beverage devotee, she holds a Diploma in Wine and Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a student in the Masters of Wine Program. She is also an Advanced Sake Professional of the Sake Education Council with an enduring love for saké and shochu.