Wine Stories

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Blog” _builder_version=”4.21.0″ _module_preset=”default” background_color=”RGBA(255,255,255,0)” background_enable_image=”off” parallax=”on” background_enable_mask_style=”on” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_row _builder_version=”4.21.0″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”4.21.0″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_post_title meta=”off” _builder_version=”4.21.0″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][/et_pb_post_title][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Blog” _builder_version=”4.21.0″ _module_preset=”default” background_color=”#ffffff” background_enable_image=”off” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_row _builder_version=”4.21.0″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”4.21.0″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_accordion _builder_version=”4.21.0″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”][et_pb_accordion_item title=”Interview with Margaux Hyacinthe ” open=”on” _builder_version=”4.21.0″ _module_preset=”default” global_colors_info=”{}”]Margaux Hyacinthe, known from MH wines, is a young entrepreneur with a great passion for international trade and new world wines. Together with her partner in crime, the dog Jimmy, she functions as a liaison between new world winemakers and importers within Europe. On top of that she has her own portfolio of beautiful, carefully selected wines for the Dutch hospitality market and wine shops. A power woman? I would say so!

Margaux was born in a small town called Cholet in the Loire Valley, France. The town has the big city of Nantes on the left-hand side and the wine region of Anjou on the right-hand side. From a very young age Margaux has always been exposed to good wine and wine making, as an insertion of a way of life. With friends she would frequently visit cellars to participate in wine tastings and quality bottles of wine were uncorked during family gatherings.
Thought even with all that exposure, Margaux decided to pursuit her first passion and study master’s in international trade & Supply management. Which would come in handy in her later enterprise. During her study’s, she did internships in Barcelona and Ecuador, enabling her to develop speaking the Spanish language.

After graduation Margaux planned to apply to a company in the US, but lucky for us the company decided to let Margaux start her job in The Netherlands. Her parents are profound fans of quality wine, and has led Margaux, that is named after a famous wine region in Bordeaux, to develop an interest in wines in general, and quality wines in specific. She decided to study WSET 2 and WSET 3 to gain more knowledge and feed her interest and passion. During these study’s she became more and more aware of the quality coming from new world countries and she became curious about wines coming from outside of the classical old world.

A few years ago, she founded the company MHDL Wines together with her mentor from Chile, who introduced her to the beauty of Chilean wines. After two years, Margaux got the opportunity to have full ownership and renamed it MH wines!
MH wines today has grown and developed so much since it was founded and is so much more than your typical importer. She took it on as her mission bring more diversity to the Dutch market. Her specialty in new world wines ensures that consumers and sommeliers from The Netherlands know that there is more quality wine out there, other than coming from your typical France, Spain or Italy. Being French herself, this shows for a high level of awareness. Focussing on new world wines, in her words, brings more challenge and bigger risk to the mix.
“If I would focus only on French wine, my portfolio would sell itself. But now I have the chance to introduce the wines, explain about them and really educate people.” Says Margaux
“Working with challenge brings me more fulfilment.” According to Margaux.
This only fuels her passion.

During her travels and conversations with winemakers, Margaux noticed that a lot of them had trouble getting foot in the European market, that is still dominated by the classic world. She also noticed that small importers in Europe not always find a way to reach wineries on the other side of the world. The shipment to countries within the European Union has a complex supply chain. This challenge makes importers stay mainly within Europe. Which is a shame because this leads to lost chances. Luckily Margaux found a way to help both the wineries and the importers! She is able to ship containers of wine from all over the world to her warehouse in Amsterdam, after that she sells smaller quantities of this wine to importers all over Europe, 16 of them in total. This way she is acting as a project manager and covers all the paperwork for shipment and sale to the importers. That way a winery from Chile has the chance to penetrate the European market and an importer from Greece has the chance to expand their portfolio with these wines. An amazing thing Margaux is doing!

Of course Margaux does not stand alone, her partner in crime, or should I say mascot is the wonderful Jimmy! Jimmy is a furry Australian Shepard and the cutest thing you have ever seen. Jimmy manages the social media marketing, where he looks amazing in every picture, he visits wineries along with Margaux and ensures that clients feel comfortable. Jimmy is a vital part of MH Wines!

With her eye on the future, Margaux wishes to continue to inspire and educate people, being the liaison between new world wineries and European importers, and adding a few new countries to the mix, like Australia or the US.

Follow Margaux and of course Jimmy online on Instagram @Margaux.wines and or visit the website

Thank you, Margaux Hyacinthe, for this exclusive interview!


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Tomas Munoz is like a fresh wind blowing through Vina Errazuriz, much like the ocean winds blowing through the Aconcagua Valley, providing the wines with an elegant well balanced and yet innovating touch.
Today we had the chance to have a private one-on-one chat with the newest winemaker from one of Chili’s most prominent wineries. An inside look on what thrives him, what his vision is on Chilean wines in general, the Errazuriz’s wines in particular, and how the wine industry handles topics like sustainability and the increasing popularity of the use of local products. I was able to meet up with him at the bistro of hotel Karel V in Utrecht, where I was able to taste some of his excellent wines and got to pair them immediately with beautifully created dishes from the restaurant.

The Estate of Errazuriz was founded by Don Maximiano Errazuriz in 1870 and he was actually the first person to plant French grape varieties in the entire region of the Aconcagua Valley. It is no surprise that the winery grew to become one of the most famous high-quality wineries of Chili and enjoys worldwide fame. The new winemaker follows in the footsteps of winemaker Francisco Baettig Hidalgo, who remains involved overseeing the premium wine range and to act as an internal consultant. Tomas graduated as an oenologist in 2014 and has since gained experience working in vineyards with various soils and climates in different parts of the world. From internships at Crawford Wines in New Zealand and Delicato Family vineyards in California, to assistant winemaker at Grupo Santa Rita and Vina Carmen in Buin, Chili. This has led hem to become a winemaker at Errazuriz for little longer than a year before he became chief winemaker in June 2022.

Not being a stranger to the company, Tomas understands the vision and sees it aligned with its own, which is working in an innovating matter, but maintain certain traditions throughout the process. Grape varieties such as Carmenere, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot have already proven to be quite successful in Chile and now Tomas aspires to do the same with other varieties such as the Syrah and even Malbec. The key element is to produce wines that remain elegant and well- balanced. With that in mind what you need to expect from the Syrah is more of a Rhone-style, rather than an Australian one. A big factor in achieving this is making use of the natural elements in a correct way. The Aconcagua Valley lies between two mountain ranges, the Andes, and the Coast Ranges. The vineyards start somehow at the beginning of the valley, approximately 100 km south of the capital Santiago. Along the Coast Range there are certain gaps that allow breezes to blow in from the Pacific Ocean, the valley then functions as a funnel, having the wind travelling throughout the valley. This wind will have a cooling effect during the evening on the vines, which will preserve the natural acidity in the grapes. This will then define its colour, intensity of the nose and the aging potential, by making it deeper, more complex, and longer to age. This will also improve the health of the vines because the wind will blow the vines dry and reduces the risks of diseases and the use of pesticides. This leads to older vines with better fruit and more concentrated flavours.
Rocks in the vineyards can create coves to shield certain grape varieties from the breeze, instead of exposing them. The philosophy is to keep exploring different options that can lead to innovating results. Due to the natural benefits that the valley provides, Errazuriz will continue to produce wines from vines coming from this valley alone. Hence there is no desire to experiment in different regions. The climate is very mild and does not contain extreme temperatures like a very harsh winter or overly hot summer. There is rain falling mostly in winter, but usually stops when September comes around. Even though too much rain tends to be an issue it does not pose a huge threat, like it would in other regions of the wine world. In years that does not have enough rain, water coming down from the Andes mountains will be used to irrigate the grapes.
With that in mind, Tomas foresees the 2022 vintage to be a rather year providing wines with lively colour and well- balanced acidity. Also, the 2023 vintage is looking good, as there has been the right amount of rain this previous winter.
Subtle, elegant wines with an expression of the terroir remain the strive of the winery. Not only the breeze or the morning fog will help retain acidity or add complexity, but also the soil will play a big part in it. The most common rock is a volcanic cyst that breaks down in layers, vertically in the ground, that way the roots of the vines need to enter through the layers in order to get to the water. This however does not stress the vine, but it makes it work just a little harder so the balance of nutrients will be found. This again shows in the subtle, elegant character of the wines. The more selected blocks of the vineyards will add more complexity to the wines and are reserved for the more premium range such as La Pizarras for producing a highly complex Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah.  The range ‘Max’ has a certain type of Chardonnay coming from selected vineyards rather close to the ocean, so it can retain the acidity even better. It creates a creamy texture during the time it spends on the lees and aging notes from the 10-month period in wooden barrels. Leading to an interaction of refreshing citrus fruit, green pineapple, and a touch of vanilla on the palate. Perfect for dishes with scallops, salmon or even chicken and veal.

The flagship wines are named after its founder Don Maximiano and just go by the name of ‘Villa Don Maximiano’. I was able to taste the vintage 2017, which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Grenache and Mourvedre. It has spent 22 moths in oak barrels, 50% new. Sublte hints of red fruits, along with blackcurrent, dried tea leaves, subtle oak, and elegant yet present tannins. A wine like this went beautiful with the slow cooked beef cheek I ordered at Karel V.

As discussed above the climate conditions work in favour of striving towards a sustainable approach, however Tomas believes that it goes much further than this. Sustainability is more than keeping the vines healthy, not using any pesticide, or reducing the use of heavier glass bottles. For him it also goes to the mental and physical health of the employees. Employees remain the most valuable asset in a business, keeping then healthy and happy is a major part in whether your business will succeed. This is also being sustainable. A statement that we can only applaud.
The tendence around the world is to work with more and more local products. We see it happening in countries like the Netherlands, Belgium and around Europe, but also in Chili. The aim of being CO2 neutral is becoming more and more the norm everywhere. Errazuriz works on that by getting local products supplied to them when hosting various events or receptions. The consumptions of local wines will also be promoted. Of course, a big part of the business is international export, and being CO2 neutral is the answer to this in terms of transport through vehicles and airplanes. Also vats of local wood will be used to age certain wines. The year 2013 is a tipping point in this topic, where due to climate chance the use wood was reduced. Therefore, Chili has always had the reputation of having basic, bulk and fruit driven wines. Being fruit driven does not mean that it would be less in quality, but it does add to the image that many people have of Chilean wines. The county as a whole however is now trying to change that image by enforcing stricter regulations and bringing higher quality to the market. This all of course with Vina Errazuriz and Tomas Munoz playing a leading role in this change.

The whole team at The Story of My wine wants to wish Tomas the best of luck on his new career path and excitingly look forward to his new wines and what he does next!

For more information I happily refer to the winery’s website on


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Alina wines are part of the portfolio of Solo Vino, that specialize in Italian wines and South Africa. Even though the importers of this wonderful group are able to present the wines on it in all its glory, it is always very inspirational to meet the winemaker behind the wine. This time the source of inspiration was none other than Ntsiki Biyla, the female winemaker of Aslina wines from South Africa. During this exclusive masterclass in the Italian restaurant La Galleria at Kurhausplein in Scheveningen, we got to pick her brain, and taste a selection of her wines.

When saying the word inspiration, it has not to be taking lightly at all, because Ntsiki started her wine career as head-winemaker at Stellekaya Wines and was the first female winemaker of colour in the entire country of South Africa. Since then, she is known fer her ground breaking work that has lead to fame around the wine world. She has been honoured by awards in many fields, like Female Wine maker of South Africa 2009 and Diversity and Transformation in 2021. This honour and fame will only grow after she founded her very own company in 2017. Aslina Wines, named after her grandmother, has become a red thread throughout her work and life. The grapes used for the wine generally come from around Western Cape, like Elgin, Stellenbosch, and Paarl.

We got the opportunity to taste 6 of her wines and the first thing I noticed, within the first two, was how much of an importance the vintage has, not only for red but also for the whites. We started by tasting the Sauvignon Blanc 2019 that was fermented on stainless steel and after being aged on the lees. That way a creamier texture will be achieved, and the level of acidity will be softer. The nose starts of rather closed and throughout the aromas and palate I did feel it lacked Sauvignon Blanc character. However, this does not mean that the wine lacks complexity! This is a beautiful new version of the Sauvignon Blanc with upcoming notes of minerals and a crispy aftertaste.

After that we got to taste the 2020 Sauvignon Blanc. Now this did have all the characters that you expect from a Sauvignon, thinking of gooseberries and freshly cut grass. Then this one did not contain the same level of complexity as the 2019 did. So, if you are looking for a complex white to match with different kinds of food, no doubt goes for the 2019!

In terms of creating the Chardonnay, Ntisiki wanted to pursue a style that has elegance and is not overloaded with oak. For the 2020 parts of the grapes come from the area around Stellenbosch, which is know for it’s thicker Chardonnays. The grapes of Paarl and Elgin were fermented on stainless and then aged on oak, the oak and the creaminess is toned down due to not using battonage during the process. Still the wine presents itself as very balanced and soft with a medium complexity and the typical Southern African scent of steamed white vegetables. In the 2021 vintage the nose brings a lot more minerals, fruit, and complexity. On the brings also characters to the mix, however, does not strike to be a smooth as you would expect from a Chardonnay. The wine is able to be cellared for a few years longer, but no more than 3.

After this we come to the premium selection of the reds, which is the specialty of Ntisiki. The Cabernet Sauvignon of 2018 consists of 86% and supplemented with Petit Verdot. The wine is very subtle with soft notes of red fruits, along with distinctive Cabernet notes like shaved pencil, cedarwood and nutmeg. Beautiful blend that needs to develop some more over time.
The Bordeaux blends that are used for last two reds are made with the majority of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. These wines get the name ‘Umsasane’, her grandmothers nickname.  The 2018 has a lot of red fruit characters and still has a tart finish. Which indicates that it still needs to age for quite some time. The 2019 vintage is ready to drink now, after four years of aging. This is the trophy wine that just has an explosion of aromas. From where I am standing however, I feel that the 2018 will surpass the 2019 in a few years’ time, leaving it behind in complexity and quality.

We like to say thank you for this beautiful masterclass and the whole team of The Story of My Wine wishes Ntsiki the best of luck in her career and are looking forward to see and taste more of her ground breaking work!


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The country of Moldova has, along with other countries surrounding the Black Sea, suffered from communistic occupation which had led to poorly maintained vineyards and a lower quality of wine. However, terroir and climate contain perfect elements to produce high quality grapes. A lot of lost potential.  Slowly this whole area is investing in reclaiming its position it once had in the wine world. More and more high-quality grapes are harvested, and interesting wines is exported to Western-Europe and soon the rest of the world!

A couple of months ago a befriended importer brought Moldovan wines to the tasting table. I was very curious as I find Eastern-European wines very interesting and exciting. Usually new aromas and flavours are brought to the palate and create new gastronomical possibilities. However, the wines my friend served did not meet my expectation and left me rather disappointed. I did know in the back of my mind that there had to be high quality coming from this country as well, so needless to say I was very excited to attend this masterclass of Wines of Moldova and hoping that this would confirm my beliefs.

Coming from Western Europe, wines coming from a country like Moldova are very unusual. However, as this article will show, a lot of West European influences are making their way in the wine world over there. Before getting into that, let us first talk about the history of the country. Archaeological findings have shown that there was already wine making as far as 5000 BC. No doubt coming over from the Caucasus mountain range, where wine making originated from. That explains the presence of high numbers of Caucasus grape varieties in the country.
Moldova is situated in an enclave between Romania and Ukraine. It does not lie right next to the Black Sea, but the sea does influence the climate enormously. The winters are short, yet cold and the summers are long and hot.
Moldova always had a hard time not to be occupied by another nation, however it was the ancient Greeks and Romans that did spike the trade on an economical level, which led to higher quality of grapes and an increase in production. Being a part of Russia in the 19th century, the wines were of very high quality and were being shipped to the Tsar Alexander the first. Because he wanted to increase the quality, the Tsar invited a lot of French wine makers to come and educate the Moldovan farmers on how to reach the best results with their grapes. This was done by bringing a lot of French varieties to the country. Explains why there is still a lot of wine made from the Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Aligoté, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay today. Also, German winemakers came, introducing the Riesling grape.

Phylloxera, along with both world wars did a lot of damage to the vineyards and the wine industry as a whole. After the second world war, Moldova became part of communistic occupation and fell victim to the neglect of vineyards with a decrease in quality. The country became independent in 1991 and has since been working very hard to reclaim its position. The results are stunning, and it already reached a high position once again in the region of the Black Sea. Now Moldova is ready to show Western-Europe and the rest of the wine world what it’s made of!
This current presence in the West has partially to do with the export bans that Russia has made on wines of Moldova to Russia, respectively in 2006 and 2013, leading the way to export to other countries.

During this masterclass we got the chance to get an introduction to high quality Moldovan wines and how they pair very well gastronomically. The focus of Moldovan wines used to be laying on semi-sweet reds, but now we see an increase in production of dry reds, whites and even sparkling.

In terms of legislation there is still a lot to be done, and for now the regions are categorized in IGP’s or PGI (Protected Geographical Indication). We divide Codru, Stefan Voda, Valul Lui Traian and Divin.

The Codru region is located in the heart of the country, so the very central part. The surrounding area does feel similar to Bordeaux with its smooth hills and softer climate. Therefore, we see a lot of Atlantic grape varieties planted here, that lead to excellent results. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are thriving here.  

Stefan Voda has the most influence of the Black Sea, as with its South-Eastern location it is closest to it. Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon are blended with indigenous varieties like Rara Neagra and Caucasian varieties like Saperavi.

The south of the country holds the region of Valul Lui Traian and produces lighter styles of Saperavi, a fruity Feteasca Neagra and beautiful blends of Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling.

Divin is the cross country PGI for wine spirits.

The wine regions and their grapes described above, are just a grasp out of what the country has to offer. We do see that 70% of the grapes are international, compared to 16% local varieties and 14% of Caucasian varieties. A big step up, considering that over 90% of the varieties just after the second world war, were hybrids. This in order to protect the vineyards from phylloxera.
Today Moldova is the number 2 producer in the world for Riesling and the number 3 for Pinot Noir!

For me however it is the local varieties and Caucasian ones that get my attention. It shows us once again how much is still to be discovered in the wine world and how much we can still learn!

We will be seeing a lot more of this country in the wine world over the coming years and after this great introduction, I look forward to experiencing their development!

Thank you Moldovan wines and Pitch PR for the organization and Cees van Casteren for hosting!

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