Prague wine

Best wine bars in Prague

Best wine bars in Prague

Sure, Prague nightlife may be mostly associated with Czech beer (and lots of Czech beer), but Czech wine, after a long but troubled past especially during the Communist rule, has been making a big comeback recently. Never heard of Czech wine? No wonder. With a production capped by the EU at about 1% of the French production of wine, there are hardly any exports of Czech and Moravian wine abroad. Yes, we like to keep it all to ourselves. Sorry.

And that’s exactly whyvisiting a wine bar is one of the best things to do in Prague. Prague wine bars tend to be intimate, small bars that serve good wines from the Bohemian and Moravian wine regions and from abroad. They also sell somewine gifts, like organic grape seed oils, grape jelly and other produce made by Czech and Moravian winemakers, which would make for a great, conveniently small souvenir. And you will be surprised how good Czech and Moravian wines can be. Many of our guests surely are, and that's why we make a point of tasting Czech wines in the course of our Prague food tour. (And of course, we taste Moravian wines during our Moravian wine tours, too.)

These are the best wine bars in Prague in our opinion. You probably weren’t planning to create your own wine tour in Prague, but a visit to any of these wine bars in Prague may change your mind and plans for good. Hey, you were warned, okay?


Prague events this weekend: Prosecco, beer... and gardens

Prague events this weekend: Prosecco, beer... and gardens

Another weekend, another failed attempt to roam the city and try everything Prague has to offer in two days, while getting some rest after a busy week. Oh well. That's life. But the summer is nearly here and the weather is getting better, so we just have to power through this and we’ll sleep at work later on. Sounds like a plan!

We bring you an overview of events that caught our eye for the weekend ahead. We will try to see them all, but we can’t make any promises. Especially mixing beer and Prosecco wines could be a pretty dangerous mix, but with the food and the culture you get along the way, we think we could keep it civilized. See you there!


Prague local favorites: Veltlin

Prague local favorites: Veltlin

The interesting thing about Karlin’s Holy Foodie Trinity, i.e. Muj salek kavy, Tea Mountain and Veltlin, is that none of these places are about food. But it still lures foodies from the entire town to enjoy great coffee, tea and wine. We do love the Veltlin wine bar for many reasons, the main one being the owner, Bogdan Trojak. Bogdan is a fascinating man: a poet, a writer, a winemaker, the founder of the “Authentic” (read “natural”) winemakers and the man behind the awesome Prague Drinks Wine festival. He’s also one of the nicest people on the Prague foodie scene.


Prague Drinks Wine Festival 2015

Prague Drinks Wine Festival 2015

We make a point of having a glass of wine on our tours. We have figured you will have the beer anyway. It’s cheaper than tap water in many restaurants here, and it’s so ubiquitous we would not believe you if you said you did not have one in Prague. But wines? No. Czech wine production is tiny and exports are rare, so most foreign visitors do not associate Prague with wine.

Well, we think that’s a mistake and that’s why we are trying hard to change that perception. Luckily, we are not alone. Far from it. There are other people in Prague working hard on the same thing. Take the good people of Veltlin, the wonderful local wine bar in the heart of the Karlin district. Mr Bogdan Trojak and his colleagues have long focused on the “natural” wines of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. (You can see the Empire painted on the wall that dominates the bar.) 

The very same people have decided this year to organize the second installment of Prague Drinks Wine, a festival of natural wines from the former empire in Prague, to be held on 6 and 7 June. The festival tries to follow on the long-forgotten tradition of meetings of Empire winemakers held before WWI. The festival will host about 50 Central European winemakers offering about 400 samples of wine. 


Czech wines in Prague: the bottles you must try

Czech wines in Prague: the bottles you must try

Yes, sure. Prague equals beer. Of course. We get that a lot. But the fact that the Czechs have the biggest consumption of beer per capita in the world… by a wide margin, does not mean that you have to neglect that wine addiction you have worked so hard to build when you visit Prague. The Czech Republic actually produces some very nice and interesting wines, too. Heck, we even run our Moravian wine tours to promote that fact! The truth is you may not have heard about them: with about 18,000 hectares and a production that does not satisfy even one half of the Czech consumption of wines, it is hard to get your hands on a Czech bottle outside of the country.

But which wines should you drink in Prague? It is sometimes hard to pick that special bottle when you travel and you are not familiar with the territory, the tradition and the climate. Mind you, the sommeliers in the wine bars we like to visit in Prague are very knowledgeable and speak great English. Still, we wanted to know what some of the leading personalities on the Prague wine scene would recommend that you order in Prague. Here’s what they had to say.


Prague off the beaten path: Letna and Holesovice Districts

Prague off the beaten path: Letna and Holesovice Districts

OK, the winter may not be the best time of the year for a long walk, but honestly, the temperatures are not at all bad and if you wear an extra layer, you can see a part of the town that is not on the radar for most foreign visitors. If you've done all the major sights (and we're guessing you have) and wish to see something less crowded, one of the options is our home district, Prague 7. It isn't far and we think it offers a great variety of things to see and do. (And eat, too, don't worry - we know how hungry you can get after a walk, ok?)


Prague off the beaten path: Vrsovice district

Prague is so much more than just the Charles Bridge, the Prague Castle and the Old Town. We want you to see more of Prague so that you can bring home a much truer image of what Prague is and how people live here. Today’s Prague escape will take us to the Vrsovice district. Vrsovice always played second fiddle to the upscale Vinohrady district. But with the reputation of the Krymska street and the surrounding areas rising, it has recently become a hip place to be, boasting a communal spirit, restaurant days and many street events. And for a few hours’ trip outside of the tourist centre, Vrsovice with its parks and views is hard to beat. Here’s our Vrsovice itinerary: 


Meet a local: Bogdan Trojak of Veltlin Wine Bar

When we first scouted locations for our Moravian wine tours and talked to smaller winemakers who made natural wines and who had a great reputation here in Prague, one name in particular kept coming up: Bogdan Trojak. His recently established group of winemakers who made natural wines without any additives, “Autentiste”, started to make waves as something new and exciting both here in Prague and clearly in the Moravian wine country, as well. All of the winemakers we met talked about him and his efforts with the highest respect.


Prague restaurants preview: Grand Cru

We have been aware of the Grand Cru wine bar at Petrske namesti for a long time but never really visited the place. Recently, the wine bar opened a restaurant. We have heard good comments on the food and mixed comments on the service from our friends so we though we needed to check the place out, too. And, of course, whenever something new opens up, we can’t really miss it. 


Czech wines you should explore in Prague

When we were scouting the locations for our new route (coming soon), we spoke to the manager of one of the best Czech restaurants in town and in the course of our nice little talk, he complained that sometimes their customers would opt for foreign wines over the Czech ones because they did not understand them. Their sommelier and the entire staff were quite saddened by that fact - they thought that Czech wines deserved the attention.

That discussion gave us the idea for this post. In an effort to get more visitors to Prague go out of their comfort zone and try some typically Czech wines, we have approached Zuzka Vesela, the manager of the “big” Vinograf wine bar at Senovazne namesti, one of our most favorite bars in the city, and asked her if she could describe some of the local wines that can be tasted in the Czech Republic and nowhere else. She was happy to help and here are some of her comments. We discussed seven grapes in total: five of them are white and two reds; five of them are purely Czech, while two come from Germany. 

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Let's start with the whites:

“Mopr” (also known as "Muškát moravský” - or “Moravian Muscat”)
Crossed from Muscat Ottonel and Prachttraube (which comes from Germany), this white grape boasts nice aroma that is not as powerful as that of a Muscato. It is often dry and aromatic and has low acidity; therefore, it is a “pleasant” wine that tends to be mineral in Bohemia due to the stony soil. It is a grape that will make mostly novices happy, but more demanding drinkers may like it, too.

Pálava
A white grape crossed from two aromatic grapes: Müller Thurgau and Gewürtztraminer. As such, it has been adapted to the Moravian soil and is rarely grown in the northern, Bohemian wine region. Heck, even the name is inspired by the Palava region in the south of Moravia. The resulting wine can be anywhere on the dry-to-sweet scale, but sweeter wines are more common, and even the drier wines tend to feel sweeter than they really are. The acidity and fruitiness are low, replaced by notes of traditional Christmas spices and rose tones. The Palava is very popular and some bottles are very good. The wine can appeal to a wide range of consumers from social drinkers to experts.

Kerner
A crossing of Riesling and Trollinger, the motivation of this crossing was resistance, better sugars and taste. This is for those who love sweeter, uncomplicated wines: Kerner wines offer a nice floral aromas and fruitiness, almost like hard candy in a bottle. The wines are also juicy and sweet. This is a simpler grape that tends to get a simpler treatment but has been loved by some of our guests who are new to wines.

Hibernal

Hibernal is an originally German crossing of Seibel and Riesling that produces full-bodied white grapes with nice acidity and higher alcohol content. The flavors are dominated by black currant notes and fruitiness. Just like rieslings, it often produces semi-dry wines.

Solaris

The very recent result of crossing the Merzling grape and Gm 6493 (crossed by Mr Kraus in Melnik), Solaris is grown mostly in the Bohemian wine region, especially at Kutna Hora. Known for its tropical and citrus notes and good acidity. It is fairly full-bodied, tends to be drier and more fruity than a Hibernal.  

And now for the two reds:

Neronet
This grape, crossed by Mr Kraus, a giant of Czech enology and the founder of the eponymous winery seated in Melnik, some 20 miles north of Prague, is a crossing of St Laurent, Blauer Portugieser and Alibernet (which itself is a crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and Alicante Henri Bouschet). It combines the characteristics of these wines: the tannins and the edginess of a Cab Sauv, and the fruitiness and juiciness of a St Laurent (which is a Pinot grape). It has nice acidity and is fruity, but is a medium-bodied grape. It is successfully grown in Prague, too (by the Salabka winery).

Cabernet Moravia
Again a typically Moravian red crossing that combines the characteristics of Cabernet Franc (spicy, heavier paprika tones) and Zweigeltrebe (fruitiness and an easy-drinking character). It produces medium-bodied wines that are known for a nice blend of spicy and fruity notes. Look for bottles from the Slovacko region (Benes or Glos wineries in particular).  

Where to have them?

That's easy. The biggest selection can be probably had at the Vinograf wine bars (they have two branches - a small, intimate one near the Charles Bridge, and a bigger one in the New Town area). If you wish to taste strictly organic wines (called "bio-dynamic" here) from the Czech Republic, definitely visit Veltlin, a fantastic and popular wine bar in the Karlin district. Finally, some fine dining restaurants in Prague may have a great selection. We know that the good people at La Degustation really take great pride in serving Czech wines, for instance.