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Sunday, 31 October 2004
Rico’s village


This is a view of the village of Riquewihr, near Colmar, as seen from the South-facing Schoenenbourg vineyards.

According to the Alsace Wine Route site I link to above, Voltaire owned three vineyards here at one stage. This is not exactly what we were told on our tour of the vineyards. We were told that Voltaire had lent the king of France a large sum of money and that the town of Riquewihr was listed as surety for the loan. If the king had defaulted on the loan repayments then Voltaire would have taken ownership of the whole town.  While the one story does not contradict the other it is strange that the tour guide didn’t mention that Voltaire did own three vineyards (either before, during or after the loan). He did tell us that Voltaire never physically visited the town.

The name of the town supposedly derives from the name of a Roman who settled in the area, by the name of Rico, and has been through many variations (Germanic and French) before settling on the current spelling. The talking guide described him as Italian but I have to believe that he got it wrong.  This wasn’t all the talking guide got wrong, despite his cozy North England accent.  He couldn’t pronounce his varieties of grape and, most irritating for me (although I am not sure why) kept referring to the Wine Road instead of Wine Route.  For some reason the Alsatians generally translate Route des Vins literally.

Posted by bigblue on 31/10/2004 at 12:11 PM
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