Summer! Time for drinks on the terrace, boating, and new blog posts. Time to make the balcony or the backyard dangerous with fruity white wines, sparkling rosés, and red powerhouses. Get your feet up and keep Explore Utrecht open in your browser. I’m going into the city for you to find the best wines to drink at home and the nicest shops where you can find these bottles. Wine & The City. Enjoy!
As soon as you walk into this refreshing shop, you’re warmly greeted by the owner. With a shop in Breukelen, a role as a supplier to the catering industry, and the position of ‘wine shop sommelier’ on Biltstraat, Patrick is a busy man. He’s crazy about wine and is happy to tell you the story behind the bottle. But his favorite thing to do is to give advice, and his personal touch means that his clients always return. The wines are mostly organic or biodynamic, so they’re responsible drinks. You can also find beautiful whiskeys and gins here. And not only that! There’s a tasting room and a courtyard behind the store. Wine tastings, gin workshops, and summer barbecues are organized here. What a fun surprise, and what a hospitable owner! He gave me three wines to try, either with a story or just because they’re really good. (Address: Biltstraat 24)
The story behind the bottle
The ugly liter
Mehofer – Gruner Veltliner – Wagram
Ha! A real hit. This liter of Gruner Veltliner, the most famous Austrian grape, is no feast for the eyes. But Patrick assures me that this ‘ugly liter’, as he almost lovingly calls it, can’t be judged by its cover. So here we are, I unscrew the cork. Wow! What a fresh appearance, delicious fruity with a tingling on the tong. The wine smells like anise seed and blossom, and a bit further away like fresh grass. It transports me to green Austrian meadows. We’re this close to yodeling! Delicious with goat’s cheese, crustaceans or shellfish. By the way, should you want a prettier bottle, but still with this tingling content, there’s also a 75cl bottle available with a chicer label. It also costs about as much as its ‘ugly’ big brother. Good story, right?
A French candy
Domaine de la Baume – Viognier – Pays D’oc
Those smells! I haven’t even put my nose in the glass yet, and I’m already welcomed by the sweet smells of apricot, banana, and a touch of honey. Topped off with orange zest. Oh man, I really want a sip. Slurp! Peach-y, herbaceous, and deliciously creamy. So deliciously full in the mouth, like shortbread melting on your tongue. Surprising in both smell and taste, and slightly tropical, but with a fresh finish. This would be delicious to drink with a spicy Asian dish – this Viognier cannot be deterred. Admittedly, I love these sorts of cheeky wines, those that don’t hide in the glass. Fortunately, others love them too: this is a favorite at Patrick’s store and he didn’t want to take this French candy away from me. Merci beaucoup!
A tough Spaniard
Matsu – Tinta de Toro – Toro
Matsu means something like ‘waiting’ in Japanese. Matsu is a triptych, but I’m drinking ‘El Picaro’, the youngest of the wines. The two following wines are ripened in wooden barrels for longer and thus develop different flavors. These Matsu wines pay tribute to waiting for such a beautiful product. The three bottles have gorgeous labels: the young man, the father, and the grandfather. This homage to wine leads to nice wines and creative ideas! This tempranillo is purple-red in color, which makes me curious. When I smell the scents of blueberries and blackberries, I want to know how it tastes! Fruity, still fresh, and not too heavy. In the background I taste licorice candies, namely black-and-white ones. The tannin, the substance in red wine that makes your mouth feel dry, is present but not annoying. A steak would go well with this. The wine is tough, strong, and smooth, just like the handsome Spaniard on the label. How about another glass, good-looking?
*Rating for the wines goes from one hart t five harts.
Address: Biltstraat 24