Monday, August 30, 2010

Bratislava's vast wine history

The capital of the Slovak Republic, Bratislava, is located amidst the Small Carpathian Wine Region, one of the six registered wine areas in the Slovak territory. The Small Carpathian Wine Region is the oldest wine-producing region in the nation.
The first references to wine production in Bratislava dates back 2,600 years, prior to the arrival of the Celts to the land. Later, the Celts and then especially the Romans diligently pursued the tradition of viticulture, when the legionnaires, in times of peace, planted and cultivated vineyards under the orders of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus. The viticulture survived and developed even after the fall of the Roman Empire, especially during the period of Great Moravia.
The growth and development of Bratislava’s viticulture has perpetually flourished since the 13th century when commercialized distribution of wine took hold to satisfy the demands of the locals. Second only to the castle region, Bratislava townspeople are among the largest population of vineyard owners in the Small Carpathians. The high quality of the wine has secured a permanent market throughout the centuries. Through both local and foreign trade, the town has continued to thrive. Throughout history, regular buyers of Bratislavan wines have included such great rulers as Louis I the Great, Sigmund, and Ladislav V. Queen Maria Theresa loved the local wines, her favorite being the Fränkisch from Rača.
The most widespread grape varieties in the past were Veltlínske zelené (Green Veltliner), Silvánske zelené (Green Silvaner and Red Silvaner), Fränkisch and Portugal for the red varieties.
As early as the 13th century, some Bratislava wine growers had the right to serve wine freely on tab in inns. Tradesmen, tapsters, and publicans also professionally served wine house-to-house, from their own homes, and public wine inns. Drunkenness at these public inns rarely resulted in the loss of face and good reputation, as the main reason for drinking was to relieve oneself of “devouring” worries.
Presently, Bratislava and its surrounding communities are part of the most important Slovak wine producers and represent the highest quality local wine production. Today the whole region actively “lives” with wine. Each year, the Small Carpathian Wine Region attracts a vast international crowd by hosting grape-picking festivities, open cellar days, the blessing of young wine, celebrations for Saint Urban—the patron saint of wine growers and producers, wine tastings, and a wine trail, in addition to a plentiful variety of wine bars, cellars, and shops.
Along with their top quality wines, the Slavs also flaunt their good hosting skills with their traditional cuisine. Local wine bars and restaurants also serve such regional specialties as knofle (dumplings), osuchy (dry-baked dough), dolky (baked pancakes), sciskance (potato pancakes), sulance (gnocchi), and a variety of hearty soups. Dessert consists of decadent pastries, doughnuts, cookies, and scones. The region’s most famous dish, however, remains traditional goose or duck served with potato pancakes. Regardless of one’s desired meal, Bratislava wine restaurants will always offer a perfectly paired glass of high quality wine to compliment the dish.

No comments:

Post a Comment