Grape Varieties in the Czech Republic


One of the reasons why Czech wines have such original flavour and renowned diversity  is the amazingly rich varietal mix.  In the local vineyards, you can find 35 varieties of white and 26 varieties of red grapes that are listed in the National Register of Grape Varieties, along with several other unlisted ones.  Against this wide-ranging background of Moravian and Bohemian wines, it is necessary to take into consideration the combination of natural conditions and the work undertaken by the human hand.  In the Czech Republic, there are over eight hundred and fifty registered wineries.  Our native winemaking speciality is the multi-varietal composition of the vineyards ,including those of the small vintners.  Thus the resulting style of the individual wines is influenced not only by the terroir, regional landscape, different soils and microclimates, but also by the winemakers with their ingenuity, skill, experience, traditional methods and new trends.  In short, you will never find any dullness or mediocrity in Moravian and Bohemian wines of original provenance.

 

Varieties for the Production of White Wines  

 

Veltlínské zelené/Grüner Veltliner

The most planted grape variety in our vineyards. Depending on the ripeness in a given year Grüner Veltliner gives wines that are zingy and refreshing, having soft muscat tones, well-suited not only to everyday consumption but it also accounts for top-quality wines having a green-straw hue and the honeyed tones of linden flowers on the nose. When matured in bottle we first of all encounter the spicy notes of white pepper which slowly evolve into a delicate almond palate with a creamy texture. This grape is often used in cuvées for making sparkling wines. The young wines are best served to accompany cold meats, while the mature ones go with beef or neutral sauces. Wonderful to pair with fried Christmas carp or other freshwater fish.

 

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: probably Austria
Current area in the Czech Republic: 1,654 ha (9.2%)

Veltlínské zelené/Grüner Veltliner © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Veltlínské zelené/Grüner Veltliner © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Müller Thurgau/Rivaner

Müller-Thurgau is the second-most planted grape variety in our vineyards. Its name derives from the combination of the surname of its breeder, Professor Hermann Müller and the name of the Swiss canton of Thurgau, where he came from. The wines are blessed with a light colour, having greenish-straw shades and are medium to full-bodied, lively and nicely balanced. On the nose and palate, one can find the scent of muscat with tones of nettle and peach, then citrus fruits, gooseberry and blackcurrants. It goes well with starters, vegetable soups, fish and fresh cheeses.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: Germany, hybrid ‘Riesling’ × Madlenka královská ’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 1,499 ha (8.3%)

Müller Thurgau/Rivaner - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Müller Thurgau/Rivaner - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Ryzlink rýnský/Riesling

Wines from the Riesling grape excel with their wide range of fragrances, from fruity to spicy, mineral, earthy and even smoky – depending on the type of soil and vintage. Most often, you will come across ripe apricots, linden flowers and quince flavours, which with age will mature to acquire a hint of petroleum. Wines with a greenish-straw hue when young gradually change colour to display deep golden tinges through maturing, while those with a special selection of berries take on shades of amber. Wines are distinguished by their high quality and their unrivalled status to accompany cold starters, trout as well as other fish, light poultry dishes, while the sweeter and more luscious versions are a good match for desserts.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: Germany, probably random hybrid Heunisch ’× (Tramín’ × autochthonous Rhineland variety).
Current area in the Czech Republic: 1,342 ha (7.4%)

Ryzlink rýnský/Riesling - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Ryzlink rýnský/Riesling - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Ryzlink vlašský/Welschriesling

Welschriesling gives pleasingly fresh wines which are full and well-balanced on the palate. In younger wines with a straw-green colour, one will find a wide variety of flavours ranging from fruity currants or gooseberry, through to scents of meadow flowers reaching up to delicate honeyed notes with a hint of raisins and sultanas in mature styles. This grape often forms the base for sparkling wines and is also well suited to cellaring. Wines from Welschriesling go perfectly well with cold starters, vegetable dishes, mature cheeses, light fish dishes, but also excel with an assortment of freshly made pork products.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: Not clear, perhaps France or Italy.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 1,168 ha (6.5%)

Ryzlink vlašský/Welschriesling - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Ryzlink vlašský/Welschriesling - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Rulandské šedé/Pinot Gris

You can expect wines from this very old grape variety to have the characteristic aromas of red orange and honey, while the palate is full-bodied with ample, smooth flavours. The wines are golden-yellow in hue and typified by their glycerol content and alcohol, as well as their characteristic long-lasting aftertaste. In the wines, we can also find aromas of mango, pear, spices and botrytis tones as well as a typical hint of breadiness. Wonderful combinations can be had with rich and spicy dishes, while the sweeter wines are perfect with desserts.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: France, Pinot noir bud mutation.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 985 ha (5.5%)

Rulandské šedé/Pinot gris - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Rulandské šedé/Pinot gris - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Sauvignon/Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc rates amongst the highest quality wines from northern wine regions. They are a light straw-green, intensely aromatic and spicy, with a zesty acidity. They catch one’s attention with their great range of fragrances, from grass and nettles to shades of orchard fruit. On both the nose and palate, we find blackcurrant, gooseberry, kiwi fruit and peach in the drier styles, while in the sweeter versions, there is pineapple, honey, mango, passion fruit and also acacia and orange blossom. Aromatically expressive and dry Sauvignons are well suited to serve as an aperitif, while the more mature examples are best matched with asparagus specialities, fish and goat’s cheese.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1952
Origin: France, Loire Valley; probably a random hybrid ‘Chenin blanc’ × ‘Tramín ’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 975 ha (5.4%)

Sauvignon/Sauvignon blanc - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Sauvignon/Sauvignon blanc - © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Chardonnay

Wines of the Chardonnay variety are remarkable for their full and long-lastingpalate. However, the specific manifestation of these light-green to golden-coloured wines alters according to the varied climatic and soil conditions. In cooler climes, the wines are characterised by their crisp acidity with tones of green apple and acacia flowers, while in warmer zones they take on a more tropical character with the flavours of mango, cream and occasionally even ranging to honey and caramel. They are finely suited to festive occasions and go well with hearty soups, white-meat dishes and cream sauces. They also match perfectly with paté and seafood.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1987
Origin: The original variety originating in France probably originated from the free crossing of the variety ‘Heunisch white’ with a variant from the Pinot group.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 962 ha (5.3%)

Chardonnay © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Chardonnay © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Rulandské bílé/Pinot Blanc

Pinot Blanc gives wines that are elegant, harmonious, full-bodied and rich. They have a greenish-yellow colour and a delicate floral scent. With maturation, their colour deepens and the original vivid aromatic expression becomes very distinctive and develops into one of ripe pears, red fruit and hazelnuts. This versatile variety is well-suited to the production of wines having a special selection of berries and even the noble qualities of botrytis, while also being ideal for sparkling wines. Pinot Blanc pairs brilliantly with smoked fish, chicken, light beef dishes, pork and mature cheeses.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: France, Pinot gris bud mutation.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 792 ha (4.4%)

Rulandské bílé/Pinot blanc © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Rulandské bílé/Pinot blanc © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Tramín červený/Gewürztraminer

Wines from this ancient grape variety have a greenish-straw to golden-yellow colour and are characterised by their intense nose and spiciness, underlined with sweet honey and hints of dried fruit. The primary aroma can be compared to that of tea rose petals, and is accompanied by further nuances – fragrances such as tropical fruits, apricots, violets or peonies, as well as spiciness evoking ginger and cinammon. Wines from ripe grapes are full and opulent, with a concentrated viscous structure. They can be served as the aperitif for ceremonial occasions, or paired with either goose-liver paté or oriental dishes.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: Not known, probably Austria or South Tyrol, but it can also be Egypt.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 688 ha (3.8%)

Tramín červený/Gewürztraminer © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Tramín červený/Gewürztraminer © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Pálava

Wines from this uniquely Moravian variety are rather similar in character to the Traminer cultivars, being aromatic, though distinctly spicier. Their refined harmony also makes them more attractive for many consumers. They are full-bodied, with lower acidity and a long finish. They boast a golden-yellow colour and on the nose as well as the palate,we find lychee, mandarin and exotic spices such as nutmeg and vanilla. They pair brilliantly with spicy dishes, paté, roasted poultry, smoked or soft-rind cheeses and desserts.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1977
Origin: Moravia wine region, hybrid ‘Traminer’× ‘Müller Thurgau ’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 594 ha (3.3%)

Pálava © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Pálava © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Muškát moravský, MOPR/Moravian Muscat

The quality wines from this variety, which was originally developed in Moravia, possess a highly muscaty nose and reflect more than any other variety the skill and experience of the winemaker. Delicately aromatic wines with fine acidity have a green-straw hue and the nose of tangerines and oranges so typical of muscat grapes. The dry wines from Moravian Muscat best serve as an aperitif, possibly in tandem with a delicate paté or asparagus, the semi-sweet ones combine beautifully with sweet desserts.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1987
Origin: The wine region of Moravia, a hybrid of ‘Muscat Ottonel’ x ‘Prachtraube’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 451 ha (2.5%)

Muškát moravský/MOPR © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Muškát moravský/MOPR © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Hibernal

The wines display a greenish-yellow colour, a pronounced nose and a well-balanced palate. They owe their popularity to the distinctive aromas of peaches, blackcurrants, so very typical of Sauvignon Blanc, and also to the nose of linden flowers, apricots and other floral scents that are mostly characteristic of Riesling. The palate is rounded, spicy and harmonious. Hibernal can be happily paired with starters, asparagus, fish or seafood. The sweeter types are especially well-suited with desserts.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 2004
Origin: Germany, hybrid (‘Seibel 7.053’ × ‘Riesling’ clone 239 Gm) F2 generation.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 301 ha (1.7%)

Hibernal © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Hibernal © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Neuburské/Neuburger

Neuburger gives finely fragrant wines with a palate that is full and well-balanced. The highest quality and the most interesting wines, with their straw to golden-yellow colour, are crfeated through prolonged bottle maturation. On the palate, they are opulent, medium-full to full-bodied, velvety and viscous. They have a floral-fruity character with an inimitable spicy, cinammon palate. On the nose as well as the palate, hints of walnut, raspberry and cream predominate. Neuburger pairs successfully with meat dishes in cream sauces, roast poultry and duck and goose-liver patés.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: Austria, random seedling of Veltliner red × Sylvaner green.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 288 ha (1.6%)

Neuburské/Neuburger © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Neuburské/Neuburger © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Sylvánské zelené/Grüner Silvaner

The Sylvaner grape variety ( known as Silvaner or Grüner Silvaner in German speaking countries) has a yellowy-golden hue and a zesty nose.  The more youthful wines offer a hint of grassiness leading to gooseberry.  In younger wines the palate is ample, round and lightly spiced with a distinctive acidity.  When reaching greater ripeness, the grapes can give wines with special attributes which, when maturing in bottle, acquire an oily texture, smoothness and supple harmony, while on the nose one discovers acacia flowers as well as mineral and vegetal tones.  The wines tend to be neutral, which means they do not interfere with the taste of delicate food, and marry well with dishes made using rabbit, poultry or pork, appetisers and cream sauces.  

 

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: Austria, probably a cross between ‘Traminer‘ × ’Österreichisch weiss’. One of the parents of the Österreichisch weiss was Heunisch weiss.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 166 ha (0.9 %)

Sylvánské zelené/Grüner Silvaner © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Sylvánské zelené/Grüner Silvaner © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Veltlínské červené rané/Malvasia

This early-ripening grape variety is characterised by its golden-yellow to gold colour.  The nose is multi-layered and subtle, with hints of almonds, banana and elderflower.  On the palate, the wine comes across as pleasingly fruity and we can discern a mixture of garden fruit, almonds and freshly baked bread.  This grape has been designated as one of the three “white“ varieties permitted for the production of Saint Martin’s wine.  It matches well with hearty soups, cold starters and poultry dishes.  

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1952
Origin: Lower Austria, a random hybrid of ‘Grüner Silvaner’ × ‘Veltliner Rot’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 153 ha (0,8 %)

Veltlínské červené rané/Malvasia © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Veltlínské červené rané/Malvasia © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

 

Varieties for the Production of Red and Rosé Wines (red varieties)  

 

Frankovka/Lemberger, Blaufränkisch 

In the best vintages, Frankovka wines are among the truly great wines of the Czech Republic, with a distinctive velvety texture.  They have a dark, ruby colour, with younger wines have a distinctive combination of pronounced acidity and tannins, while the more mature wines gain a complex, spicy palate, with touches of blackberry and cinammon.  Depending on the ripeness of the grapes, Blaufränkisch wines are either suited to everyday food or, in the case of mature wines from a good vintage, go superbly with roasted game or poultry and blue-veined cheeses.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: Probably Austria, in Germany it has a synonym for Lower Austria’s Limberg. It can also come from Croatia or France, but most likely from Slovenia, where it is documented before 1750. It is a random cross between varieties ‘Cinnamon Bunch’ (Blaue Zimmettraube) × ‘Heunisch White’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 1,079 ha (6.0%)

 

Frankovka/Lemberger, Blaufränkisch © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Frankovka/Lemberger, Blaufränkisch © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Svatovavřinecké/Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent wines have gained much favour in this country, due to their deep crimson colour, varietal aromas of sour cherry, plum jam and sometimes even blackcurrant and distinctive tannin structure.  You can taste the newly-released, young Saint Laurent wines for the first time on the 11th November after harvest as Saint Martin’s wine;  Czech answer to Beaujolais Nouveau. The wines are usually medium to full-bodied.  In the case of bottle-aged wines, their striking character is transformed into a velvety opulence.  Saint Laurent suits red meat, game, Saint Martin’s goose with flapjacks and soft, blue-veined cheeses.  

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: France or Lower Austria, one of the parents is Pinot noir.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 1,053 ha (5.8%)

Svatovavřinecké/Saint Laurent © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Svatovavřinecké/Saint Laurent © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Zweigeltrebe

Wines from the Zweigeltrebe variety have a dark garnet colour with tinges of violet and can boast a spiced-fruity aroma, very often reminiscent of berry fruit.  The nose and palate of the youthful wines become refined relatively fast, the wine, however, needs to mature in wooden barrels.  After a year of ageing the pleasing nose and smooth velvety conclusion come as a surprise.  On the palate we encounter blackberries, sour cherries or maybe cherry compote and forest fruits.  Red and rosé wines from this grape variety can accompany a range of grilled meat dishes, hearty cheeses or even pasta. 

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1980
Origin: Austria, ‘Saint Laurent’ x ‘Lemberger’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 753 ha (4.2%)

Zweigeltrebe © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Zweigeltrebe © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Rulandské modré/Pinot noir

Wines made of Pinot Noir tend to have a colour of light ruby to bricky red with a golden rim circling the sides of the glass.  Their nose and fullness excel most especially after a maturation lasting several years, when they bring to mind the smells of leather, smoke, strawberries and prunes.  The acidity and less pronounced tannins are smooth.  Pinot Noir benefits qualitatively from ageing in bottle as well as in barrel.  It matches perfectly with roasted meat, feathered game, cheeses with white mould, and dishes prepared from mushrooms or bitter chocolate.  

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: France, likely a random hybrid ‘Pinot Meunier’ x ‘Traminer’ or bud mutation of Pinot within the group.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 728 ha (4.0%)

Rulandské modré/Pinot noir © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Rulandské modré/Pinot noir © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Modrý Portugal/Blauer Portugieser

The most typical indications of wines from this variety are their subtle ruby colour, prudent, occasionally even floral nose and pleasing velvety palate with its lower acidity and tannin content.  In the mouth we discover tones of both violets and peony flowers, freshly mown hay, sour cherries and cassis.  Wines from this variety are well suited to gastronomy and can combine with a wide spectrum of dishes.  One may reliably recommend Italian cuisine, for example pasta variations.  Blauer Portugieser is the first variety from which Saint Martin’s wines began to be made, and they go wonderfully well with the traditional roast goose.  

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: It is very likely that it comes from Portugal or Slovenia.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 566 ha (3.1%)

Modrý Portugal/Blauer Portugieser © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Modrý Portugal/Blauer Portugieser © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet Sauvignon variety gives to a wine a dark garnet hue, often with bluish reflections, while with ageing this intensity increases.  The typical nose is of blackcurrants, which is accompanied by the aroma of cherries, blackberries, marmalade, tobacco and cedar wood, depending on the ripeness of the grapes.  The wine is mighty, with a very lengthy impression and in the case of bottle ageing the result is soft and velvety.  These full-bodied aromatic wines go extremely successfully with meat dishes, especially a roast-lamb joint, beef steaks, turkey or spicy food with a piquant sauce.  Rosé wines from this grape also go hand-in-hand with grilled meats and make for a pleasant companion on warm summer evenings.  

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1980
Origin: France, likely hybrid ‘Cabernet Franc’ × ‘Sauvignon’. Cabernet Franc is a cross with a vine forest.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 232 ha (1.3%)

Cabernet Sauvignon © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Cabernet Sauvignon © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

André

The harmonious wines coming from this native Moravian variety remind one of the deep and full scent of sour cherries, black cherries and ripe blackberries, as found in southern types of wine.  If the grapes are left to ripen very well, wines will be the colour of deep garnet, full and round, and after maturing in barrel the smooth taste of ripe tannins will be developed.  André is served with game, dark meat, hearty dishes or mature blue cheeses.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1980
Origin: Moravia wine region, ‘Frankovka’ × ‘Svatovavřinecké’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 208 ha (1.2%)

 

André © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
André © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.


Cabernet Moravia

The Cabernet Moravia grape variety, with origins firmly in Moravia, gives wines of a dark garnet appearance redolent with the aromatic substances of blackcurrant so characteristic of the Cabernet family of cultivars.  After a naturally triggered-off malolactic fermentation, which thereby reduces the acidity content, the wine is nicely balanced and full-bodied, smooth, with well-structured tannins and a lengthy finish.  With maturation its structure and balance intensify even more.  It is well-suited for ageiing in oak barrels of the barrique type and it makes a fine accompaniment to game dishes, steaks, dark meat in thick creamy sauces and mature blue-veined cheeses.

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 2001
Origin: The Moravia wine region, a cross between ‘Zweigeltrebe’ and ‘Cabernet Franc’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 193 ha (1,1 %)

 

Cabernet Moravia © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Cabernet Moravia © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

 

Dornfelder

The Dornfelder grape variety gives fine wines with subtly aromatic flavours.  It is well suited to the production of quality wines and wines with special attributes, and it may also be cultivated directly for the consumption of the grapes themselves.  The wine‘s deep-crimson hue is the variety’s most striking feature.  On both nose and palate we can find for example cranberries and other fruits of the forest, including hazelnuts, while wines made with less ripened berries will also feature notes of green peppers.  When the wine is still youthful it marries well with pasta dishes, the more corpulent wines are best served with rich or spicy meat dishes, barbecues, game and strongly flavoured mature cheeses.    

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 2004
Origin: Germany, (“Jakubské” × “Trolínské”) × (“Blauer Portugieser” × “Lemberger“).
Current area in the Czech Republic: 155 ha (0,9 %)

 

Dornfelder © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Dornfelder © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.

 

Merlot

Wines from the Merlot cultivar have a deep garnety colour and a delicate aroma featuring overripe blackcurrant, combined with a nose of black cherries, plums and figs.  Moreover, after a longer spell maturing in the bottle, the tones of tobacco, truffles, coffee or chocolate will also appear.  The wines‘ taste is characterised by their lower acidity content, an ample and round palate and a smooth texture.  Due to their easy quaffability and suppleness wines from the Merlot grape have found great popularity among consumers.  They may be drunk on their own, without any accompanying food, on the other hand they match excellently with delicate patés, roe-deer or venison ragout, veal kidneys and dishes featuring the strong taste of tomatoes and those prepared from feathered game or with Emmental cheese. 

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 2001
Origin: France, it is a random crossing of varieties Madlenka blue (no longer existing variety) × Cabernet franc.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 125 ha (0,7 %)

 

Merlot © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Merlot © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.