These articles were published in the Spectacular Slovakia travel guide, published annually by The Slovak Spectator since 1996. The latest editions can be obtained from our online shop.

Mýtne Ludany: Gladdening the heart of man

By James Thomson

    Part of the Kopáč family’s residence and wine-making emporium in Mýtne Ludany.
 Part of the Kopáč family’s residence and wine-making emporium in Mýtne Ludany.
 Photos by James Thomson

The Nitra Region is not well-known outside Slovakia for its wines, but viticulture has a long tradition here. Bottles from the area are supposed to have been a favourite of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa.

While international marketing efforts may have flagged in the last few hundred years, the locals have kept the tradition alive.

One place where you can try the fruits of their labours is in the village of Mýtne Ludany, near Levice. Rudolf Kopáč and his family have turned their house there into a small wine-making centre.

At the front is a well-preserved traditional home filled with old wine-making equipment and historical bric-a-brac (19th-century cast-iron solid-fuel heaters seem a particular favourite) which Rudolf has collected and restored.

At the back is a warehouse where the wine is made, and behind it a garden with three rows of vines. These aren't enough to provide the grapes for the all red and white wine which the Kopáčs make; more are bought from neighbours or grown on another family plot.

But the garden, scattered with more wine-making relics among the tables, chairs and flowerpots, is an excellent place to sit outside and try them. In the autumn, from about mid-September, you may also get to taste some burčiak: young, still-fermenting wine, straight from the fizzing barrel.

These are classic Slovak table wines: unlikely to win many awards, but eminently drinkable. The location and company (Rudolf's sons speak English and are happy to translate his tales about the area) make for an excellent place to round off a day's touring.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2009, which you can obtain from our online shop.

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