Home-country grown wines have seen an increase in popularity lately. People are drawn to local products. A current trend, right up the alley of the historical domain te Dieren.
The winery is located at the edge of the village of Dieren in Gelderland, along the river IJsel. The history of the domain goes as far back as the 17th century, when the Dutch prince, Willem II van Oranje build a hunting lodge, with an accompanying vineyard. Almost the whole domain is surrounded by a high brick wall of almost 3 m tall. This was built in 1885 to create a unique meso climate. This makes this vineyard the biggest walled-in vineyard of The Netherlands.
Right on this historical site Youp and Riet Cretier farm grapes and make them into beautiful, creative wines and distillates. Youp Cretier has been making wine for his entire life and started this particular vineyard with his wife Riet in 2004. Today it is the home of almost 6000 vines spread over 2 ha of land. They make around 10 different types of organic wines. The common perception is that wines from The Netherlands get more and more popular due to global warming. This is only partially true, according to wine maker Cretier it is due to crossbreeds that are more resilient to the Dutch climate. These new varieties are not to be compared with ‘classic’ varieties and have the own character and this shows in aroma, taste and potential. All of the above describes the vision and approach of Cretier: creating a product with a reinvented, unique and own method, that differentiates itself.
Apart from the use of these new varieties, the grapes and the wine are treated in the most natural way possible. The soil, the land and the vine are kept as healthy and vital as the can. The soil gets fertilized with green and leaf fertilizers, in between the vines there are herbs and flowers that function as an alarm. Insects get fought off by using their natural enemies. The way to protect from frost in the spring is by mixing the layers of air, so that the soil and the vines do not get damaged by frost. A large proportion of Cretier’s wines get the label of EU Organic Brand.
I got the opportunity to taste different wines and experience first hand what makes these wines so unique. Two editions of Johanniter, Regent, Tawny Trop, Red Muscat and Muscat Rouge d’Animaux were tasted extensively.
A Johanniter, vintage 2018, was tasted next to a Johanniter made according to the Orange-method. Orange wines are an upcoming trend, one which we will see more and more of this year. It gets made according to the red wine method, where the skins get fermented along in the process. Which lead to a more deep color and intense taste. The first Johanniter gave a tinkling mouthfeel, with crisp citrus, concluding with the bitterness of grapefruit. The orange got more ripe and tropical fruit. The tinkling, acidity and bitterness, where still there but a lot more subtle. The traditional Johanniter is best matched with lean fish and shellfish, while the orange is better matched with richer fish and lighter meat.
The grape variety Regent has it’s origin in Germany and is widely planted there along with countries like The Netherlands and Belgium. These wines are mostly known for having a full body and are high in tannins, which makes these wines rather harsh in taste. Even for this Cretier has found a unique solution, by altering the winemaking process. The Regent gets fermented in steel tanks (instead of in oak barrels) and oak wood chips are added and fermented along. This way the amount of tannins is less and the tannins are softer. When the dead yeast falls to the bottom of the tank, it gets stirred back into the wine every day. The wine ages ‘sur lie’. This for around 36 months. This gives the wine a fuller and more complex flavor and mouthfeel. The tannins are also less invasive.
The Tawny Trop is also made from the Regent grape and goes through the same process as the Port from Portugal. This can not be called Port, when made in The Netherlands, and is called Trop creatively. The Tawny ages for no less than 9 years and has developed soft ret fruit characters, along with raisons and the complexity of Regent. Deliciously paired with soft, young Dutch cheeses.
The most unique story of all was that of the red Muscat. Youp decided to plant several rows of this table grape. The uniqueness of this has to be found in the difference between wine grapes and table grapes. The goal of table grapes is not to make wine of them, but just to eat. This is more suited for these types of grapes. Luckily Youp did not agree with this! First a dry red wine was made from these grapes. Because this wine did not show that much complexity, it was not longer sold, but stored in tanks. After some time 3 different vintages were combined into a sweet dessert wine called the Muscat Rouge d’ Animaux. This wine does indeed own the complexity of ripe red tropical fruits, raisins, dried plums and strawberries and a touch of chocolate. This wine is absolute heaven with strong cheeses or a chocolate dessert.
The above discussed wines are only a selection out of the assortment of the domain. If you want to see the whole range, go to www.domeinhoftedieren.nl
You can physically visit the winery at the address below:
Domain Hof te Dieren
6953 AX Dieren