Once part of Czekoslavakia, this small central European country lies east of Austria, the Czech Republic, north of Hungary and west of Ukraine.
Bratislava, the capital, is a short drive from Vienna; in fact there exists a direct bus connection from the airport to the city centre of Bratislava.
Slovakia is a cool-climate wine growing country located on latitude north of 48 – 49.
There are five regions, each of which is divided into several sub-regions.
Small Carpath, just east of Bratislava, is the largest with close to 5400 hectares of vineyards planted to riesling, traminer, cabernet sauvignon, St. Laurent, and blaufrankisch.
Nitra (3900 hectares), east of Small Carpath, was the first region chosen by Benedicitne monks in the ninth century to plant vineyards.
South Slovakia (5350 hectares) is one of the largest along with Small Carpath region and produces both red and white wines.
King Bela in 1135 donated land to Benedictine monks in Middle Slovakia and good monks started growing grapes to make wine for their own consumption and to sell.
The soils are volcanic and yield good quality red and white grapes.
East Slovakia – is the latest region planted first after World War II and the second smallest of all regions.
Tokay is a world famous wine region with 5000 hectares of vineyards in Hungary but approximately 1000 hectares are located in Slovakia which produces similar wines using the same grape varieties as its more famous counterpart south.
Furmint, lipovina, zeta and yellow muscat (aka muscat de Lunel) are the principal grape varieties employed. Slovakian Tokay wines may be dry or sweet 2,3,4,5, and 6 puttonyos quality much like in Hungary.
Fo white wines, growers prefer aurelius, devin, feteasca regala, chardonnay, Irsai-Oliver, milia, muscat-ottonel, muscat merovsky, Muller-Thurgau, neuburger, noria plava, pinot blanc, gruner veltliner, silvaner, gewurztraminer, roter veltliner, traminer, and rkatsiteli.
The popular red grapes are – aliberneta nadro, frankovka modra, blauer portugieser, pinot noir, zweigelt, and dunaj.
Many of the grape varieties mentioned above are hybrids that were developed recently. Most of those ripen early and yield above normal, i.e more than 10 tones per hectare.
Slovakia developed a quality rating system copied from Germany.
Table wine (must be produced from grapes grown in Slovakia and contain a minimum of 13 fructose)
Quality wine (must be grown in Slovakia using approved grape varieties and contain a minimum of 16 per cent fructose
Quality varietal-labels (wines must contain a minimum of 85 per cent the variety printed on the label
Quality wine with attributes (must originate in regions mentioned above and are subject to organoleptic and laboratory tests)
This category is further sub-divided in to
Kabinett minimum 19 per cent fructose
Late harvest 21 per cent fructose
Cluster select 23 per cent fructose
Individual berry select 26 per cent fructose
Cibebe selection bortrytis affected 28 per cent fructose
Raisin select 28 per cent fructose
Ice wine 28 per cent fructose and must be harvested at – 7 C
Straw wine must be dried on straw mats for a minimum of three months and contain 27 per cent fructose.
There are several large and small wineries of which the following are known for their quality and consistency.
Velyk Krtis Ltd.,