Âllo, âllo, Bonjour!

Here we are again. Still flabbergasted by the results of the nation wide slurp research. In this edition of Slurp! the worrying results, plus a few other disclosures, like an autopsy of the wine bottle, a pile of merde and some cheese that’ll make you think twice about entering the room.

Results of the nation wide slurp research
Almost 2000 wine drinkers participated in our slurp-research. The Results? Well those are quite hard to swallow for a winemaker: after spending four seasons cuddling the grapes as if they were newly born babies, you pour your hart and soul in to it for months on end to try and make a wine so good that the angles in heaven will spontaneously start to sing and create a halo for every bottle, and what does the average Dutch wine drinker do? They pour it down their throats without it leaving even the slightest hint of taste.

Oxygenium necesse est

During the vinification and the bottling the wine is closed off from oxygen for long periods of time. To be able to taste the wine properly after that, it is crucial to have some form of assimilation with oxygen: that way the molecules of smell and taste are released. Experienced wine drinkers do so by swirling the wine in its glass after which they ‘slurp’.

Our research tells us however that three quarters of the Dutch wine drinkers swallows the wine without the necessary ‘slurping’ because slurping it is seen as ‘improper’ and ‘a repulsive noise’.
A perpetual was of that delicious wine! Try it: take a sip en just swallow it. Then take another sip but keep it in your mouth and suck in air through pursed lips.
You’ll see that with the last method the wine tastes a lot better

Cliquez ici for the results of the slurp-investigation




Who, during the period after the grape harvest, travels through France will undoubtedly see many big piles of bloody, foul smelling stuff while passing the wine estates. Fertilizer?


The French, just like the Dutch and the Brits, hold only the fussiest of warm feelings for their government. When Napoleon wanted to raise his ‘Grande Armée’ the thumbscrews of the taxmen were already set to squees at breaking point. Wondering how he could get just a little bit more out of his subordinates, the small emperor came up with the idea to put a ‘harvest-tax’ on winemakers. Two percent had to be given to l’état. That might not seem to be much but as France has yearly wine production of about five billion liters, he probably had stood a better chance of beating the Russians if he’d tried to drown them in it.
The French wine makers are, however, not tupid, so they didn’t resist the new law and happily handed over two percent of their grapes… but not before they they made wine out of them.


The wine press; for a whole year it has been standing in a faraway corner of the wine cellar collecting dust. About three weeks after the harvest, then the grapes have become wine, he’ll be moved towards the sunlight and abruptly awoken by a few jets of water.


The wine is pumped in to another cuve. The grapes have pressed themselves by means of their own weight and the grape skins lie at the bottom. Régis is shoveling out of the cuve to put the skins in the press, which will be used for the first time this year.



The skins are the biggest suppliers of tannins, pressing hard would result in too much of that sourish stuff. Therefore the grape jackets are pressed with a carefulness as if they were rose petals; the wine press starts to bleed.


Nevertheless, this Vin de presse is always rich in tannins, which is why we keep it carefully separated from the rest of the wine. Not until next year with the assemblage, do we add a small amount of it to the Château de la Garde 2009.


Napoleons law of 1812 has never been changed. Even today wine makers throughout France dump all their press grape skins, with a diabolical smile, next to their castle gates, which will be picked up by a government truck. Voilá, la Republique Française, Santé! With compliments of the wine maker!

PS: The French government, amongst other things, distills alcohol from these pressed grape skins with medicinal purposes. It’s possible that when I cut myself in my finger during the next harvest that the wound will be cleaned by alcohol made from my own grapes. A pleasing thought.


Having caviar every day also becomes common. The same goes for Bordeaux wine, so we, while at the Auchan in Bordeaux, opted for a red wine from the Loire region.
There, in the cool climate of mid-France, they use the ‘cabernet franc-grape to make red wines that taste like flint and woodland strawberries. You should drink them while they’re cool and because of their playful, fruity character they can accompany both meat and fish.

When, at dinnertime, we were back at the castle-table and opened the bottle the fruit blew out of it like a summer breeze.
The Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil 'Domaine Le Grollay' swirled carmine-red in to the glasses and enthusiastically embraced the grilled Dorade; it was a full, but not too heavy wine, nice and juicy, with a lovely aftertaste. Light, because it has zero oak. A surprising success for  £3.88

Reason enough to schedule a stop on the way back to The Netherlands at its producer.

Buying wine from the wineboer

Around Tours the landscape changes from green to cream-white. Castles, built out of limestone gotten from the very ground the castles stand on, rise out of the white earth.
We cross the Loire, a wide stream of cooling water for the centrales nucleaires,on the way to Domaine Le Grollay, just ouside of Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil.


First the wine, then the church. This is a prospering wine region, among other things due to this separation of main points and side points.
A ‘no bullshit-wine region’: they work hard, they don’t care about appearances and the good, but modest wines change hands for a healthy price.
In spite of theexcellent quality they remained remarkably affordable, because of this appelations like Chinon and Bourgueil have had a stable market share, and have had for many years.

Cliquez ici for the juicy details of this trip

Adventuring thought the wine label

If you have an eye for it, you can read a winelabel like an exciting book.
If you manage to get through the forest of rules and to the main denomination clouded in mystery, dive in to the bushes of small print you can complete the confusion.
The hardly visible letters raise more questions than answers. And thusly the knowledge thirsty wine devotee sinks ever deeper in to the smoke and mirrors of letter combinations and extraterrestrial codes.

How does that work?

Cliquez ici for wine makers secrets about the wine label


An exquisitely stinky smell

According to wine-connaisseurs it is better to have white than red wine to accompany cheese. The acids in the white wine are more capable of standing up against the often strong taste of cheese.
But I think red wine and cheese is a divine combination. So for me nothing beats a nice red Bordeaux en a French cheese.
Of all the French cheeses, I think there are about 3,986 of them, I always find a simple well-made Camembert to be delicious. You really taste the terroir of la Normandie; like you take a bite out of the stables.
Camembert exists in various brands and in increasing degrees of intensity, but among the French is Le Rustique as the toughest. I think its explicitly called ‘Le Rustique’ and not ‘La’ Rustique, because this is a masculine cheese. A Camembert with guts, so to say.
But cheese is a living product, just like in love and wine: you have to get the Camembert in to the right mood. Get it at least four hours in advance out of the fridge, so it’ll be nice and smooth and serve in on a worn thick breadboard, preferably with an old farmers knife.


In our Château de la Garde private-wine cellar one can find hundreds of different tasteful wines in all price ranges, but with a cheese like Le Rustique I prefer to drink a juicy Tulipe Rouge.
Ofcourse because its my own wine, but also because the berry-like fruit in this young Bordeaux wine is can hold his own against that thick, creamy cheese for real men.
Allez, hearty Santé & Bon Appétit!

Books eclipse the horizon


Merde! I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone. Eye to eye with your own testosterone. A gigantic printing office in uproar, only because some wine farmer just had something to say. My God… a wall of pallets with Slurps, smiling at me…


And it doesn’t stop! Enough to make you dizzy!

! I hope that this denotation doesn’t reflect upon the publisher Bruna!   Luckily the machine making the bookmark-ribbons (colour: ‘dauphin bleu’) crashed.  

This however didn’t last, the specialist (dresscode: ‘dauphin bleu’), in desperation flown in from Paris, managed to restore the machine to its former glory and the projected print of 20,000 copies was reached in no time at all.

Santé! Et à la prochaine!





Slurp! The new wineboerenbook,
€ 14,95. In stores now.