Cuvée XII 2022 – Apostelhoeve.
Some of our regular friends express their curiosity asking if the Netherlands could produce wine. In contrast, wine-lover friends raise an eyebrow that Holland should not produce high-quality wines due to the climatic condition in rainy northern Europe. Such prejudice might be understandable, but did you know that in Médoc, Bordeaux, the swamped soil was drained by the Dutch so that it could be one of the sought-after wine regions in the world in the 17th century, or the southern part of the Netherlands has made wines since the middle age?
About the Region
Apostelhoeve is located close to the city of the Maastricht in the Limburg province, bordering Germany and Belgium. Limburg is the oldest and largest wine estate in the Netherlands, historically having produced table wines made with hybrid grape varieties that can handle the more challenging climate. In the northern limit as a wine-producing region, slightly exceeding 50° at the latitude, the area has a long sunshine hour in its growing season, increasing sugar contents while retaining high acidity in the grapes. The soils are marl, a mixture of limestone and mudstone or pebbles. Limestone, known for soils in the Champagne region, can provide a good balance of water holdings in the soil, and pebbles can retain heat and thus has a positive influence in the northern area. As a member of EU countries, quality wines in the Netherlands have also been designated based on the same regulations as other classic wine regions. In 1970, the potential alcohol here seemed to be about 10 percent, and producers needed to trick it into balance with the high acidity in the wines. But climate change has positively impacted this region, and 12.5 to 13% percent is typical yearly. The average temperature in Limburg seems to be the same as in Burgundy in the early 1980s. Overall, the Limburg region in the Netherlands can be said to have the potential to produce high-quality wine, which is an interesting area to keep an eye on.
About the Winery
Apostelhoeve was the first winery in the Netherlands to produce the high-quality wines in 1970 when wines made with hybrid varieties were common. Currently, their third generation also joins its grape growing and winemaking, with 20 hectares to grow five different grape varieties planted: Müller-Thurgau, Auxerrois, Riesling, Pinot Gris, and, since 2020 also, Viognier. In addition to still wines, the Apostelhoeve also makes two beautiful sparkling wines. When the visionary Hugo Hulst, the founder, started the winery in this area, none believed in the success, but now the situation has changed. They plant the Northern Rhone specialty, Viognier, with expect to ripen enough. It is still challenging, but their pioneering spirit has also been given to their third generation.
Cuvée XII 2022 has 40% Müller-Thurgau, 30% Auxerrois and 30% Pinot Gris. The pale lemon color shows the characteristics of grapes from the cool climate. But the aromas are surprisingly exotic from the color with higher intensity, ranging from melon, fresh young pineapple, rambutan, cinnamon, white pepper, blossom, and wet stone on the nose. On the palate, citrus flavors such as lemon, lime zest, and yellow grapefruit with high acidity are the dominant character, and the eye-opening acidity stands out on the first day, which initially brought us to a 88/100 DWA Score.
However, the acidity was more integrated on the second day, and the fruity aromas with multiple layers were more focused, which brings us to a final 90/100 score. It is a delightful wine for now, but aging in a couple of years would expand its fruitiness with a more harmonious profile to be a wine with more layered.
Climate change has given many different topics worldwide, but they have worked positively here. The time may come when countries and regions once thought of as northern countries will frequently appear on the stage of wine production. We cannot take our eye off of this wine from the Netherlands.
Other Apostelhoeve wines we reviewed:
This review is written by our own Kazumi Uejo. This wine and other Apostelhoeve wines are available at Bovino Wines.
Taste date: April 2023
Score: 90/100 DWA Score