This year, we didn’t celebrate the first King’s day in Amsterdam. So no orange t-shirts, techno beats or flea markets for us. Instead, we went to the South of the Netherlands for a Burgundian experience.
Wine grower from Eys
After we had lunch in Maastricht at Coffeelovers (nice place) we drove into the hills of South Limburg. I remembered I had a nice sparkling wine at restaurant Fyra (Amsterdam) a few years ago. A waiter told me that it came from a wine grower in the village of Eys. Since we were nearby, we decided to drive to this place.
The village of Eys is surrounded by nature and agriculture. In the hills next to the village there is a small vineyard. The beautiful environment does not look Dutch at all, more like the English hills. We found Domein Aldenborgh but from the outside, it looked like a normal house in the village center. We thought this was strange, but we were curious enough to ring the doorbell. A kind lady opened the door. “Come inside,” she said, and leaded us to her husband who was filling a water trailer. Normally you would have to make an appointment to have a tour here, but they were very enthusiastic and offered to give us a tour anyway.
The husband and wife, Peter and Gerrie Pelzer, showed us the small and cold wine ‘cave’ barn, where we saw about ten huge 1000 L barrels. With a lot of passion and humor, Peter told us his inspiring story about creating the perfect connection and ‘trade’ between the grapevine and the soil. The grapes grow without the use of any artificial fertilizers or chemicals that frustrate the natural state of the grapes and soil. “It’s pure organic compost and no salt that could badly influence the taste of the grapes” Peter said. He filled our glasses with a slightly too young 100% Riesling white wine, straight from the barrel. We could already taste the richness of the white pearl liquid in process.
No Coca-Cola bubbles
But there is more than just creating a perfect wine. In the creation of a sparkling wine, he works together with specialists from Germany, because “we don’t want to have a Coca-Cola experience with this wine,” Peter laughs. In a more serious tone, he says: “it’s important that people start to pay more attention on what they eat. The chemicals that many companies use to quickly produce great amounts of foods, are harmful to the body and nature. It costs more to eat healthy, but it’s worth it and doesn’t make you sick. Peter is also involved in agricultural research and the development of a new compost machine, for which he works together with people from all over Europe.
Skip a holiday per year for organic food
“Never cut back on healthy organic foods. Besides, it tastes much better than artificially modified food.” He sees some good developments in the upper classes of England. “Those people don’t want to eat non-organic food anymore. The rest will follow sooner or later.” However, there also are some bad developments. The Dutch Government wants to improve trade with the USA, which will lead to more artificially produced food.
The production of Domein Aldenborgh is around 45.000 bottles per year at the moment. Peter’s wine is very popular, but he is selective to whom he sells, in order to keep the right sales flow. “We only sell to good organic restaurants, such as ‘De Kas’ in Amsterdam. They combine my wine with the best food, to give the food a finishing touch.” Luckily, we were able to buy one bottle of his Eyra sparkling wine (EUR 28,50). Peter said goodbye and went on his way to watering his grapevines.
After this wonderful visit, we made a beautiful one-hour walk around Eys and alongside Peter’s vineyard, while talking about good wine, great people and nice food.