Drink local – the best wines from the Netherlands and surroundings
I am a big fan of supporting local initiatives. Especially now, during the eternal Corona misery but also in the times before (whenever that was).
This weekend I’ll participate in the online tasting of Chateau Amsterdam, the following week I’ll be sleeping in the Court hotel in Utrecht for a staycation. Read some great tips about the best wine hotels in the Netherlands here.
After my research on the best wine hotels an article about the most special and tastiest wines from the Netherlands and surroundings just had to be published. Luckily for me, Benelux wine made a selection of local wines that I had to taste and I didn’t have to do the selecting. Lazy me.
Earlier this year I wrote about Dutch wine and its history. Read it here for some background information.
This wine made the newspaper. The Norbertiness Sisters of St. Catherine’s Monastery make wine and are assisted by Andries Burger, an award-winning winemaker from South Africa. They started the project in 2014 and today their wine is so popular that Dutch airline KLM ordered about twenty thousand bottles. In the end, the deal didn’t get off the ground because of Corona and the sisters became front page news. Because of the top quality of the wine, they were sold out in no time. What a community!
When you smell it, the water runs into your mouth. Creamy and buttery like a good chubby Chardonnay with barrel aging. A ripe peach and a bit of smoke in the nose. Striking fresh acidity keeps the wine from being heavy, making it invigorating and thirst-quenching instead. Great to drink on itself, but with a fish based dish it would be delicious. Let people who don’t believe in Dutch wine try this wine and see what they say. It must be Hallelujah.
Once upon a time there was a place in the middle of nowhere called Dassemus. Ron Langeveld and Monique van der Goes decided in 2004 to plant hybrid grape varieties that are resistant to mold and diseases. This resistance is very important because in this vineyard no chemicals are used. The vineyard counts 4 hectares and the wines are certified organic.
Rondo, Solaris, Johanniter, Bianca, Pinotin, Pheonix, Souvignier Gris, Cabernet Blanc, Cabernet Cantor, Cabernet Cortis are the main characters of Dassemus vineyard. The Ceci N’est Pas Un Orange is their most popular wine, biodynamic, from ceramic amphora. The wine sells like crazy. Vintage 2019 is almost gone and for the 2021 we have to wait until spring!
Souvignier gris with three weeks of skin maceration. A salmon pink color that makes you smile. Smells like lychee and grapefruit. The wine is spicy, floral and intriguing. On the palate sweet and sour, nutty and juicy. Not a too funky natural wine but delicious and drinkable.
We cross the border into Belgium and arrive at Wijndomein Pietershof. The 2.5 hectare vineyard, founded in 2000, is located at the bottom of a 70 million year old ocean. The soil consists of silex and sand-lime stone and is very suitable for viticulture. Here and there, fossils of sea urchins, corals, stingrays and squids are found in the vineyard.
Delicate nose with a hint of vanilla and beautiful fruit expression. Flint and wet stone. In the mouth soft, mouth filling, a salty touch. A delicious glass that tingles with elegance and refinement.
We go to the Belgian side of the Moselle valley. Here Karel Henckens exchanged his apple trees for 10 hectares of grapevines. This side of the Moselle Valley is the driest and warmest area of the Benelux. The grapes are planted on a soil of gravel with a top layer of loam. With its Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling, Aldeneyck has been proclaimed the best winery in Belgium several times.
Small red and pink fruits say hello immediately. Raspberries, strawberries. A sultry and friendly nose. Reminiscent of spring. Flavors of organic raspberry lemonade, watermelon, fresh because of prominent acidity. A very tasty aperitif, also delicious with seafood.
The journey continues to Luxembourg. Two young brothers Nicolas and Matthieu are the eleventh generation of winemakers (everything began three years after the French Revolution in 1792). What they make is completely organic, sustainable and their passion is everything.
Spicy and playful in the nose. Pear and aniseed. Pronounced flavors that call for a nice plate of food. Intriguing wine with a long aftertaste.
Time for a bubble! The holidays are coming up and a local bubble on the table is of course a lot of fun. We stay in Luxembourg and visit the famous winery Alice Hartmann. World famous in the Benelux. Vineyards that have all won awards offer home to grapevines planted on steep slopes as we know from the Moselle region.
The crémant is made according to Luxembourg’s traditional recipe of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Riesling. The wines ripen partly in oak barrels.
In the nose tropical and with ripe fruit expression. Brioche and honey. Beautiful soft mousse, sweet apple and apricot. Elegant and very festive!
For more great Dutch wines I refer you to the piece about Dutch wines written by Esmee Langereis for NRC!