Monday, November 29, 2010

Wine tasting in Moravia near Lednice!

One afternoon, during out collection trip to Moravia to collect reed canarygrass along the Dyje River (that separates Austria and the Czech Republic), we went wine tasting! It is, after all, not only a tradition, but an essential part of Moravian life. The Lichensteins owned much of the land in the area around Lednice, Valtice, and westward towards Mikulov. Now it is back in the hands of the family owners. Each family traditionally has their own vineyards and wine cellars...each crafting/making their own special wines. Some sell their wines, others are just for use in the family and for sharing with friends.

Here are some views of the vineyards are we traversed the hills surrounding the reservoirs, west of Lednice/Valtice area.

 The late (ice) harvests were underway, since it had recently frozen. Lots of green grapes loaded onto the truck ready for processing.
 We rode a bus from Lednice and our Penzion (bed/breakfast) to a small Serbian village west of Lednice. Here we went up this steep hill, overlooking the town, to a small family wine cellar owned by a friend of our hosts (Jan and Stepan) who have known the owner for many decades.
 The hand-built entrance to Cyril's wine cellar.  Come on inside and let's see what awaits!
 Neil and Mark...wondering what delights will be found inside the wine cellar.
Cyril greets us at the door

Inside, a delightful little wine tasting area, along with a small kitchen and fireplace (so essential for cold winter days).

 Some of the wine bottles and awards that denote the tremendous capabilities of Cyril!

 Cyril is presented with a book in honor of our visit
 The first wine is brought out, Verten Green.  An outstanding white wine with bouquets of flowers and spicy fruits
 Conversations follow.....we learn about Cyril's life under Communist rule, his son's abilities as a winemaker, talk about a new book issued that mentioned that the dissolving of the Soviet Union was something planned -- jointly-- by the Soviets and the Americans.  All interesting ideas and thoughts conveyed while we whiled away the last few hours of daylight enjoying the many types of wine from the cellars.

 Mark likes this one.
 Some of the Czech breads, cheeses, and sausages we interspersed with the wines. The wide sausage is 'Liga'...made here in the town. A tasty, local fare.
 we venture down to the wine cellar, after tasting the Verten Green.  Here is an old grape press
 along with numerous aging wines already bottled.
 The walls are lined with barrels and barrels of wines aging for just the right time.
 In addition to barrels, many wines are aged in glass containers like these.
 Descend the stairs with us and see what else we can find in this winecellar!
 More barrels and glass flasks of aging wines.
 Whites, reds....

 Mark finds his favorite one!
 while Neil wants this one over here (his cheeks seem a bit red, eh?!)
 In addition to growing/harvesting the grapes, using the proper techniques to make the wine and let it age, the types of molds growing inside of the cellar are reputed to be the secret ingredients that make distinguishing wine.

 Newly pressed grapes (early wine) are milky white. One usually never sees this if they're stored in casks or barrels.
 Cyril pipettes out another white wine for tasting.
 Hold your glass steady now, so he can dispense another round.
 The night falls quickly in the wine cellar.....but the conversations continue late into the night. As we sing Czech songs, celebrate the bountiful grape harvests, friendships new and old, and the beauty of Moravia.  Cheers!

Disclaimer: This blog is not an official University of Minnesota or Fulbright Program blog. The views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations, or the University of Minnesota.

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