Unique wine tour along Limburg wineries.
The Netherlands and Belgian Limburg have some interesting wineries that are well worth a visit. This region is unique in the Netherlands, particularly due to its calcareous soil, the hills and the temperature (continental climate) where the thermometer is just a bit higher than in the rest of the Netherlands.
Recently, organized wine tours have been offered through the Limburg wine and hill country organized by Annaline Doelen (wine restaurant Mes Amis) and Maurice Warnier (Vinteur). We of the "press" were one of the first to experience this unique experience in person and accompanied Maurice Warnier along four leading wineries in Limburg and Belgian Limburg.
Before we started this wine trip we were treated with a delicious lunch at Wijnrestaurant Mes Amis. The philosophy of restaurant Mes Amis in Maastricht is to work with as many regional products as possible and also with the wines from this region.
Sint Martinus - Vijlen
The first winery that we visit is Wijndomein St. Martinus. Under the guidance of Stan Beurskens, special wines are being developed here. Stan Beurskens studied oenology at the famous Stellenbosch University in South Africa and the University of Geisenheim in Germany.
The vineyards, 24 hectares and so the largest in the Netherlands are beautifully draped against the hills of Limburg. The vineyards have been around since 1988 and Stan was the first to make red wines in the Netherlands. A passionate winemaker with an eye for sustainability and innovation. The extremely modern wine cellar is unique in the Netherlands and has four floors where the wine is transported with the help of gravity. During the visit we taste three different wines namely Funkelwien sec 2013, Gris de Villare and a glass of the 7 sins (and blend of Cabernet Cortis, Cabernet Cantor and Pinotin)
Wine castle Genoels-Elderen - Riemst (Belgium)
Then we follow our road towards the Belgian Limburg, namely to the Belgian Riemst. Wine castle Genoels-Elderen is the largest wine estate in Belgium with 22 hectares of vineyards and welcomes 15.000 visitors annually.
The castle with its own driveway and beautiful landscaped garden has a completely different look and looks a lot more classic. Also the varieties that are grown here are a lot more classic. The winery works here with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. During the visit of the vineyard you will be startled by gunshots that ring through the speakers. The hard bangs are used to drive birds and small animals away from the grape bushes. Joyce Kékkö-van Rennes then takes us into the beautiful cellar where we can admire the impressive wine cellar with wooden barrels while enjoying a delicious 100% Chardonnay bubble (with 8 years maturation on the lees).
Back in the Netherlands we visit Wijngaard Apostelhoeve. On top of the Louwberg, on the beautiful Jekerdal on the south side of Maastricht, is the monumental 15th century Apostel farm. It is the oldest vineyard in the Netherlands with a beautiful view. The third generation winemaker has already started within the company which once started as an apple farmer.
The vineyards are great along the rolling hills. We work here with grape varieties such as Müller Thurgau, Auxerrois, Riesling and Pinot Gris. The wine cellar looks beautiful and the grapes are harvested here mechanically. While enjoying a Cuvée XII 2017 (a blend of Müller-Thurgau, Auxerrois and Pinot Gris), we finish this visit and continue our wine tour to the fourth and final winery.
Hoeve Nekum is located in the valley at a stone's throw from Apostelhoeve. Hoeve Nekum is a typical Limburg farmstead that has existed since 1600 All buildings are situated around a courtyard with a monumental entrance gate that looks very much like a castle.
Math Bollen owner of the beautiful historic building and eponymous winery gives us a tour of the vineyards. At Hoeve Nekum we work with grape varieties such as Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Noir, Riesling and Auxerrois. The grape vines are double Guyoy pruned and the wines fermented on stainless steel tanks. Here too, harvesting is done mechanically and this is also the smallest vineyard we visited today.
After the long, innovative day, we close to the Preuvenemint in Maastricht where some 20 Limburg wine makers still take pictures together and where the Limburg wine and snacks are closed off.