Venture out to the vineyards surrounding Dresden, which offer a mellow counterpoint to the city, especially after a glass or three of Goldriesling, a crisp varietal that’s cultivated exclusively in the region. Saxony is the smallest of Germany’s thirteen wine regions, and the majority of its bottles are consumed locally rather than exported, so this is a unique opportunity to sample and buy. Start out at the Dresden Hauptbahnhof and hop on tram 11 toward Bühlau and get off at the Elbschlösser stop to visit the Winzer Müller, a historic winery that sits on parkland in the shadow of Albrechtsberg Castle, built in 1854, which Richard Wagner used as a summer retreat. Daily tours (from $26) include a visit to the castle wine cellars and a wine-tasting stroll through vineyards against the backdrop of the old town rising over the Elbe River. Time your visit on a Sunday to enjoy a rustic lunch of flammkuchen ($6), a flatbread pizza served on a wooden board, at the winery’s outdoor wine tavern (open Sunday and holidays through November; reopens in March). Next, take tram 11 to the Bahnhof Dresden-Neustadt, and catch the S1 S-Bahn suburban train (from $7 one way) to the Radebeul East station to explore the wine town of Radebeul, which marks the center of the 55-mile Saxon Wine Route. Walk twenty minutes to the Drei Herren winery and art gallery (from $20 for a tour) to tour the cellar and sip Rieslings and other brisk white wines while browsing local art, from oversize Pollock-style splatter paintings to writhing anemone sculptures. Delve into Saxony’s impressive wine history at Schloss Wackerbarth (a ten-minute walk from the Radebeul West station), a Baroque manor house and wine estate built between 1727 and 1728 by the architect to the Imperial court. August the Strong used to throw lavish parties here and fittingly, the winery continues to produce the region’s finest sparkling wine, sekt, which is Germany’s go-to celebratory holiday drink. The winery offers a number of tours, but opt for the Sparkling Wine Tour (from $15), which includes a visit to the cellars where they still use the traditional method of riddling (turning bottles by hand). Top off the day with dinner at the stately on-site restaurant, where dishes are infused with local wines. Try gnocchi topped with a foam flavored by snappy Traminer wine ($16), cauliflower in a Riesling-spiced dough ($10), a ragout of wild mushrooms and herbs pulled from the castle garden ($18), and pork ($26) from the renowned local Saxon butcher Schempp.
The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan
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5. Oddball Day
Published on Oct 11, 2013 as a web exclusive.