You could:

  • bike the wine trails from town to town, among 400 villages, In the Moravian foothills of the White Carpathians, stopping along the way to chat with individual winemakers who might offer you a taste of their wine. 
  • Visit the Wine Salon in Valtice for tastes of over 100 award-winning wines.   
  • Go to one of the wine festivals around the harvest, usually around September. 
  • (And if you are lucky enough to taste Czech wine in situ, you won’t want to miss the Kroměříž Gardens.  Visit this UNESCO World Heritage site for its Baroque Chateau and Gardens, the best preserved in Europe, and taste the sacramental wine.)  

Or you can get wine for your table from Vino z Czech, a Connecticut-based importer/marketer for Czech wines. On an afternoon in Seal Beach, California, we chose Vino z Czech, with wines provided by Czech Tourism Board

We learned

Moravia has been growing wine since at least the 200s AD, thanks to Roman legions who camped aside the white limestone formations of the Carpathians.  This Czech region is now producing wines comparable to very good wines from its European neighbors and U.S. wine regions.  While I did not find varietals unique to the Czech Republic, I did find varietals familiar from Germany, Austria and France.  Well known Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Grϋner Veltliner (“GV”), Welschriesling (not a Riesling), Pinot Noir, St. Laurent, and the somewhat lesser known Mϋller-Thurgau Riesling hybrid.  All of the wines were well balanced, ready to drink, and maintained their structure three to seven years after harvest, which can be rare for many white wines.  So if you find a Czech white from 2009—don’t be scared. 

We Paired

Spicy sushi, chili-spiced crab salad, caramelized onion & cheese tarts, sriracha chicken wings, baklava, Persian grape leaves, and creamy Brie cheese.  Every wine paired with almost everything (sriracha can be overpowering, as can wasabi).  I found the creaminess of the chili-spiced crab salad and the onion/cheese tart to be the most consistently rewarding.  

We Tasted:

Grϋner Veltliner Michovský 2011 ($16), with slight grassy aroma, crisp acidity, luscious texture, and hints of white pepper.  I found this true to its varietal, with good minerality and tastes of lemon citrus and red apple. 

Welschriesling Spielberg 2011 ($23), a dance through an alpine summer meadow.  With mild acidity, light honey (from the meadow’s bees?), tastes of summer flowers with a citrus high note. 

Pinot Blanc Vysočil 2011 ($23)***. Golden and full bodied with good acidity, tasting of summer and tropical fruit and just a bit of vanilla and hints of oak, dry with enough fruit and sweetness to match spicy dishes, creamy cheeses, and caramelized onions.  We particularly enjoyed the nuanced strength of this wine, our clear winner of the evening.  It stood up, paired well with almost everything, and matched even strong spice with its fruit. 

Pinot Blanc Spielberg 2009 ($23)**, tasting of spice with white pepper on the tongue, honey gold color and rose and tart green apples on the nose.  This wine tied for second choice, being a little less tropical than the Pinot Blanc Vyskocil. 

Riesling Micholovský 2011 ($19).  Dry with a dash 

of honey and spices, tart to mild fruit.  Typical of a Riesling, there is a bit of a petrol aroma, which one of our tasters associated with a brand-new basketball, fresh from the market. But don’t be put off, it’s not unpleasant, is typical, and is overwhelmed by the taste. 

Rivaner Valtice 2011 ($16)**, our Mϋller-Thurgau Riesling aka Rivaner.  The hybrid appeared (thanks to Hermann Mϋller in 1882, has spread

worldwide, and is Germany’s second most planted varietal. This is a sexy wine, warm up the spa, download some Luther Vandross, nibble some spicy sushi - your evening awaits.  Complex harmony with a juicy reward.  Our other second place choice, for easy drinking fun, and a little rarer here in the US.

Roucci Stapleton & Springer 2007 ($40), Pinot Noir darkened by St. Laurent, deeply royal purple.  We found aromas of milk chocolate and balsamic, tasting like a robust Washington state Pinot Noir, with even more wild forest berries, and caramel.  Here’s a red wine that can pair with honeyed baklava, the dessert’s cinnamon drawing out the wine’s berries.  

What now?

Having tasted seven Czech wines, all of which we enjoyed and would buy when we can find them, we now want to schedule our visit to the region—to connect these luscious wines to their limestone earth and some of the 18,000 Czech winemakers and their individual stories and tastes. 

Where to buy the wines

First, go to Vino z Czech’s web site and then, where to buy.  For most of us, that will be online, and links are on Vino z Czech’s site. 

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