IT HAS become a tradition that wine makers on the Small Carpathian Wine Route open their wine cellars two times each year. The first event this year marks St. Urban of Langres, the patron saint of wine growers, and as many as 101 wine cellars from Bratislava to Trnava will be open for tastings by wine lovers on May 23.
“A total of 200 vintners will offer wines from last year’s harvest as well as their vintage wines at this wine tasting event,” Anna Píchová of the Small Carpathian Wine Route Association told The Slovak Spectator.
The spring event, though it has a shorter tradition, has an advantage compared with the later event in November because visitors can taste matured wines from last season. In autumn the range of wines from the current season is limited because of the brief time since harvest.
The list of open cellars for 2009 has grown by nine producers. Píchová highlighted one of the new ones, In Vino, a brand-new winemaking complex with top-notch technologies that is located between Modra and Dubová. But also on this year’s list are the Mrva and Stanko wineries as well as cellars that are several hundreds years old. Visitors can also tour the National Wine Salon in Pezinok, the Červený Kameň castle or the historical Fugger Cellar in Častá, just to mention a few other area attractions.
As in previous years wine producers of all sizes will participate and offer local red, white, and rosé wines as well as sparkling wines. Of the red varietals, Frankovka, thought to be immensely admired on the table of Empress Maria Theresa, is probably the most popular variety among Slovaks. Of the white varieties it is likely to be a Grüner Veltliner, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc or Riesling.
Admission to the wine tasting costs €30 and with it visitors will get a glass, a wine pass to enter the cellars, a map of the wine route as well as three €5 vouchers to purchase wines at any of the cellars.
Last year was a difficult one for wine growers, according to Milan Pavelka, the chair of the Small Carpathian Wine Route Association, because some vineyards suffered from various mildew diseases, for example peronospera, which particularly harmed Grüner Veltliner vines.
The second half of the year when grapes were to be harvested had very limited sunshine and sunnier days would have been very beneficial during harvest time, according to Pavelka.
“It seemed that 2008 had all the indications of an average year, but in the end white varieties have made it to the category of quality wines with special attributes,” said Pavelka. “Red wines are a bit thinner, but on the other hand their taste is much fruitier.”
Those who miss this third year of the spring wine event will have a chance to visit the cellars on November 20-21 during the 10th fall Day of Open Cellars. Its organisers promise an even more attractive programme than in the past as the association wants to celebrate its decade of success.
For more information, go to www.mvc.sk