Tuesday 27 January 2015

Beware of pity

Rulanske Modre variety
On a recent trip to Prague we naturally took the opportunity to look at Czech wines. In preparation we had researched the varieties grown in the Czech Republic (mostly in Moravia) and found that there is a surprising number of locally produced hybrids. Quite why this should be so is not clear as vinifera varieties such as those grown in Austria seem also to grow in the Czech Republic but resistance to frost and fungus diseases seems to be desirable;

For the record, the list is as follows;

Agni ( Andre x Irsai Oliver)
Andre was nothing to write home about in our 'North' tasting

Andre (Blaufraenkisch x St. Laurent)
Ariana (Riesling x St. Laurent) x Zweigelt
Aurelius (Neuburger x Riesling)

Cabernet Moravia (Cabernet Franc x Zweigelt)
Devin (Gewurtztraminer x Roter Veltiner)
Lena (Lipovina x Irsai Oliver)
Laurot (Merlot x Seibel 13666) x (Blaufränkisch x St. Laurent)
Malverina (Rakisch x Merlan)

Moravian Muscat (Ottonel x Splendor)
Neronet (St Laurent x Blauer Portugieser) x (Alicante Bouschet x Cabernet Sauvignon)

Palava is considered locally as one of the best hybrids

Palava (Gewurztraminer x Muller-Thurgau)
Revolta (Malingre x Chrupka Bila) x (Corinth Cabanská x Perla Rosa)
Rubinet (Revolta x Alibernet) x André)
Veritas (Red Riesling x Bouvier)
Vrboska (Red Traminer x Cabanská Perla (Pearl of Csaba)

Not all of these are originally Czech and some have only reached the experimental stage but you can see there is plenty of activity in the creation of hybrids. In fact such is the enthusiasm for hybrids in general, you could call the Czech republic a hybrid hotspot. Amazingly we found these too:

our old friend Solaris, now ubiquitous it seems
a hybrid from Geisenheim
Old friend Kerner, quite low in alcohol here (12.5%)
Another Geisenheim variety now more frequent in the Czech Republic than in Germany
A Hungarian hybrid, unknown to 'Wine Grapes'
Not to be outdone by their neighbour, here is a list of Slovak hybrids;



Looking around shops in Prague, mainly at a large shop called My Narodni Obchodni domy Tesco, we soon came to work out the main vinifera varieties;

Frankovka = Blaufraenkisch

Modry Portugal = Blauer Portugieser
Neuburske = Neuburger
Rulandske Sede = Pinot Gris
Ryzlink Rynsky = Rhine Riesling
Ryzlink Vlassky = Weslschriesling
Sylvanske Zelene = Silvaner

Svatovavrinecke = St. Laurent (a bit more difficult this one but data roaming came to the rescue)

Tramin Cerveny = Gewurztraminer
Veltlínské červené rané = Fruehroter Veltliner
Veltlinske Zelene = Gruener Veltliner

Relatively simple really, but then there was something rather intriguing called Rulandske Modry. Thanks to Portugal Modry we had worked out that Modry means Blue but what could Rulandske Modry be? Pinot Gris is often called Rulander in Germany due to a historical person called Johann Seger Ruland who discovered Pinot Gris vines in a garden in Speyer in the mid - 18th century and popularised them. We fancied this must be a new variety what with all the crosses and hybrids going on; Blue Pinot Gris! We knew that Pinot Gris could have a variety of berry colours so why not?

Due to various circumstances we were not able to buy any wine on this trip so it was with great satisfaction that a cafe near our hotel was selling Rulandske Modry by the glass. One sip sparked joy as they say. Here was a discovery indeed. Reminiscent of something quite familiar we thought, but what? Our palate memory is poor to non-existant as we have said but Rulanske Modry was something new and exceptional. How exciting to make such a discovery! That's what we at Slotovino are all about; digging up hidden gems, supporting the under-dog.

Beware of pity: Rulandske Modry = Pinot Noir! 

What's more, Rulandske bile = Pinot Blanc.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Slotovino competition 2014/15

Slotovino competition update:

We make the rules so we can also enter the competition if we like and in the absence of any entries whatsoever, here are two candidates. One of these, the Moroccan beauty we have already tried and pronounced a hit:

Bought at Marrakech airport duty free (where else to buy wine in Morocco? Supermarkets are beginning to bow to fundamentalism and ending sales of alcoholic drinks). This is the most interesting wine we came across on a recent trip to this fascinating country. The blend is Marselan, Carmenere and Petit Verdot. It works very well indeed. It sings!

and here's one we didn't try but wins maximum points for imagination; Carrasquin, Verdejo Negro, Albarin Negro and Mencia. We had never heard of the first three. We hope none of them is a local name for Tempranillo!

In our post of October 2nd we promised a new competition with the customary cash prize. Since then, nothing, for which apologies to anyone left on tenterhooks.

So while preparing for our next expedition to the Lunigiana and thinking about our recent one to the Minho and Galicia, we suddenly recalled our challenge to find the most imaginative blend.

Slotovino rarely deals in blends but we are making progress and those of Portuguese and Spanish North West including Brancellao/Alvarinho, Vinhao/Souson, Borracal/Caino Tinto, Ferron/Manseng Noir and others.

We are about to encounter similarly esoteric varieties for blends in the Colli di Candia, Val di Magra and Colli Luni. These include Massaretta/Barsaglina, Pollera, Vermentino Nero, Bracciola, Foscara, Marinella, Morone and Rossara among others.

So how about it? Back in October we suggested entries along the lines of L'En de l'oeil and Koshu to make a beautifully fragrant white for example or a red from maybe Groppello and Corvina. What would you blend? Please limit yourselves to grapes mentioned in 'Wine Grapes'.

Slotovino will be the final judge as before. 500 Malagasy Francs are the prize!

Friday 16 January 2015

Seven, they are Seven

An experiment as far as we are concerned; propagating vines from bare wood cuttings!

Black-fingered Slotovino has purchased £12 of cuttings from the vine mostly found in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario -  'L'Acadie blanc'. This is a Canadian hybrid from Cascade and Seyve Villard 14-287.Amazingly, this obscure vine is listed at Sunnybank Vine Nurseries of Herefordshire and they were kind enough to send us 7 cuttings for the price of 6. We reckon that if L'Acadie can grow in Nova Scotia it could also grow in the UK, eventually at our experimental vineyard in the Thames Valley.

So instructions in hand we dipped the 7 cuttings into some rooting gel and buried them in soil up to the 2nd bud, hopefully the right side up. We have put polythene bags over them and stuck them in a spot on the terrace away from direct sunlight. We have to keep them well watered and they are supposed to grow roots and then flourish, bearing leaves and eventually grapes.

We know plenty of people do this kind of thing but we never thought of ourselves as belonging to them and so no one will be more surprised than us if even one cutting takes. What next? Grafting?.

We'll be sure to keep Slotovino readers informed. Exciting isn't it?