The last vineyard we visited on our trip through Borgloon was Optimbulles or formally known as Champinnot. Champinnot had to change their name as the association behind the French Champagne wine region took it to court as the name referred too much to “Champagne”. Luckily this didn’t stop them to make wine! Visiting this vineyard as last was the perfect ending of an incredible slightly sunny day on top of a hill overlooking the beautiful Borgloon fields! And I couldn’t imagine ending this day without a nice glass of wine 🙂
As the name Optimbulles (or the previous name) might make assume, this vineyard is especially specialized in bubbled wine aka sparkling wines (although they also have some mighty white wines). The wine I’ll always remember from this vineyard will definitely be the “Briljant” this wine made me so hungry!! It smelled exactly like one of my preferred bread kind Rye bread. I know I get hungry pretty fast, but due to the smell of a wine was a first 🙂 Don’t get me wrong all the other wines were also good, but this was just a unique smell I had never experienced before.
Around the 90’s Guy Geunis, Theo Pasque and Rik Schreurs decided to make wine on their vineyard in Jesseren (at the border of Borgloon). Their focus (as I said before) is on sparkling wines made in/with the traditional grapes (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) and way of working. Something they cherish a lot at Optimbulles is that they don’t add extra sweeteners, they only “sugar” in them is the natural one. This is why their wines are referred to as Extra Brut or Brut Zero (No liqueur d’expédition has been added and has less than 6 grams of residual sugar per liter). Optimbulles has 3 types of sparkling wine “Robijn”( 70% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir red and 10% Pinot Noir white – so basically this is a rosé sparkling wine), “Trilogie” (mainly Chardonnay, filled up with Pinot Noir and a little bit of Pinot Meunier)and Briljant (that I mentioned above and is made of 100% Chardonnay). Besides the sparkling wines they also make white wine and something more remarkable, rosé wine made from a local grape called “Vroege Loonse” which is a clone from the Pinot Noir.
Another important thing to know about this vineyard is that until recently they only made sparkling wine using grapes, now they also make a kind of cider using the local apples (old types like “Boskoop”, “Ceuleman”, “Sterappel”) from their orchard…. again, some people who want to creative and that want to see what good can from the Belgian soil. I can only encourage that!! This product is better known as Apples & Pearls :-)… when tasting it, it obviously first of all tastes like apples, but it also reminded me a bit of wheat beer , but all tastes are well balanced!! This actually goes for all their wines!!
One day I’ll be able to describe you the wines like a real wine expert! 😉
Unfortunately I couldn’t find a website from them, but in case you would want to know more I’ll give you their credentials: Lindesstraat 78, 3512 Hasselt – 0472 21 89 72 of 0478 20 57 79.
Ok, enough about Borgloon (for now)