Valtice - Are you having difficulties finding your favorite Czech wine? Last week, the experts chose one hundred top Czech wines at an annual three-day tasting marathon in the Moravian chateau Valtice to make your deliberations easier.
The most successful winemaker was Miloš Michlovský who founded his wine-growing company Vinselekt Michlovský in 1993.
Seventeen of his wines that are grown on the vineyards of the warmest regions of Southern Moravia made it to the top one hundred.
Other winemakers whose wines were awarded by the jury were Vinné sklepy Valtice with seven selected wines and Tomáš Krist with six samples making the grade.
Public tasting available
Only two samples from Bohemia qualified for the coveted Wine Salon label - Riesling from the wine-making company of the old Czech aristocratic family Lobkowicz in Roudnice nad Labem with more than 400 years of wine growing tradition and Pinot Noir from Kutná Hora.
All other 98 selected samples came from Southern Moravia.
"The Wine Salon is our most prestigious wine contest. The top one hundred wines we select are then displayed in the wine-tasting exhibition in the cellar of the Valtice chateau," says Pavel Krška, director of the National Wine Center which organizes the contest.
Wine connoisseurs can visit the chateau Valtice and taste all one hundred best wines right there.
The top selection of 2007 is on sale right now to clear the cellar space for this year's winners. The exposition will be closed in February to allow experts to put together the brand new selection so that the wine fans can taste for themselves from March 1.
All selected wines will be designated with a golden seal on the bottle. The seal allows the wine companies to raise the price by twenty to fifty percent.
This year's most successful wine varieties were Riesling with eight awarded samples, Chardonnay with 7, Pinot Blanc and Welshriesling, both with six wines among the top one hundred. Lemberger, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir were the most popular red wines among the wine tasting experts.
The way into the Top 100 is more difficult for small-scale wine growers. "It is more complicated because many small wine producers have not yet bottled the required 550 bottles by the time they are to sign for the competition," says Pavel Buriánek, cellar-man from a specialised High School of Viticulture in Valtice.
Two wines from the small wine company that the school runs, however, were able to make it to the top one hundred.
A matter of pride
To succeed in the contest is a matter of pride for every wine grower. "There is no other contest like Wine Salon, it is the most prestigious contest in the Czech Republic," says Mr. Buriánek.
"There have been some attempts to start a rival contest but they all failed. This way it is actually more comfortable for the consumers because they can be sure that the best Czech wines are displayed in Valtice," adds Mr. Buriánek.
This year, wine tasting experts picked the winner from 335 samples, coming from 83 different wine producers.
For the first time in history, the wine-tasters did not pick their favorites just by themselves in separate booths this year, but instead discussed the samples at three round tables. "This type of wine-tasting is more intense," said Vilém Kraus, a leading Czech wine expert.
He also believes that this year's selection confirmed the increasing quality of Czech wines, which according to him can be attributed among other things to the improvement in technology.