THE YEAR 2006, a splendid year for winemakers, will probably cast a long shadow on local wines for some time to come. Its dominance was confirmed at the first of the Slovak national viticultural competitions, Vitis Aurea Modra, on March 7. Two of the three champions were from 2006, with the only young winner in the category of dry white wines, the Pravda daily wrote.
A record number of 512 wines was registered at the Modra exhibition, with Slovakia, Moravia and Austria registering the highest numbers in the eight-year history of the event.
"Last year, there were 400 wines in the competition. There are a hundred more this year, which means that viticulture in Slovakia is seeing a revival," Vincent Jakubec of the Modra Viticulturist Association Vincúr said.
Home producers dominated the competition. First-place Martin Pomfy, the discovery of 2006, defeated an Austrian competitor from Burgenland. His late-harvest Veltlínske Zelené 2007, defeated Rizling Vlašský by a vote of 8:1. The wine professor Fedor Malík presided over the jury in Vitis Aurea.
Among sweet wines, the first-place title was won by Jaroslav Ostrožovič of eastern Slovakia. His 2006 Tokaj straw cuvee, was awarded the gold medal at the recent prestigious Paris competition Vinalies Internationales, achieving one point more than Vladimír Mrva's Devín.
Mrva immediately confirmed his place among the Slovak elite in the finals of red wines when all nine jury chairpersons voted for his barique Cabernet Sauvignon wine.
It was the red and sweet wines which best exemplified the strength of the year 2006. "There were many red wines from 2007, but these should still be maturing in the cask," Jozef Kováč, lecturing in viticultural technologies at the Modra Viticultular-Pomology School, said. Older red wines are smoother, velvet-like. Young ones are brash, like teenagers.
However, the year 2007 will surely find its fans among lovers of dry white wines.
Milan Pavelka, a winemaker from Pezinok, characterised them as fresher and less alcoholic than the 2006 wines. Mrva added that they would be deliciously fruity, but less full than the wines from the phenomenal year 2006.
Pavelka added that this year's white wines would not be appropriate for a long storage period in bottles. But they are surely more harmonic than the technologically more demanding 2006 wines, Miroslav Petrech from Mužľa explained.
Almost 150 of the more than 500 wines were awarded a medal, a rate of success comparable to that of foreign viticultural competitions.
Wine lovers can taste the exhibited wines on March 29, when a public tasting will take place at the House of Culture in Modra starting at 13:00.