Grape Varieties in the Czech Republic


One of the reasons why wines of such original flavour and renowned diversity originate in the Czech Republic is the amazingly rich varietal mix.  In the vineyards hereabouts one can find 35 varieties of white and 26 varieties of red grapes that are registered in the State Varietal Book, along with several other unlisted varieties.  In the background of this wide range of Moravian and Czech 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 relief, 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 Czech 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 delicately almond palate with creamy reverberations.  This grape is often used in cuvées for making sparkling wines.  The young wines are best served to accompany cold meats, the mature ones go with beef or neutral sauces.  Wonderful to marry 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: 1 621 ha (9.1%)

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 of a medium full body, lively and nicely balanced.  On the nose and palate one can find a scent of muscat with tones of nettle and peach, then citrus fruit, gooseberry and blackcurrants.  It goes well with starters, vegetable soups, with fish or fresh creamy cheeses.   

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: Germany, hybrid ‘Riesling’ × Madlenka královská ’.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 1,514 ha (8.5%)

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 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 sweet 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: 1,313 ha (7.3%)

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 wines of a straw-green colour one will find a wide variety of flavours ranging from fruity currants or gooseberry (in youthful wines), through 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 lengthy laying down.  Wines from Welschriesling go perfectly well with cold starters, vegetable dishes, mature cheeses, light fish dishes, but also excel with pig-sticking specialities.  

More information

Year of entry in the State Varietal Book: 1941
Origin: Not clear, perhaps France or Italy.
Current area in the Czech Republic: 1,187 ha (6.6%)

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 such as Pinot Gris to be ample, smooth, with high extract and orange undertones on the nose which combine with delicate impressions of honey.  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 find aromas of red blood orange, mango and pear, honey, spiciness, a touch of botrytis and a typical breadiness.  Wonderful combination 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: 962 ha (5.4%)

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.  Wines 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 nose and palate we find blackcurrant, gooseberry, kiwi and peach, in the sweeter versions 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: 955 ha (5.3%)

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-reverberating palate.  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, 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 will be finely suited to festive occasions, go well with thick soups, white-meat dishes and cream sauces.  They also match perfectly with paté and sea food.  

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: 936 ha (5.2%)

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 and rich in extractive substances.  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 or hazelnuts.  This variety is well-suited to the production of wines having a special selection of berries and even botrytic qualities and also for sparkling wines.  They make an excellent pairing 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: 797 ha (4.5%)

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 having a greenish-straw to goldeny-yellow colour 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 serve finely for ceremonial occasions as an aperitif, going excellently with 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: 679 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 variety of pure Moravian origin 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 oranges and exotic spices such as nutmeg and vanilla.  They pair excellently 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: 549 ha (3.1%)

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

Muškát moravský/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 a very decent 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 make a fine combination 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: 444 ha (2.5%)

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

Neuburské/Neuburger

Neuburger gives finely fragrant wines, on the palate they are full and well-balanced.  The higher and more interesting quality levels of these wines with their straw to golden-yellow colour are achieved through prolonged maturation of the wines in bottle.  On the palate they are opulent, extractive, 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 marries excellently with meat dishes in cream sauce, roast poultry of poultry paté.  

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: 286 ha (1.6%)

Neuburské (Neuburger) © Národní vinařské centrum, o.p.s.
Neuburské (Neuburger) © 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 or other florals scents that are mostly characteristic of Riesling.  The palate is rounded, spicy and harmonious. We can happily serve Hibernal with starters, asparagus, fish or sea food.  The sweeter types are especially felicitous 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: 276 ha (1.5%)

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

 

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

 

Frankovka/Lemberger, Blaufränkisch 

In the wines having a dark-ruby colour and a full, pleasingly spiced palate replete with a distinct expression of acids and tannins, a congenial spiciness comes to the fore, united with shades of blackberry and cinammon, after a certain period of maturation.  These belong among our very best red wines which, in the best vintages, are characterised by their emblematic velvety character.  Depending on the ripeness of the grapes wines from Blaufränkisch will be suited either to matching with everyday food or, in the case of mature wines from a good vintage, they go superbly with roast meat, game, duck and goose, potted meat or goulash, with offal-based dishes, spicy vegetable casseroles, mouldy cheeses and pasta variations.

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: 1101 ha (6.2%)

 

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

Svatovavřinecké/Saint Laurent

Wine from the Saint Laurent grape variety has much gained favour in this country due to its deep crimson colour, its nose typically of cherry, plum jam and sometimes even blackcurrant, its distinctive varietal character and interestingly structured tannins.  You can taste the first young wine for the first time on the 11th November after harvest in the form of young – Saint Martin’s – wine.  Wines are usually medium-to-full bodied, in the case of bottle maturation their striking character is transformed into a velvety opulence.  Saint Laurent suits red meat, game, Saint Martin’s goose with flapjacks and double-mould 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: 1085 ha (6.1%)

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: 750 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: 720 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: 583 ha (3.3%)

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: 236 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: 218 ha (1.2%)

 

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