Fine wine from the Moravia region of the Czech Republic
By Head Wine Chix, Linda Kissam
Although the Czech Republic is famous for its beers, its premium (yes, premium) wine is the one to keep your eye on. In Moravia, on the country’s east side, the wine industry is gaining more and more attention– and for good reason. Wine lovers who can think outside of the California box will want to make a beeline for southern Moravia. Only 90 minutes from Vienna and Austria by rail (my favorite mode of transportation in Europe), Znojmo is a good town to start in and spend some time getting oriented to Moravia’s wine, culture, and history.
Or, if you can’t hop the rails now, read on as I review eight great Moravian Wines and the food that pairs well with each one of them. As our host Voytech says, “Moravian are good by themselves, but they’re meant to be paired with food to show how great they can be.”
This tasting was done in Seal Beach, CA with seven other IFWTWA wine writers and the Czech Western States Rep, Vojtech Kacerovsky and Barbora Skokanova, Travel trade manager. It was a fun evening of food wine and delicious information.
The evening’s wine were provided compliments of Czech Tourism and sourced from the Vino z Czech line of wines (pronounced “vee-nos check” – i.e. “wine of Czech”). Vino z Czech imports fine wine from the Moravia region of the Czech Republic. With the assistance of some of the top sommeliers in the Czech Republic they hand select some of the best estate bottled wines available for import to the USA. Radim, their exporter, comes from a family with generations of wine makers. He works closely with the President of the Czech Sommelier Association to bring you …and in this case…me, a taste of the Czech Republic. You can order all of the following wines and more at http://www.getwineonline.com/main.asp?request=SEARCH&search=czech
Gruner Veltliner Michlovsky 2011 $16 =This 2011 Grüner Veltliner is typical of the Moravian terroir with a dry balance of fruit and minerality. It’s soft and delicate with hints of lemon grass, apple and whispering citrus. Best with food. Pair with something light like a sushi plate, crab salad or Trader Joe’s Lemon Cookies.
Welschriesling Spielberg 2011 $23 = This wine is a meadow in a glass and came in as a tie for the second most favorite wine of the grouping. If you’re a gardener or missing the scent of a meadow, this one is for you. It would be a big hit at your garden club’s next luncheon. A bit heartier and more complex than the first wine, this has a lovely nose and mouth feel with a hint of honey. Welschreisling (no relation to Riesling) is a rare varietal in America. Pair with an Onion and Bacon Tart, as the wine is big enough not to get overwhelmed. Other choices include sushi, spicy crab salad and Baklava.
Pinot Blanc Vyskocil 2009, $23 = A nose of mild (not as in a warm climate wine, but juicy all the same) tropical fruit and vanilla compliments presents a fuller-bodied taste and nice finish. Pair with lightly seasoned poultry, sushi, mild cheese, or a spicy crab salad. Other tasters commented this wine had nice depth, kumquat notes and had a good mouth feel. This was the group’s #1 wine overall by a very large margin.
Pinot Blanc Spielberg Galant 2009. Soft florals and a touch of honey make this California palate pleaser a wine to take note of. Pair with sushi, poultry, cheese and salads to appreciate the soft subtle nuances of this wine that pretty much goes with everything.
Riesling Michlovsky 2011, $19 = Showcases fresh spring flowers, summer fruit flavor, petrol (in a good way) accompanied by delicate hints of honey, walnuts and a hint of spices. Try pairing with dill and rice with vegetables rolled in Persian grape leafs with a slightly spicy dill flavored yogurt for dipping made by Panner Kabob of Temecula. Try their Baklava as a chaser.
Rivaner Valtice 2011, $16 = Delicate and melodious with mouthwatering juiciness. Easy drinking just made for Jacuzzi time. The Valtice vineyards are part of the UNESCO world heritage site confirming the rare and unique attributes of the land. This wine came in as a tie for the second most favorite wine of the tasting. Dynamite with Sushi –especially from Yasai Japanese Grill (Seal Beach, CA).
Rouci Stapelton and Springer 2007, $40.19 = Who would know that Baklava pastry filled with crushed pistachios, almonds, cardamom and honey would bring out all the special nuances in this wine? This wine is primarily Pinot Noir, but there is some St. Laurent so you get a bit heavier body than Pinot, but it’s not heavy in mouth feel or taste. Typical notes include cherries, earth, oak, and a little bit of spice on the end. It’s perhaps the most elegant of the reds from the region. The Pinot is well-constructed, and while it has the elements of a new world style, there is definitely some old-world elegance to it. Absolutely loved it with spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings. You have to be careful with the pairing as a couple of bites of the spicy wings and your taste buds take a 10-minute time out. Still…it was worth it.
Modrý Portugal 2012 was our “surprise” wine as our host provided it as a treat for us to try. Beautiful bottle, just sayin. Also known as Bauer Portigieser, it showcases dark blue fruit. Lovely color and a fruity nose with overtones of floral. Think light and uncomplicated.