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The tasting will take place in a selected Slovak wine producer. After a visit of the complex, including a tower to contemplate the surrounding region and the presentation of the wine making process produced on-site , the sommelier will proceed to the tasting of 6 great wines. For groups smaller than 10 persons, the tasting will occur in a special cave where the best wines are preserved — the wine archive.

The wine region Modra, Senkvice, Pezinok is located 30 minutes from Bratislava.

Slovak Wine Guide - Vladimír Hronský

Displayed prices are calculated per person for a group of 12 people. Prices may vary depending on group size. Just some bees going about their business. In France and Italy, wine-producing regions like this one are full of tourists and winery owners promoting their products. Not here. Slovak Tokaj is one of the smallest wine regions in the world, according to local tourism organizations and wine producers, with only 2, acres.

But Tokaj in Slovakia, which was once part of the Kingdom of Hungary, has remained in its shadow. The Tokaj region produces naturally sweet puttonyo wines, marked with numbers 3, 4, 5 or 6, with 6 being the sweetest and rarest. The 6 is wonderful with a dessert after a fancy dinner or lunch, but I also love the delicacy and lightness of the 3 and 4. The secret of the sweet wines is the fungus botrytis cinerea, the so-called noble rot that attacks grapes, generally in very humid weather. Because of that, puttonyo wines have a dark honey color and an extraordinarily rich taste.

There are also appealing dry wines in Tokaj, made from the three types of grapes grown in the area that are used in all Tokaj wines. Vittek said. The essence of the winemaking process in Tokaj lies in a traditional oxidative technology — the wine matures in oak barrels with small holes on top to allow oxygen to enter — and the dark mold growing on the walls of the cellars, dressing the bottles and oak barrels in what looks like black fur.

The mold, Cladosporium cellare, absorbs the alcohol fumes evaporating from the wine barrels. The soft black mold and Tokaj wine are mutually beneficial. The easiest way to get to the villages from Kosice is by train or rental car. I chose the latter option, although the train might be a bit easier for a first-time visitor. Compared with the much larger and much more developed wine region in Hungary, the Slovakian wine country keeps it simple — and affordable. Macik said. From Cerhov, which has a small wine history museum, I took the road up toward the vineyards and wine cellars, savoring the sunny weather.

It proved to be a rewarding travel option — although sometimes challenging on the hills — with my favorite stop being the new viewing tower in the shape of a wine barrel in the vineyards above Mala Trna. Accommodations in the area tend to be low-key. The wineries J. Smaller parcels the families were allowed to retain and grow for their own use.!

Production was switched to maximum quantities of simple, sweetened blends. Vineyard acreage doubled from to Agriculture was rationalized by larger spacing and trellising to wires strung between concrete poles. Two thirds of the Slovak wine was consumed in the Czech section. The small exports went to the Soviet Union and other countries of the Eastern Bloc.!

Genetic research was - oddly enough, one might think — an area given high priority by the state. The Czechoslovak grape crossings were all created during this period. The State Wine Institute of Czechoslovakia kept highly skilled experts busy with development, but the seven governmental research stations and the large-scale wine factories were all led by privileged party members. For household needs, the wine- growing families maintained an older small-scale wine tradition.! When the Iron Curtain was dismantled in after the Velvet Revolution, it was again possible for family producers and other private companies to operate freely.

Many small growers did continue to make wine only for home consumption or direct sales. Other vineyards were simply abandoned by indifferent owners. With the EU membership in , the Slovak wine market was exposed to competition from the rest of Europe.

Slovak Wine Guide | National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library Store

Now the country's consumers could compare domestic wines with foreign ones. The EU membership opened the doors to generous subsidies, which were gratefully received by the Slovak wine industry. These efforts appear to have accelerated steps towards quality.! Two major initiatives were taken to promote Slovak wine, both of them supported by the EU. Visitors to any of the two salons in Bratislava and Pezinok are now able to get an easy overview of the situation.! Since Slovakia is a part of the Schengen area, and the euro currency was adopted in These changes opened up for easier trading with foreign countries.

Slovakia has already got several online wine retailers, but shipping to countries like Sweden is still prohibitively expensive. As of yet, hardly any German dealers have begun to offer Slovak wines. Limbach as an example:! This is a beautifully situated village, some 20 kilometers from Bratislava. There is evidence of Limbach as a wine village already in By the midth century, the village's population was exclusively German, often with roots in the Mosel.

Over the next thirty years the villagers built the vast cellars that still are in use. More recently, vineyards in the village have become attractive for the exploitation of real estate, because of the proximity to Bratislava. During the s, Limbach was plagued by unregulated building projects and illegal construction waste, a bad habit that has now been stopped. In the German days the village had hectares of vineyards. Today, there are only 30 left.! Geography, climate and geology!

Slovakia's six wine regions are all located along the southern border. The most widely grown blue and green varieties are the same as in Austria.! The country generally enjoys a continental climate with late spring, short hot summers, mild sunny autumns and relatively cold winters with snow early in the year. It rains sparingly, usually around mm per year, in the southernmost part often below On the other hand, the elevations are a modest to meters, which adds extra warmth.

The proximity of the Danube and Lake Neusiedl helps, as do warm winds from the Pannonian plain to the south. The average temperatures during the growing season vary from 15 to 18 degrees Celsius.! The six regions are divided into 40 districts and wine villages. Terroir is coming into focus.! The six wine regions of Slovakia! The Lesser Carpathians have the largest vineyard area 5, ha and the highest number of active farmers. The county seat is named Pezinok. This small town with its historic city center is usually called Slovakia's wine capital.

It has ha of vineyards, and one of the country's two standing wine exhibitions in the city's old citadel. When traveling on the wine route along the Small Carpathians, it is easy to think of other, more famous wine regions. One may imagine a string of old villages along a hilly mountain range with forested peaks. Hillside vineyards facing south-east. Historic terraces that testify centuries of hard manual labour and small-scale viticulture. This is how a classic wine region would appear.!

The average temperature during the growing season is If we compare with Wachau, the average temperature there is Alsace has The Palatinate Mosel Washington State Clare Valley has The amount of sunlight is otherwise almost on the dot as in the Palatinate. This is considered as providing the wines with a refreshing acidity.

Slovak Wine

Underneath lies a brown earth with sand and a rich skeleton of stones on top of a bedrock of granite. This is a lightweight, rugged and tough soil that warms up quickly. On the plains below, the soils are heavier with a larger percentage of loess and clay, but still with plenty of stones and silica. The southernmost region of Slovakia consists of the fertile lands towards the Danube. The vineyards lie within twenty kilometers from the river.

A few tributaries — Vah and Hron — run through the area from north to south. This is a rolling agricultural countryside, without any industries.! It's really dry here: this area rarely receives more than mm of rainfall over the year. The altitudes vary between and meters. The heavy soils are composed of sedimentary clay and loess. The minerality is often clearly felt in the wines, as a refreshing saltiness.! The balmy temperatures give fullness and alcohol. The climate is also suitable for botrytized wines.! The landscape around the city of Nitra is crisscrossed by rivers and small mountain ranges that provide a multitude of local climates.

Therefore the conditions vary to such an extent that it is tricky to generalize. This is one of the oldest wine regions, evidentially established already around AD. Nitra has 3, hectares of vineyards. The area is mostly low-lying with a brown loam, while the hillsides are rocky and poor. Additionally, Riesling and considerable quantities of sparkling wine are produced. Central Slovakia is considered particularly interesting due to its volcanic soil, which lies on a bedrock of basalt, with clay on top. Here, there are protected natural areas as well as lignite mines, and apart from that it is far from cities and industries.

The climate is mild and dry, with only mm of rain a year. Eastern Slovakia is the country's youngest wine region, and has four sub-regions. The other three are located further east, adjacent to Tokaj, and Sobrance almost on the border to Ukraine. All in all, there are 1, ha of vineyards.! The continental climate is even more pronounced than in the rest of the country.

Wine has been made in Tokaj since the 11th century, at least. The mapping of single vineyard locations began in ! At the Treaty of Trianon, the newly created state Czechoslovakia was awarded a small part of Tokaj. From until , there was a dispute with Hungary on the right to use the name. The Slovak part has ha of vineyards, and seven villages.! The soils consist of clay and loess on volcanic bedrock. The southerly winds from the Hungarian puszta make Tokaj autumns long and dry, while the rivers Tisza and Bodrog provide ideal morning fogs for the noble rot to occur.

Whatever side of the border, Tokaj has its unique grapes and styles — from dry to noble sweet. The wines are stored in deep historic cellars.! The green grape varieties 6. It was one of the staples of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and is documented since the 18th century. But most likely its history in this area goes back to the Middle Ages, perhaps even to Roman times.

The other was recently shown to be an ancient variety of which one single year-old vine remains. Planted in fertile loess its gets a fruity expression. By the s, Austrian Lenz Moser pioneered a trellising named Hochkultur, which helped Austrian growers improve quality. This is commonly seen in Slovak vineyards too. The best versions are expressively fruity, with good concentration and physiological maturity, yet without elevated alcohol levels.

Wines from the hillsides have a leaner and tighter expression than those grown on the undulating plains below. Slovakia's second white wine grape is planted on 3, ha. Despite its, perhaps unfairly, somewhat lowly reputation, it still is a popular variety, which by lower yields provides functional food-oriented wines with fair extract and marked acidity.!

Its origin is hardly crystal clear. It seems reasonable to search in the central European countries where the variety is most widespread, mainly Croatia and Hungary. The word walhaz olasz, welsch was already used two thousand years ago by proto- germanic tribes to denote foreign people from the outskirts of the Roman Empire.

Maybe it originated in the lands around the Danube?


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Maybe it got there from the Western Balkans with the Roman armies, or settlers later on? Or did it arrive from the east? It appreciates a dry climate and warm soils. Some growers believe that it is perfectly suited for the terraced hillsides above Pezinok and Modra. Whether the results are mediocre or pretty totally depends on the yields. It is easy to squeeze out huge harvests of this grape, but then it gets no concentration to speak of.! Its pointed, sometimes steely acidity contributes to a certain feeling of minerals in the medium-bodied wine.

This ancient type of winemaking, widely practiced only in Georgia and the borderland of Friuli and Slovenia, is suitable for a fairly neutral variety that can give full scope to the peculiar, complex aromas that arise during the longer time spent on the skins. The colours of these wines were more golden than orange.! The crossing was created in by Dr. The aim was to combine the good qualities of Riesling with an earlier ripeness.

What Dr. A contributing factor to quality in Slovakia is that the yields are notably low.! Well-made versions are dry, smooth and easily drinkable with a decent acidity: charming summer wines for early consumption.! Riesling has been grown in the Rheingau since at least , and probably longer than that. One of its parents was proven by modern genetic analysis to be Gouais blanc Weisser Heunisch. The other is as yet unknown. The variety is likely to have arrived to Slovakia with German settlers who populated the country in several stages from the 14th century onwards.

A Hidden Gem In Eastern Europe: Slovak Wines

In it was grown on ha.! Aromatically speaking, we may note familiar grape features such as apple blossom, peach, lime, grapefruit, tropical fruits, honey, spice, minerals and petroleum. Over time Savagnin Rose is assumed to have mutated into a more aromatic version — a natural evolution that may explain the large differences between different variants. Neither Germany nor Slovakia separate them in statistics.

In it was grown on ha all over Slovakia. The Slovak interpretations were a positive surprise. They offered restrained perfumes yet showed elegant typicity, with aromatics of musk, roses, lychee, oranges and grapefruit. They had unexpectedly fresh acids, no residual sweetness to speak of, no oily fatness, nor any elevated alcohol levels.

In short, none of the issues that often trouble this variety.

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They were more similar to a Traminer from Alto Adige than to one from Alsace.! The leading variety in Tokaj - the Hungarian as well as the small Slovak part - probably also originated there. According to old stories, it allegedly arrived with Italian settlers after the Mongol invasion in It has a long growing cycle, and is easily attacked by botrytis cinerea. It is undoubtedly one of the world's most noble green grapes.

The cosmopolitan of the world of wine is a relative newcomer on the Slovak wine scene. Chardonnay is the winemaker's best friend, as we know. The variety lends itself readily to different styles, depending on harvest time and winemaking methods. The climate is obviously great for Chardonnay. A delicate and sleek sense of place is expressed in cooler areas with limestone soils, with or without malolactic fermentation, in steel tanks or with a careful oak treatment.

Warmer areas provide more ripe-fruity aromas.! Using cask fermentation, malolactic fermentation and frequent batonnage, winemakers may achieve richer, spicier, and more tropical expressions. During the tastings we thought of several other styles and origins, such as Chablis, Jura, Burgundy and the New World. The better Slovak Chardonnays would probably stand up well to international comparison.! Pinot Gris is a natural mutation of pinot that happened several hundred years ago.

It is easily attacked by botrytis, which may give it hints of mushrooms and honey. The Slovak versions were almost dry with pure rich fruit, medium acidity, aromas of honey, ripe peach and pear, some fat and mellow alcohol.! This member of the Muscat family was bred in the s by the governmental research station in the Czech wine region of Moravia.

Slovak Wine

The socialist factories saw a need for Muscat grapes, but the Czech climate was less than favorable for other Muscat varieties. It thrives in clay soils. They can be dry and fresh if harvested early, otherwise semi-dry, sparkling semi-sweet or sweet by the model from Asti.


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The fortress from AD was demolished during the Napoleonic wars, but still it watches over the region Carnuntum in the neighbouring country on the other side of the Danube. The grapes easily achieve high must weights, and the resulting wine is rich, full-bodied and perfumed, but may also exhibit purity and freshness if not harvested too late, when the acids go down. The grape was named after the nature reserve surrounding the station. In Slovakia it is planted on 52 hectares. A plump and soft, but still fresh, spicy wine that smells of summer arbor, melon and mango.

It occurs in both semi-dry and sweet versions. The blue grape varieties! Central Europe's blue signature grape is the third most planted variety in Slovakia. The acreage is considerable. The history loses itself in the fog of medieval times, but modern genetic research has proved that one of its parents was Gouais Blanc.

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The other is still uncertain, but may possibly be Blauer Silvaner. The variety buds early but ripens late, so it is grateful for a warmer location.! The appearance of the young wine is dark bluish red with a violet rim. The nose combines aromas of fresh dark berries with violets, green forest herbs and a spiciness reminiscent of nutmeg and cinnamon. With barrel aging and some bottle age it develops the same kind of complex undergrowth aromas and the same silky texture as Pinot Noir, often with a hint of fat licorice.

Ampelographists suppose that Sankt Laurent originated in Alsace, but we've also heard Palatinate growers argue that it was born there. It might have been from there Sankt Laurent spread into the German-speaking areas of the Habsburg empire - current Austria, Hungary and Slovakia. Different upbringings make for different expressions. Maturation in big barrels results in a brighter red wine.

With time in small casks, the colour gets relatively deep, if still transparent. On the palate, the acidity is rarely very high, the tannins are on the softer side, and the mouthfeel is often smooth and caressing, with a sensation of fat salty licorice.! Only in recent decades did it become more popular in Slovakia too, as did the Ukrainian cabernet crossing Alibernet.! The total area of Slovak Cabernet Sauvignon is ha.! The cabernets show pure and cool varietal aromas such as black currants, cassis, cedar and tobacco. They may go in the grassy, leafy direction or offer riper fruit with dark plummy notes.