I believe the true Czech wine gems hide with the small winemakers and wineries. There is an almost countless amount of those in Moravia, but I´d like to begin where we began – in a winery called Vašíček. It was in Milan Vašíček´s cellar, in a small wine village of Nechory, where we experienced our first real wine tasting and where we drank (still, so far) the best wine we´ve ever encountered.
The new kid on the block
Vašíček is a relatively small family winery, run by Milan Vašíček with the help of his son and wife. The brand is still rather young as the Vašíček wines didn´t enter the commercial market until 2002. To that point, Milan Vašíček was a professional folk musician touring Europe with his band. His love for music is also the reason why you can find the clef in his logo. The winemaker might be the new kid on the block, but his reputation is growing quickly – and given his very relaxed attitude towards marketing, it is truly thanks to the quality of the wine. Nowadays, Vašíček´s total production is about 30,000 bottles per year, which puts them into the position of – as they say – the biggest among the small winemakers. Their wines have been repeatedly successful in national and international competitions, including the AWC Vienna and the Wine Salon of the Czech Republic.
The only official residents of the village
Nevertheless, their success among wine critics and wine drinkers wasn´t the main reason we decided to visit this winery two years ago. It was mainly the family atmosphere and the owners´ true Moravian attitude towards life and wine that made us book a wine tasting and a few nights in their B&B. Staying at Vašíček´s place is like staying with family in a big house in the countryside – doors never locked, cats and dogs running around the garden (and your room, if you let them), wine stock always available and dinner eaten together with the owners, who – of course – have a few glasses of wine with you anytime of the day.
If ´never locking the doors´ in a B&B scares you, it shouldn´t. The Vašíček family are the only official residents of the entire village of Nechory, which otherwise consists of only wine cellars. There are about 300 of them, in fact, so if you somehow get bored with Vašíček wines, all you need to do is to walk about 50 meters down the street to find other local winemakers.
We didn´t have time to that, as Vašíček kept us pretty busy. It was from Milan Vašíček that we learnt all the basics associated with wine – from grape varieties, to the process of wine making and rules of wine tasting. I got slapped over my hand every time my fingers touched the wine glass elsewhere than on its stem. (Because you aren´t supposed to make the glass all smudgy and warm up your white wine…) I must say the slapping technique worked a bit too well, because now I have the urge to slap others when they hold their glass by the bowl.
During the mentioned tasting, we got the chance to drink about 10 different wines, all of them rather excellent. Most Vašíček wines are dry whites, such as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris or Müller Thurgau, but the best ones he makes – at least in my opinion – are his reds. Particularly his 2012 Pinot Noir is absolutely fantastic and his 2012 Merlot is still my personal undefeated champion among the best wines I´ve ever tasted. Both of these wines have very strong fruity aromas and bold taste, while remaining extremely light and easy to drink. However, Vašíček white wines are still the ones that win the most prizes and that are generally more commercially successful. They are mostly light and easy, lovely to drink, basically flawless and true to their variety. Yet (again – for me), they are not as memorable as the red ones.