Climate change is a hot topic! Unfortunately very literally in Australia where devastating fires are causing great damage to human beings, animals, nature and vineyards by the time I am writing this short paper. Although recognized and proved by scientists, politicians are still debating about the cause. But go into the vineyards and speak to growers and everyone will admit that our climate is changing very fast. Bordeaux doesn’t know any real cold vintages anymore after 2002 and in Germany the warm vintages are not the best anymore. At the Terrasssenmosel some winegrowers are already looking forward by trying different grapes like chardonnay and in some parts, you will find Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon already.
In southern Europe, it is hardly impossible to find even an easy wine with less than 13% alcohol by volume! The northern border in Europe where grape growing is possible is moving upwards and areas in southern Europe are getting too hot for grape growing. All most every sommelier will have heard about grape growing in Denmark and even Norway and Sweden. Maybe you will have tried the first Scandinavian wines already.
However, have you tried Dutch wines as well? There are some rumours about grape growing during the Roman domination of northern Europe but vineyards came back for real at the end of the twentieth century. In the last two decades, Dutch vineyard plantings grew ongoing. Twenty years ago, Dutch wine was probably considered as only possible made by Piwi’s (pilzwiederständliche rebsorten) nowadays plantings of traditional varieties like Pinot noir, Riesling, Auxerrois and Pinot Gris are increasing fast. Especially in the south of the Netherlands (Limburg) around the cities of Maastricht and Roermond you will find more and more vineyards planted with those grapes.
Last years the first BOB’s (Beschermde Oorsprongsbenaming), comparable to AOP/g.U., are granted to Dutch wine. Winegrowers gained real experience last years about their terroirs and especially Pinot Gris or Grauburgunder is of very promising quality. Please try them as you can because you will be surprised. Some recommended producers are Apostelhoeve, de Wijngaardsberg, and Wijngoed Thorn. Moreover, the plantings of those traditional varieties are climbing upwards.
Although there is a romantic future for Dutch wine, Dutch winegrowers consider climate change as a real challenge last year. During the hot summers of 2018 and 2019 Dutch winegrowers reported already sunburned grapes in vineyards planted with chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Auxerrois. Those problems are probably incidentally but they are definitely due to climate change. Anyway, Dutch wine is to be taken seriously nowadays and we will see what the future will bring to the Netherlands. Although expecting Grenache from the Maas valley is probably a castle in the cloud.