Slovak grape varieties
Rulandské biele, Pinot Blanc in English. This French grape is a favorite of high-end Slovak winemakers. It makes a complex wine with slight yeast on the nose and a brisk acidic finish.
Devín is a fast ripening grape developed by Slovak enologists. It makes a full-bodied and acidic wine.
Pálava, another local variety, was developed in the Czech Republic. A cross between Tramín and Müller Thurgau, it makes wines that have a flowery nose and a spicy finish.
Sauvignon (blanc). When this French wine is done well in Slovakia, the taste is stunningly good: loads of fruit-peach, currants-wrapped in a harmoniously acidic package.
Tramín is known in English by its German name, Gewürztraminer. One of the world's great grapes, Tramín has a powerful, flowery bouquet and a long, spicy flavor. Small-batch Slovak producers treat this grape with particular finesse.
Chardonnay, made famous by its use in Bordeaux, is something of a cliché in up-and-coming wine regions, where heavy wood flavor is used to mask shoddy wine. A few small Slovak winemakers, particularly Masaryk and Bôrik, are making good Chardonnay.
Müller Thurgau, created by a Dr. Müller in the German town Thurgau, is the most widely planted grape in Slovakia. It can make for a less acidic wine than other Slovak wines, but on the whole, is nothing special.
Rizling Rýnsky, known in English as Riesling, is a German grape used to make the world's most celebrated white wine. It's known for a powerful fruit taste and long, acidic finish.
Rizling Vlašský, known as Welschriesling or Italian Riesling, actually originated in France. Very popular in Slovakia, Rizling Vlašský delivers a flowery-fruity nose and a fresh, spicy flavor. In bad years, its acidity can be overpowering. In good years, the taste is harmonious.
Svätovavrinecké, St. Lawrence in English, is used by small wineries to make a powerful, well-extracted red worthy of a steak. The Hacaj winery in Pezinok gives this French grape a light, summery twist.
Alibernet and Neronet are hybrids made, in part, from the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. They create concentrated, tannic wines with nice fruit characteristics.
Rulandské modré, Pinot Noir in English, is the chief ingredient in Burgundy's famous reds. Slovak Pinots have a brick-red color, and give hints of raspberry.
Modrý Portugal, an Austrian grape, makes a light red suitable for chilling and summer drinking.
These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2004.
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