It's 2012 so lots of people are drinking bubbles these days. If we say that Belgium also has a wine culture loads of people will frown but we actually do have some excellent sparkling wines in Belgium (we cannot say 'champagne' since the only sparkling wine that can be referred to as champagne is the wine produced in that specific region of France).
In the 14th century, each city in Belgium had its own vineyard, whether within or outside the city walls. The cities of Tournai, Leuven, Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Thuin, Hal, Dinant, Namur, Tongeren and Huy, among others, have left signs of their vinicultural activities in the form of local place names such as Wijnberg or mount of vines, Wijngaard which is Dutch for vineyard, Vivegnies and Vinalmont. Climatic conditions in the 15th century presented difficulties for viniculture, with the onset of the Little Ice Age.
Nowadays Belgian wine is produced in several parts of Belgium and production, although still modest at 1,400 hectoliter in 2004, has expanded in recent decades. The I Love Belgium team wants to present to you some Belgian bubbles for 2012, variety is the spice of life!
First of all we have the Cuvée Seigneur Ruffus. This sparkling wine is a Blanc de Blancs, meaning that it's made from 100 % Chardonnay grapes. In 2011 it won a silver medal on the Concours Mondial, also labeled the “wine world-championship” with 6000 participating products from the four continents. The jury of the Concours Mondial brings together international wine experts from 40 nationalities every year.
Cuvée Seigneur Ruffus
The second Belgian bubbles proposal is also a medal winner. The Chardonnay Meerdael won a gold medal during the Concours Mondial in 2009 in Valencia. It was the first time that a Belgian wine was awarded this prestigious medal. In 1994, Paul and An Vleminckx-Lefever proceeded with the planting of 21.000 grapevines of Chardonnay on an estate in Vaalbeek, after concertation with experts from the Champagne region, with the prospect of producing a sparkling wine of the Blanc de Blancs type. The plantation technique, the method of pruning and the caring of the vineyard are done according the latest highly technological standards, and the proof is in the pudding euhh... sparkling wine!
And third but not last is the Schorpion Brut Zwart. The Schorpion is also a Blanc de Blancs made from Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois grapes. In 2009 it won the Best Belgian Wine award, a competition organized by a group of Belgian sommeliers.
Schorpion Brut Zwart
Feeling light headed already after all those bubbles? The I Love Belgium team wishes al their readers a wonderful 2012 full of happiness and health. Cheers!