Le Domaine du Ry d’Argent and the Domaine du Chenoy are two fine examples of Belgian wine success. Their vineyards are planted on the same directly south facing hillside. The land, the sun and a very particular location always spared by the hail all combine to ensure bumper yields and magnificent wine harvests...

The maître sommelier Philippe Berger reviews 3 wines from the cellar of the Domaine du Ry d'Argent:

  • Le blanc - Solaris – the white wine goes well with smoked salmon or a fish terrine, thanks to a slightly acid touch with green apple and citrus aromas.
  • Le rouge “La Ronce” - this red wine composed of Dornfelder and Regent, is fruity. It is what one might call a gourmet wine, to be enjoyed with grilled red meat. Why not serve it slightly chilled?
  • Le rouge “La Rivière”. An “enjoyable red wine”…

 

Jean-François, a young farmer, dreams of making a living one day from his wine-making, while "innovating new wines, in an environmentally friendly manner... to amaze people and change the way that wine has been made for thousands of years..."

In 2005, he planted a hectare of solaris grape vines. The first wine production, in 2006, was promising... Since then, the 2009 vintage was particularly outstanding. “The white has already reached 14.5° alcohol content, naturally. A fine aperitif”.

 

 

One day turning their milk into wine was the feat achieved by the Baele family in Bovesse, who decided to leave the Walloon traditional farming sector.

Wallonia has not completely forgotten that it was a land of wine. Napoleon had all the vines outside France dug up, yet the province of Namur is today breathing new life into its wine making capacity thanks to a bunch of passionate wine producers.

Wallonia has not completely forgotten that it was a land of wine. Napoleon had all the vines outside France dug up, yet the province of Namur is today breathing new life into its wine making capacity thanks to a bunch of passionate wine producers.

 

 

 

When one thinks of wine, one doesn’t often think of Wallonia, which nevertheless produces wines of a quality that compare very well to those of more southern regions. At the Domaine du Ry d’Argent, you can take part in a wine tasting and go on a tour of the vines and facilities…

5 hectares planted with Régent, Cabernet-Jura, Dornfelder and Solaris, produce red, white and rosé wines of an excellent quality that will easily accompany your most refined dishes.
 

Jean-François Baele is confident in the quality of his wines, and is seeking more opportunities to introduce them to consumers, via direct sales in particular. The annual Floreffe and Aiseau-Presles wine and cheese fair (March) offers a means to make himself known and encourage the locals to come and visit his Domaine du Ry d'Argent in Bovesse, north of Namur.

 

At the Domaine du Ry d'Argent the picking is carried out with surgical precision. The 5 hectares of the Namur vineyard are harvested by hand, by volunteers. “Mechanical harvesting is perfectly possible but in all honesty, the quality of harvesting by hand can’t be equalled.”

 

Probably a first for a Belgian wine maker... For Jean-François Baele, the Belgian wine making sector needs to be professionalised (mechanisation, storage, accessibility, standards compliance, etc). He has chosen to enter supermarket distribution in order to make his Belgian wines accessible to as many consumers as possible.

 

The province of Namur contains magnificent Hesbaye farms that have undergone various redeployments and conversions. At the Domaine du Ry d'Argent, the owner has dared to abandon wheat, beetroots and milk (production of which is subject to quotas) to embrace the new profession of wine grower and harvesting producer. The grape varieties are young and of German origins: Régent, Cabernet-jura and Dornfelder. The production has already earned the appellation Côtes de Sambre et Meuse contrôlée (AOC).

 

Bovesse, near Namur has the largest surface area of vines owned by a single tenant in Belgium. The terrain is ideal: it offers a directly south facing hillside, benefitting from a temperate microclimate. The land is also rich with shale rocks. The vine profits from all these advantages when the sun decides to shine.

For Jean-François Baele, each wine is different. "My goal is to make a wine that is first and foremost good and light, with a good nose and aromas". This required major investments, with a development of the production facilities in accordance with HACCP standards.

But what is particularly gratifying for him, is the added-value in terms of image for the farming profession provided by his new business.

 

The only Belgians among the great French wines, the wine growers of the Domaine du Ry d’Argent won over visitors to the Floreffe wine fair with their outstanding assets: the quality and passion of the Belgian and Namur terroir!

As well as the appellations contrôlées "Côtes de Sambre et Meuse" and "vin de pays des Jardins de Wallonie".

 

 

The Baele wine growers strive to limit the use of chemicals on their vines, for economic reasons, "but we do not practice organic growing, just integrated farming".

We estimate that every hectare of the Domaine du Ry d'Argent requires 600 hours of work. Even with extensive mechanisation...

"When I tasted the Baele Belgian wine, I found it very satisfactory, even if it’s not like French or Chilean wines. It’s something different. And it will still improve in the future”. (Alain Pardoms, wines buyer for Delhaize)

With its 2009 woody vintage, Le Domaine du Ry d’Argent distinguished itself at the 2011 awards ceremony of the VVS (Vereniging Vlaamse Sommeliers), the professional association of Flemish sommeliers.

For the family of Jean-François Baele, the achievement of being voted among the best Belgian wines of the year (“Beste Belgische Wijnen van het Jaar") is very promising...

"Le Boisé" 2009 is a Belgian wine composed of Cabernet Jura and Regent.

Vers l'Avenir, Jeudi 07 Octobre 2010