Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Great Selection of Czech Wines at the Villa Richter Outdoor Wine Bistro in Saint Wenceslas Vineyard in the Middle of Prague

Pictures: Saint Wenceslas Square and Vineyard in Prague and a Glass of Czech Wine

A Great Selection of Czech Wines at the Villa Richter Outdoor Wine Bistro in Saint Wenceslas Vineyard in the Middle of Prague

Saint Wenceslas Vineyard is a vineyard in the middle of Prague, right below the Prague Castle. Prague is one of the capitals in the world that can boast itself of having vineyards within its borders.

Saint Wenceslas Vineyard also houses Villa Richter, which is home to various restaurants and a lovely outdoor wine bar with a stunning view of the city of Prague.

Czech Wines

The Czech Republic is a very small wine producing country, with just about 19,000 hectares of vineyards. This is less than Germany’s larger wine regions such as Rheinhessen or the Pfalz.

More than 90 percent of the wine production is accounted for by the southern part of Moravia, particularly around the Danube tributaries Dyje, Svraka and Morava. The Moravian wine region is largely concentrated on the border with Austria. It is kind of a continuation of the Austrian “Weinviertel” region in the north-east of Austria. The Moravian Wine Region is divided into four sub-regions: Znojmo, Mikulov, Velké Pavlovice and Slovácko.

In Bohemia, north of Prague, vines are planted along the river Labe (Elbe) and its tributaries, totaling 400 hectares of vineyards only. It is a small wine region, although Bohemia acounts for more than half of the Czech Republic. It is one of the most northerly wine regions in Europe. Prague sits on the 50° north latitude, the same as Wiesbaden in the Rheingau. The original instigator of vine-planting in Bohemia was the Emperor Charles IV, who gave it impetus with his decrees issued in the year 1358. The wine region Bohemia is divided into two sub-regions: Mělník and Litoměřice. No wine is grown in Czech Silesia, the third of the three Czech regions, in the north-east.

Picture: Map of Czech Republic

About three quarters of Czech wine production consists of white varietals. The primary varieties are Muller-Thurgau, Pinot Blanc (Czech: Rulandské bílé), Gewürztraminer (Czech: Tramín červený) and Grüner Veltliner (Czech: Veltínské zelené). Typically, Czech white wines are dry, aromatic, and light wines.

There are also red varietals such as Frankovka (Blaufrankisch), Modrý Portugal (Blue Portugal, named after the grape, not the country), or Svatovavřinecké (Saint Lawrence).

Saint Wenceslas Vineyard

Saint Wenceslas Vineyard is one of the oldest vineyards in the country. The legend says that it was Saint Wenceslas himself, who took care of this vineyard. The vineyard is just below the Prague Castle. It was reconstructed and opened to the public only recently. The new vineyard has been planted mainly with Pinot Noir and Riesling, but you can also see all other grape varieties currently approved to be planted in the Czech Republic.

Pictures: Saint Wenceslas Vineyard and Villa Richter

The vineyard was first mentioned in a written document in 1375. In 1799, it was bought by a mailman of the supreme post office by the name Tomáš František Richter. In 1836, Karel Emanuel Richter built Villa Richter on the vineyard. In 1945, Villa Richter was confiscated because the Richter family was of German origin. It served as the Cuban embassy for many years. In 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Prague Castle Authority became the owner of Villa Richter and the Saint Wenceslas Vineyard; they were opened to the public in 2008.

Villa Richter now comprises three restaurants and an outdoor wine bar - in the midst of one of the oldest vineyard in the Czech Republic. The Wine Bar offers a unique view of Prague. We sat there in the afternoon, tasted wines from Bohemia and Moravia and enjoyed the view and the atmosphere. The wine list is very educational, with maps and lots of explanations.

Pictures: Outdoor Wine Bistro in Saint Wenceslas Vineyard in Prague

The Wine List

Here is the list of wines you can drink by the glass, with the prices in Krona for a glass and mug of 0.5 liter. At the time of the writing of this posting, 1 US$ equaled 19 Krona, and 1 Euro equaled 1.28 US$.

Mělnická podoblast
Mělničina bílá 2007, Vinařství Kraus 45 Kč, 150 Kč
Mělničina červená 2007, Vinařství Kraus 45 Kč 150 Kč

Litoměřická podoblast
Müller Thurgau, kabinet 2008, Žernosecké vinařství 45 Kč 150 Kč
Svatovařinecké 2007, Žernosecké vinařství 45 Kč 150 Kč

Znojemská podoblast
Ryzlink rýnský 2008, Znovín Znojmo 55 Kč 165 Kč
Cabernet sauvignon Rosé 2008, Znovín Znojmo 55 Kč 165 Kč
Zweigeltrebe 2007 , Znovín Znojmo 55 Kč 165 Kč

Mikulovská podoblast
Veltlínské zelené, pozdní sběr 2007, Sonberk 60 Kč 190 Kč
Rulandské Modré, kabinet2007, Latitude 49, Vinselekt Michlovský 60 Kč 190 Kč

Velkopavlovická podoblast
Ryzlink vlašský 2008, Patria Kobylí 45 Kč 150 Kč
Frankovka rosé 2008, Patria Kobylí 45 Kč 150 Kč
Frankovka kabinet 2007, Latitude 49, Vinselek Michlovský 55 Kč 165 Kč

Slovácká podoblast
Müller thurgau, kabinet 2007, Latitude 49, Vinselek Michlovský 55 Kč 165 Kč
Modrý portugal 2007, Harmony Vinselekt Michlovský 55 Kč 165 Kč

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