The Netherlands???

October 30, 2007

OK, so I have been around the world and tasted some weird stuff. Let’s just say I have had both red and white wines produced in French Polynesia to be going out on a limb about weird wine. But I figured that makes some sense. FP is a French territory, lots of French people move there and while it is tropical, there may be a patch of land where grapes would make it. So you can imagine my utter shock when we hang out in a wine bar in Amsterdam and are confronted with a Dutch Riesling. Dutch wine? This is impossible.

Just to put it in perspective for North Americans (if any of you read this garbage) , this place is at a similar latitude as Calgary, Alberta in Canada. That is not to say Canada does not make some amazing ice wines and British Columbia some decent riesling, but I was still shocked that wine is made in The Netherlands. Our bartender informed us that in the south part of the country there are some microclimates that are acceptable for winemaking and recently some have taken up the trade.

One of the producers is the Hulst family’s Apostelhoeve. Please do me a favor and don’t try to pronounce that! The funny thing about these guys’ wine is not their name, but that they actually make some decent wine. In fact I was quite amazed about their riesling. Supposedly they make the best riesling in Holland, which probably just means they are better than the only other one that can pull off not freezing the fruit in a country where winter starts in September. Nevertheless, I did like the wine and I would compare it to some of the dry rieslings I had in the Mosel valley of Germany in terms of style and character. The wine was high in acidity, but not in the way of a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, rather high in acid with quite a bit of concentration of fruit. A nice combo. It also had a decently long finish for a white wine. Totally approachable alone, but would be perfect with some juicy fish. So I was double shocked, first I could not believe the Dutch make wine and second I could not believe that they make decent wine. Either that or I had a lot to drink before I tasted it. Based on my recollection I would get it again, but good luck finding this treasure outside of Dutchigistan.

Just as a side note, we also tasted the Auxerrois from Apostelhoeve and that was much more what I would have expected from this esteemed land. Translation: don’t ever get it.

Name: Riesling, Apostelhoeve, 2005

Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Body: Light to Medium

Price: 11.50 euros

Got it at: Cave Rokin, Amsterdam, Holland

Riesling, Apostelhoeve, 2005