Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Adventure #126 - Moravian Wine Cellar

Lednice lake
Yet another lost Fall post:

The Czech Republic is famous for its beer, not its wine.  And for pretty good reason (sorry, but it's TRUE!).  I do like the whites, there are a few varietals that aren't too sweet for me, but the reds...sorry Moravia, but you just don't have the right weather for red wine...  But I'd heard that the winery visits in the Czech Republic are not to be missed.

Lednice Chateau
Having been to Napa and Shenandoah Valley, I was ready for an expensive, showy wine tasting, on a huge winery.  When we arrived at our pension, I discovered that we were sleeping in a room for 10 people, in dorm style (can you tell that the Czechs like bunk beds??).  We went on a day trip to Lednice, a small World Heritage town with a beautiful chateau, a small fortress (one of my favorites in the CZ so far!), a minaret and a man-made lake.

I had been told that we were going to a tasting in the evening and that one of the guys knew the owners through another friend. I was still expecting some of the pomp that goes with American wine tastings, so when we arrived at someones house a few minutes walk from our pension, I was baffled.  A smiling woman met us at the door and led us through a small yard.  Through the back fence, I could see the vineyard.  She took us into a small room (we were a group of about 20) and we all took a seat.  By this time, I realized that we were at the winery, and that a typical Moravian winery is quite small and a lot are run by families, from their homes, so much more casual and intimate than what I'd been to in the past.

Inside the tasting area
We had some amazing goulash soup and a meat n veggie plate for dinner.  Throughout the eating process, the woman was telling us about the wine and giving us each a taste.  There were 4-5 types of wine and after we tried them all, we went into the cellar (there were maybe 10 barrels) and our hostess took out a long glass tube with a bubble at the top.  She sucked some wine into the tasting tube and then poured us each a bit, to try this years' vintage.  After trying all of them and chatting a bit in the yeasty damp cellar, we went upstairs.

Wine Cellar
I thought we were done, so I was surprised that everyone took their original seats and the woman brought out a few more bottles of wine.  We hung out at the winery for several hours, drinking wine (there was almost no end to what they brought us, we'd finish and they'd open another bottle), singing songs and talking. 

The next day was a bit of a slow start but we headed out for another day trip in the countryside, where we had a view of the reservoir that displaced a village (you could see the church spire rising out of the water in the middle) then we finished the day with a lunch in the border town of Mikulov

Displaced village
I was completely exhausted by the time we returned home.  The constant walking + lots of wine + trying to communicate in Czech meant that I was physically and mentally tired.  I have always enjoyed wine tastings, and have some great memories from California wineries, but the relaxed and intimate feeling of this Moravian winery was fantastic.

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