Wine cycle route Maasland
We can easily do the Maasland Wine Cycle Route in a higher gear. We have exchanged the sturdy hills of the south for the Maasland, a flat area that is not only very popular with hikers and cyclists, but also with water sports enthusiasts. The latter is due to the presence of the so-called Maasplassen. These are artificial lakes created by gravel extraction. Mother Maas forms the natural border between Dutch and Belgian Limburg here. We pass some nice little marinas, where small pleasure boats bob around happily in the water. On both sides of the Meuse, there are a number of wine estates, two of which are among the most important in Limburg: Wijndomein Aldeneyck and Wijngoed Thorn.
Start Wijngoed Thorn, Bogenstraat 12a Thorn (NL)
Distance 65 km
Ascent 180 metres
Difficulty level 5/10
Harry Vorselen, originally a professional musician, planted his first vines in the 'white' town of Thorn in 2001. In the meantime, his property has grown into a 6,5 hectare wine estate. Auxerrois, pinot gris, riesling, pinot noir, dornfelder and frühburgunder grow on the gravelly soil near the Maas.
Wijngoed Thorn, together with Wijndomein Aldeneyck in Maaseik, took the initiative to establish Maasvallei Limburg, the first and only cross-border PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) in the world. Maasvallei Limburg has been officially recognised as a protected winegrowing area by the European Union since January 2018.
On Wijngoed Thorn both red and white wines are produced. Harry Vorselen also makes a sparkling wine from equal parts pinot noir and auxerrois and a sweet bubbly wine from late harvested pinot gris. The wines are for sale in the tasting room in the historic centre of Thorn.
Tasting room Thu to Sat (April to October also Sun) from 14.00 - 16.00. Bogenstraat 12a, Thorn (NL) - wijngoed-thorn.nl
From Wijngoed Thorn, located along the junction network, we follow the junctions 53, 52, 40, 10, 11, 8, 7, 2 to, junction 1 in Maria-Hoop.
Jos and Nicole Wilms-Gielkens of De Deelgaarderberg vineyard in Maria-Hoop decided to start a vineyard in 2003. In 2005, they planted the first vines on a plot in Maasbracht, but had to leave in 2007 because the municipality needed the land for housing development. That same year, the vines moved to Maria-Hoop, where a cellar was also built in 2008.
The Deelgaarderberg now has more than 2200 vines (solaris, dornfelder, auxerrois and pinot blanc). The Deelgaarderberg works closely together with the owners of the Petrusberg vineyard in Sint Odiliënberg, which was planted in 2016. The grapes that grow here are processed into wine in Maria-Hoop. The Deelgaarderberg produces between 3000 and 4000 bottles annually.
Guided tours on reservation on Fri, Sat and Sun. Diergaarderstraat West 4, Maria-Hoop (NL) - wijngaarddedeelgaarderberg.nl
We leave Wijngaard Deelgaardenberg in the direction of node 22 and follow nodes 24, 9, 6, 4, 13 and 24 towards 25. Between node 24 and 25 we find Wijndomein Aldeneyck.
Wijn estate Aldeneyck
We visit the ultra-modern Aldeneyck wine estate, just over the border from Belgium. Owner Karel Henckens trained as a winegrower at the Viticulture Institute in Trier. In order to be able to make wines of the highest quality, he keeps the harvest to a minimum.
Thanks to the excellent location of the vineyard (south-south-east), the warm microclimate of the Maas and the gravelly soil, Aldeneyck produces wines of international class. The grape varieties used are: pinot blanc, pinot gris and pinot noir, gewürztraminer and riesling. Aldeneyck's Pinot Brut (a blend of pinot blanc, pinot gris and pinot noir) has long been known as the best sparkling wine in Belgium. The Pinot Brut rosé (composed of pinot noir and pinot gris) also deserves a place in the gallery of honour.
Terrace and wine shop are open every Friday and Saturday from 10.00 to 18.00. Hamontweg 81, Aldeneik (BE) - wijndomein-aldeneyck.be
The last part of the route runs along junctions 25, 22 and 21 back to Wijngoed Thorn.
Source: Chapeau Magazine