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most wanted wines
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Just Add WineIne Goossens & Ries van der VlugtFeiko Clockstraat 139
9665 BH Oude Pekela
T +31(0)597|675472 privé
T +31(0)597|675475 zaakM +31(0)620198832 RiesM +31(0)651416898 Ine
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RESTAURANT DE GRAAF VAN HET HOOGVEEN - NOORDWIJK AAN ZEE
THE NEW YORK WINE SPECTATOR'S GRAND AWARD 1987
REMARKS - AN INNOVATIVE EUROPEAN LIST
Just a 20-minute drive from Amsterdam is the town Noordwijk aan Zee. It is a popular seaside resort, located in the heart of Holland's tulip-growing region. It is also the site of the award-winning De Graaf van het Hoogveen Hotel and Restaurant, which is fast becoming a tourist attraction in its own right. Says Ine Droogh, who owns the establishment with her husband Joop "people used to come here just to see the flowers, now they come to sample our wines". Droogh recounts that her husband's parents opened the Hotel in Noordwijk more than 50 years ago. She joined the family in 1965, marrying Joop in 1969. Then in 1976, they decided to build a new restaurant. "It was always my dream to obtain the first Michelin star in the area", she says, "but to accomplish that goal, we knew we had to create something unique, both in terms of the menu and the wine list". Success came relatively quickly. Just five years after its debut, De Graaf van het Hoogveen was awarded a prize by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.The coveted Michelin star followed in 1982. Droogh affectionately calls the 15.000-bottle wine cellar her "hobby" and admits going to great extremes in order to master the intricacies of cellar management. "We started out by making regular tasting trips to France and Italy. On the side, I studied at the wine academy of the Netherlands, and ultimately journeyed to Bordeaux and Geisenheim for further instruction. I even worked in a wine shop for four months".
THE TURNING POINTThrough a rigid tasting schedule, she developed a palate worthy any professional. In the process, Droogh discovered that she had the knack to nearly total recall. Her photographic memory enabled her to compare wines mentally that she had tasted weeks or months earlier with samples before her in the glass. A turning point for the restaurant cellar occurred when Droogh acquired a large private collection in Belgium from the Wijnmakelaars Unie. It formed the basis of the restaurant's fine and rare wine inventory - and took two full weeks to examine and evaluate. The final selection included entries like Calon-Ségur '67 ($82), Léoville-Las-Cases '62 ($125), Lynch-Bages '61 ($150) and Clos René '64 ($75). I was so impressed with what I had uncovered that I became even more discriminating thereafter", she says.I AM WOMAN Proof positive of Droogh's determination are the tactics she has employed to secure the wines that corresponded to her new standards: "When I run out of classic vintages, I almost always manage to replace them by buying directly from the Château. Maybe it's because I am a woman, but I have yet to be turned down. I just show them our list, and they seem anxious to be included". When she decided to procure California wines for De Graaf van het Hoogveen, Droogh was undaunted by the fact they were unavailable in the Netherlands. She simply went to Germany and bought them there. Because she had to purchase her cache of California wines at a premium, Droogh thinks they are too expensive for casual consumption. Yet despite such prices as $55 for Etna Valley or Pine Ridge Oak Knoll Cuvée Chardonnay '84, $75 for Caymus '83 Cabernet Sauvignon and $65 for Phelps Syrah, Droogh says her customers are curious to try them out. No doubt she'll find a way to import directly before long. Although Droogh notes a recent vogue for Italian wines, she says her more sophisticated customers prefer French wines. Bordeaux in particular. "It's a bit like the old saying, ‘Burgundy is the drink of youth; Bordeaux is the wine of maturity', "she says. The adage notwithstanding, do not overlook a carefully compiled collection of wines from Provence, the Rhône, the Loire and Alsace. Approximately 140 clarets head the list, neatly organized by district and official classification. There are Crus Bourgeois such as Château Potensac '79 and Château Coufran '78 at $33 each. Château Dauzac '79, a 5th growth from Labarde, is $47, Château Haut-Bailly '79 is $57, Léoville-Las-Cases '76 is $62 and Lafite '73 is $125.FIRST-RATE BURGUNDIES tight assortment of red Burgundies from Remoriquet, Noëllat, Clair-Daü, Jayer and Tollot-Beaut demonstrate the effort taken to assemble first-rate estate bottlings at fair prices. Tollot-Beaut Savigny-Les-Beaune '83 is $43 and Jayer Vosne-Romanée Les Malconsorts '72 is $65. For celebrations, there's a magnum of '69 Clair-Daü Bonnes Mares at $220. A broad array of white Burgundies includes '83 Jean Vachet Montagny at $30, '85 Hubert Lamy St.-Aubin Les Frionnes at $38 and Marc Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Chevenottes '83 at $52. Also, worth noting is a full page of Rhône whites, including seven vintages of Châteauu Grillet. FOODPAIRINGTo encourage experimentation De Graaf van het Hoogveen regularly offers special degustation menus with as many as six different courses and wines to match. "Our aim is to provide guests with as many varied options as possible'" says Droogh. "This way, you might have a taste of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and California all-in-one evening".DOMESTIC BRANDSNo fine meal would be complete without a selection of after-dinner drinks, to be enjoyed, perhaps, with a Dutch cigar. In fact, De Graaf van het Hoogveen offers an incredible 14-page list of digestives available by the glass. There are dozens of Alsatian Eaux de vie, fine Cognac and vintage Armagnac, Italian grappa and even single-malt whiskeys. And in case you left your cigars behind, there are three pages of Havana and domestic brands to choose from.
Market Watch New York December 1987
Marvin R. Shanken