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First guide to Belgian wine published as industry grows 25% in a year
A guide to Belgium’s ever-growing range of wines has been published for the first time.
Le Guide des Vins Belges lists 162 Belgian vintages which were carefully selected by a jury. Only three of them obtained the maximum score of five stars: the Cuvée Réserve Brut from Chant d’Eole, the Ruffus Chardonnay Brut Sauvage and the Zilveren Parel Brut 2014 from Genoels-Elderen.
Another 14 wines received a 4.5-star rating. "In terms of quality, for sure, we can compete with the French," said Bertrand Hautier, winemaker at Domaine du Chapitre in Nivelles. Its Pinot Noir Brut Nature is one of those to be awarded 4.5 stars. "There are a lot of vineyards in Belgium which have awards. Having them all brought together in the same guide will help establish their renown".
Belgian wine production is growing rapidly. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the number of winegrowers increased by 25%. Belgium has nearly 200 of them. In one year, the area of vineyards has increased by 33%.
"For two or three years, there has been planting everywhere,” said Hautier. “Within a radius of 10km around our home, there are six or seven that have planted this year or last year, with vineyards of two to three hectares, rather than very small sizes.”
Illustrating this growth is the announcement that Brussels now has its first sparkling wine. Gudule Winery, located near Tour & Taxis, has unveiled its first cuvée of made in Brussels bubbly called "Effervescence at the Palace.”
It’s an organic wine with fine bubbles, slightly fruity - a project on which the CEO of the young Brussels-based company, Thierry Lejeune, had been working for several months
“Sparkling wine represents nearly 95% of the total wine production in Belgium, so we had to set ourselves apart from what already existed with a product which sticks to the spirit of Gudule, namely an original organic wine,” he said. “We therefore blended Grüner Veltliner, an Austrian white grape, with Pinot Noir from Burgundy and Riesling from the German Moselle.”
Some 5,000 bottles were produced. The official sale will start on 1 November, but it is already possible to pre-order it until 10 October. It will sell for €24 a bottle, or €132 for six.