Written by: Libor Ševčík
Fortunately, the desire to always discover something new is a part of human nature. And among vintners there are people who try to help nature out by creating new grape varietals.
Creating a new grape varietal takes lots of trial and error over years or even decades. The approval proceedings alone for a new varietal to be entered into the State Varietal Book take three years, as grape vines take until the third year after planting to yield a proper crop. A new varietal can be planted in vineyards and its wine can be presented on the market only after its entry and official recognition.
Of course grapes are cultivated all around the world. Müller Thurgau, a well-known varietal in this country, was created in cooperation with a Swiss professor named Müller. The most widespread blue varietal in Austria, Zweigeltrebe, which is also grown here, was cultivated by Professor Zweigelt before WWII. The Czech Republic has been a world leader in creating new varietals, with tangible results over a century of cultivation experience (the first cultivation in this country began in 1895 at the Wine Cultivation Station in Znojmo). Today the list of recognized varietals in this country is extensive, including Pálava, André, Aurelius, Muškát Moravský, Olšava, Neronet, Vitra Cabernet Moravia, Pola, and Veritas, and other varietals are awaiting entry into the State Varietal Book.
Docent Miloš Michlovský (50) of Rakvice, Moravia, is one of the most successful new-age cultivators. Along with Professor Vilém Kraus, he is today the leading personality in viticulture and viniculture in the Czech Republic. “The production of wine brings me joy from work that’s a specific type of art,” Michlovský says. “And when we manage to create a new varietal it also brings pleasure to those who drink the wine. This work is also a source of justified pride and glory.” Thanks to their activities, both of these gentlemen also have strong international reputations. Michlovský has countless gold medals from various international and national wine exhibitions and festivals, and travels abroad to share his vast experience.
A part of his firm, Vinselekt, is a Wine Cultivation Station in Perná, which for over 50 years has been focusing on creating the most suitable new varietals for the Moravian region. This is home to the aforementioned and currently very popular, finely aromatic varietals Pálava and Aurelius. In 2001 Michlovský’s “babies”, Agni, Ariana, Lena, and Malverina, the first resistant varietal in this country, were entered into the State Varietal Book. “Today we focus cultivation mainly on the selection of biologically valuable propagation material and varietals with heightened resistance to fungal diseases, pests, frost, and drought,” says Michlovský. Since 1997 the station has had an internationally recognized BIO-Product certificate of ecological agriculture for the Malverina and Laurot wines.
The author is the deputy editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine.
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Pálava 2001, Select grapes, Mikulov wine region, wine community of Perná, Přední Purmice vineyard
||Alibernet 2003, Late harvest, Velké Pavlovice wine subregion, wine community of Velké Bílovice, Přední hora vineyard
Characteristics: So far a very narrowly spread, newly cultivated blue varietal that produces outstanding wines that are comparable to foreign Cabernet Sauvignons. This sample was aged for one year in oak kegs; the wine has a sparkling red color and an aroma predominated by wild fruits. It has a full flavor with a marked persistence. Alibernet is a cross between Alicante Bouchet and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes have excellent color, so the wine made from them is sometimes used to color red wines. It was entered into the State Varietal Book in 1975.
Producer: Malý vinař František a Hana Mádlovi, Na Aleji 148, 691 02 Velké Bílovice, firstname.lastname@example.org
Price: 300 Kč