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.

Main Slovak Grape Varieties

White wine

  • Rulandské Biele, known in English as Pinot Blanc. This French-origin grape is a favourite of high-end Slovak producers. Done well, it makes a complex wine with slight yeast on the nose and a brisk acidic finish.
  • Devín. A new variety developed by Slovak enologists for its quick-ripening characteristics, Devín wines tend to be full-bodied and acidic.
  • Pálava. Another new variety, this one developed in the Czech Republic, Pálava is a cross between Tramin and Muller Thürgau. It tends to give a flowery nose and a spicy finish.
  • Sauvignon (Blanc). When this French-origin wine is done well by Slovak producers, the results can be stunningly good: loads of fruit-peach, currants-wrapped in a harmoniously acidic package.
  • Tramín, known in English by its German name, Gewürztraminer. One of the great varieties in the wine world, Tramíns are known for their powerful flowery bouquet and long, spicy flavor. Small-batch Slovak producers treat this grape with particular finesse.
  • Chardonnay. This great French variety, made famous by its use in Bordeaux, has become something of a cliché in up-and-coming regions, where a heavy dose of wood flavour sometimes masks shoddy winemaking practices. A couple of small producers, particularly Masaryk and Bôrik, are doing good things with this grape.
  • Müller Thurgau. Created by a Dr. Müller in a German town called Thurgau in 1882, Müller Thurgau is the most widely planted Slovak grape. It's a solid choice if you're looking for something a little less acidic than the Slovak norm; in general, however, Müller Thurgaus tend to be ordinary.
  • Rizling Rýnsky, known in English as Riesling. This German-origin grape produces some of the world's most celebrated white wine. It's known for powerful fruit and long, acidic finish.
  • Rizling Vlašský, known as Welschriesling or Italian Riesling. Confusingly, this variety originates in the Champagne region of France. Very popular among Slovak makers, Rizling Vlašský delivers a flowery-fruity nose and a fresh, spicy flavour. In bad years, its acidity can be overpowering. In a good year, the effect is harmonious.

Red Wine

  • Frankovka Modrá. This wine, widely planted in Austria and southern Germany, makes, at its best, a red with racy acidity balanced by nice tannins. It's usually well-extracted and inky in color.
  • Svätovavrinecké, known in English as St. Lawrence. While the Hacaj winery in Pezinok gives this French variety a light, summery twist, most small producers here use it to produce a powerful, well-extracted red worthy of a steak.
  • Alibernet and Neronet. Both are recently created hybrids involving Cabernet Sauvignon. They tend to create concentrated, tannic wines with nice fruit characteristics.
  • Rulandské Modré, known in English as Pinot Noir. This grape, the chief ingredient in Burgundy's famous reds, has been put to good use in Slovakia. Slovak Pinots have a light, brick-red color and can give hints of raspberry.
  • Modrý Portugal. This Austrian variety produces a lighter style than most Slovak reds. Suitable for light chilling and summer consumption.

These articles and related information were published in Spectacular Slovakia 2003.

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