Laura, Laurent Miquel's brand ambassador, recently embarked on a trip to the Netherlands, hosted by our Dutch wine importer Verbunt Verlinden, to visit some of our Dutch clients and share our story:
My journey began in Amsterdam and over the course of four days, I criss-crossed the Netherlands, visiting wine shops and tasting through the range of Laurent Miquel wines with our Dutch customers. One of the highlights of my trip was the opportunity to conduct masterclasses and consumer tastings - I'm always keen to explain the Laurent Miquel way of doing things to "real people" as it's ultimately the wine lovers who enjoy our wines who become our best ambassadors. I loved the openness of the Dutch people - their curiosity and enthusiasm was motivating and inspiring.
The weather during the trip was mostly glorious, apart from one very grey, Irish-looking day in Rotterdam. The overdue week of sunshine brought many of the Dutch outdoors and amongst the bicycles there were many just taking the opportunity to get some sunlight on their faces. The good weather also led to an unexpected highlight of my trip - an unscheduled, but very welcome, beachside lunch in Noordwijk, where I had the opportunity to try Bitterballen for the first time. (For those who don't know, Bitterballen are wickedly crunchy, deep-fried meat croquettes). The other food highlight was the stunning fish dish that Pascal served in the historic building of De Rode Leeuw (The Red Lion) in Capelle aan den Ijssel, highlighting just how exciting the food and wine scene is in the Netherlands right now.
It's always interesting to visit our different wine markets - the trip is not just about work, as it also gives an opportunity to build connections and share experiences with like-minded, wine-loving individuals. I even came across some Dutch wine in one of the stores, made from hybrid and lesser-known grapes, but unfortunately I didn't get the opportunity to taste it. Highlights included a trade tasting and masterclass with some of the top restaurateurs and hoteliers from the Tilburg area in Bij Isabelle and a consumer masterclass hosted by Wijnkring Brouwer in Soest. We tasted some of our premium range with local wine enthusiasts, including the Solas, Côte and the Lieux-dits wines. Thanks to Freek and Chris for organising these events.
I was proud to talk about Laurent Miquel's regenerative viticulture philosophy and Laurent's unique approach to wine making and all of the wines showed exceptionally well. I was given a warm welcome everywhere I went and found many synergies and common thinking among the Dutch and the Irish, not least a love of sunshine! It's nice to bring some of the Languedoc sunshine to my story-telling - it seems that there's always a greater understanding if one has a true sense of place when sipping a wine. Our Côte range of Viognier, Albarino, Chardonnay and Syrah is a great stepping stone to our Lieux-dits wines and the Côte 238 La Gentille Albarino was a new discovery for many. It will be a perfect partner for the new season "asperges" or asparagus, which is just coming into season. The Côte 228 Clamensou Chardonnay was a particular favourite in the tasting, while la Verité Viognier 2021 was singing in the glass, with many years of evolution still ahead of it. Among the reds, the purity and elegance of Solas Pinot Noir surprised many, while the 2019 Bardou (our single-site Syrah) and the sublime 2017 Larmes des Fées Syrah was a fitting end to the tastings.
It was a week filled with tasting, talking, and many shared experiences and I already look forward to my next visit. I would like to sincerely thank the team at Verbunt Verlinden for the warm welcome, especially Chris Kenselaar, Daan Sloothaak and Freek Van Dorsten for spending time in trade with me. As well as driving me around Holland, introducing me to their customers and providing interesting company en-route, they are also wonderful ambassadors of Laurent Miquel wines. Dank U wel!