Christophe Smitz
Counselor
Wallonia Export-Investment Agency – AWEX
/
Expert Contributor

Belgium’s Sparkling Wines, Whisky Also Enjoy World Recognition

By Christophe Smitz | Fri, 02/04/2022 - 12:53

Belgium is world famous for its beers. For centuries, savoir-faire and brands have been developed in this country situated between England and Germany, two other big producers. Today, Belgium remains the biggest exporter in the world (but not the biggest producer). Its world-famous brands and tradition help make Belgium the favorite beer country in the world.

Stella Artois, Leffe, Chouffe, Floreffe, and Chimay are some of the brands that can be found in Mexico. The latter is one of the Trappist beers that respect a centuries-old tradition of making beer under the supervision of Trappist monks. Rochefort and Orval are the other two Trappist beers from Valonia/Belgium. There is even a hike that links the three production sites at monasteries situated in a natural environment in the south of Belgium.

Some of the best Belgian beers are available in various supermarkets and liquor stores but also at the Belgian beer shop La Belga in Roma Norte, Mexico City.

But an interesting, more recent development has been the production of world-class quality sparkling wines and whisky.

Wine production in Belgium started in the Middle Ages, around the seventh century AD, along the river La Meuse. A parallel can be made with beer as the first plantations were cultivated by monks for religious purposes.

Wallonia borders France and its famous Champagne region. The climate and the soil are similar and it is no wonder some Champagne houses have invested recently in Wallonia, where production of wine and sparkling wine is booming. Global warming also makes Wallonia a more suitable place to grow grapes. More than 2 million bottles should be produced in 2022.

Wallonia has more than 200 wineries but only 20 are considered professional. The quality is excellent and most of these wineries sell out their production within months.

In the French-speaking Belgian Region of Wallonia, we can count four protected quality designations: 

IGP Vin des Pays de Wallonie (wines) ;

AOP Côtes de Sambre et Meuse (wines) ;

AOP Crémant de Wallonie (sparkling wines) ;

AOP Vin mousseux de qualité de Wallonie (sparkling wines).

Le Chant d’Eole vineyard has won various gold medals in contests throughout the world and its Blanc de Blanc was voted the best sparkling wine in the world in 2020 at the London Wine Competition (95/100). In 2019, it also won the best sparkling wine, ahead of more than 200 champagnes. It’s the southernmost vineyard in Wallonia.

https://www.chantdeole.be/en-gb

French TV: https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/hauts-de-france/vin-belge-elu-meilleur-mousseux-du-monde-premiere-fois-devant-champagnes-1674777.html

Some of the Belgian sparkling wine brands will be available in March in Mexico City. In collaboration with the commercial section of the Region of Wallonia at the Embassy of Belgium and the Wine Bar by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in Reforma, it will be possible to try some wines from the vineyards Ruffus and Domaine du Ry d’Argent.

https://www.ruffus.be/

https://www.domainedurydargent.com/en/home/ .

The Best Whisky in Europe

Near the city of Liege in the Hesbaye countryside among the barley fields, we can find the Belgian Owl distillery. Here everything is local: the cereals, the water and the master distiller, Etienne Bouillon. Only the stills are from the former Caperdonich distillery in Rothes (Speyside, Scotland).

https://www.belgianwhisky.com/en

The first cask of Belgian Owl was filled in 2004.

The production has eight stages: growing the barley, malting, grinding, mashing, fermentation, distillation, cask aging and bottling.

The Belgian Owl Single Malt 64 Months has been named the best single malt whisky in Europe by the leading Whisky Bible. The Whisky Bible is put together each year by the Brit Jim Murray, who proudly takes it upon himself to taste all 4,700 whiskies in the world. (Source: Focusonbelgium.be) 

Mexico is an important market for whisky and the first bottles of Belgian Owl are crossing the Atlantic to be first served at the Wine Bar by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles in Mexico City this spring. If you want to try a world-class whisky right from the start of what we hope will be a success story in Mexico, let’s meet in Reforma.

Places to go in CDMX:

- Wine Bar by Concours Mondial de Bruxelles

Copenhague 23, Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, 06600 Ciudad de México, CDMX

- Braseria 28 (cervezas belgas al barril)

Av. Álvaro Obregón 126, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX

- La Belga (tienda)

C. Querétaro 96, Roma Nte., Cuauhtémoc, 06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX

Photo by:   Christophe Smitz