Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

4.000 bottles of wine

In the past Torgny, in the Belgian Provence or ‘La Gaume’, was the only village in Belgium where grapes for winemaking were being grown. Over the last decades, however, and with the changing of the climate, vineyards are being reintroduced in the ‘Hageland’, a region between Leuven and Landen, east of Brussels. And apparently not without success, as winemakers have already produced some medal winning Chardonnay wines.

In the centre of the country, the area of Overijse-Hoeilaart has always been famous for its so-called ‘table grapes’. These grapes that are grown in glasshouses have big juicy and sweet raisins that are used as such and eaten as a fruit. It would be a shame to crush them to make wine.

But let’s return to Torgny. It’s a lovely little village with a distinctive French feel to it. There’s only one road leading to Torgny and driving straight through the village centre will only take you a minute or so. On the other side is France. From the highest point of the village, amongst the vineyards, you have a stunning view of the French Lorraine.

Most of the houses are built using the local sandstone. On a sunny day, the stone renders a warm yellowish glow, which enhances the Mediterranean character of the village. There are hanging baskets and pots with brightly coloured flowers everywhere. The authentic ‘lavoir’ is not unlike the ones that you’ll find in most French villages.

In 1828 the Torngy vineyard extended over 4 hectares and 45 ares. By 1945, most of these vineyards had disappeared. In 1955, however, new Riesling-Sylvaner plants were put in. Unfortunately they perished in the winter of 1985 and had to be replaced in 1987.

Today the total production varies around 4.000 bottles a year. That’s probably less than one medium sized French winery produces.

The wine production is coordinated by the vineyard of ‘Le Poirier du Loup’, property of the commune. Between 1986 and 1990, 1680 Auxerrois, 1400 Pinot Noir, 400 Pinot Blanc, 400 Chardonnay and 350 Rivaner ‘pieds’ have been planted, covering an area of 90 ares.

During our visit we walked around for a while, shooting some colourful pictures of the typical houses. We also drove all the way up to the top of the vineyard for some more photos. After that we had a drink a the local bar, before setting out to our next destination, the Abbey of Orval … known for its strong Trappist beer and savoury cheese.



Jim Budd said...

Do you mean 4000 bottles or 40,000 bottles/ How many hectares are planted now?

ladybird said...

Jim: Sorry, I keep forgetting that figures are written differently in English. I mean a mere 4000 bottles. I have no real idea about the exact area, except that another 540 'pieds' were planted in 2008. However, you can certainly not compare it to the Loire Valley or even the French or German Moselle. It is very tiny indeed and most of the wine is sold locally. Wines from the new vineyards in the Hageland have however found their way to restaurants abroad. Martine