So I thought I’d put together a little cheat sheet to help people get an idea of just how these delicious wines come to be. Of course the only way you will truly understand is to drink one!
The grapevine is one of the few plants which can fully and sensitively express the imprint of the countryside and locality in its final form - wine. Nowhere is this more true than in Moravia. The natural conditions of the main wine-growing region of the Czech Republic sets the stage for producing wines of outstanding quality. Besides being representative in the flavors, wines also have a higher content of wholesome natural agents.
Moravian soils were created on sea and freshwater sediments and loess. In fact, on our last visit during a tour of the vineyards of one of the winemakers, he showed us the soil actually still contained vast amounts of tiny sea shells! I had a moment of awe thinking how many years ago that spot where I was standing had been underwater. This soil type together with the rough relief of the countryside set the stage for beautifully original wines of a vast diversity.
Each subregion however has its own particular character from variations in the soil. The limy soils in the environs of Palava, or the outstanding vineyards on the gravel subsoil in the Znojmo region, or the vines grown on the sandy soil in the Velke Pavlovice region, or the nutritive clay subsoil in Slovakian Moravia give each of the Moravian wines their unique character.
The climate is continental, with the influence of cool and moist air from the Atlantic Ocean or Siberia. Summers with intense temperatures significantly accelerates maturation of the grapes. To relate it to more familiar wine regions, Burgundy, Côte-Rôtie, and the Loire Valley in France all have continental climates, as well as most of Austria, and Piedmont along with other Northern Italian regions.
Moravia is especially known for their amazing white wines. Fresh and aromatic, the region lends itself to some of the highest quality grapes and are among the best European wines. Top grapes by percentage of plantings are Muller-Thurgau, Gruner Veltliner, Welschriesling, (Rhine) Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay
But don’t overlook some lesser-known in the States such as Hibernal, Palava, Aurelius and their Moravian Muscat.
While their white wines are gaining international recognition, their reds aren’t to be overlooked. They bring some very interesting and complex reds to the table and certain producers are focusing more on the reds. The most popular grapes for the region’s reds are Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Moravia.
So that is a little background on how the stage is set for winemakers in Moravia to produce some brilliant wines that compete on the international stage. These elusive wines have not been seen often in the US market because the Czechs drink more than they make. Clearly they have very good taste. :-) We hope to change that - ask for Czech wine at your local wine shop!
Amanda is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Ahtel Wines, an importer of wines from Central Europe. Prior to getting into the wine business, she held various marketing leadership roles in many tech startup companies building business from scratch while also driving growth. She holds the WSET Level 2 Award, and when not marketing brilliant wines, she is golfing, motorcycling, skiing or just cooking at home with friends and family.