My pilgrimage to Czech wine country nearly made us late for our set. The tour manager in me was panicked when we were set back even further after being pulled over by the police on our way into the college town of Olomouc. Luckily, Carlos had learned enough Czech to say that we didn’t speak Czech and had all of the official papers (rental car, international driving permit, passports). We still have no idea what was going on, but they were staked out on the road leading into town. They were polite and let us go after viewing all of our documents. We made it in time to set up at a rapid pace, sell a few copies of our LP, and perform our set, which included a ghost sighting.
But let’s get back to the wine!
We began our Czech wine tasting in Prague at a wine bar called Vinograf, where Jan Culík schooled us on Czech wines. I am a (very particular) red wine drinker and was able to learn about a grape I’d never heard of, Frankovka. Frankovka satisfied my taste for a dry red, where I can almost taste the terroir. I really loved the vibe at Vinograf. It was intimate and warm, not touristy at all, and felt like a local secret. Carlos had stumbled upon it earlier in the day while looking for a market. He brought back two bottles of wine and said if we had time we should stop in for a drink later. I’m glad we did because it kicked off our desire to make a stop in the heart of wine country. While at Vinograf we also enjoyed a local cheese plate and an authentic bramboráky (savory potato pancake).
The other establishment that lit our wine country fire was CODA restaurant in Prague. The sommelier at CODA was kind enough to give us the name of a winemaker in the village of Mikulov. Unfortunately, by the time we made it to the village the sun was beginning its slow decent for the day and we had just enough time to find a place to eat as I photographed the gorgeous buildings.
So, we made it to our destination, but didn’t have enough time to partake in the ritual of wine tasting at a proper Czech winery. I think this sort of pilgrimage tends to need a different pace than touring as a musician allows. Next time!
We settled in on our night off with a bottle of Czech Cabernet Sauvignon. We got this one at a gas station and it was good! I would never purchase wine at a gas station in the states, unless it was next to a good winery and it was carrying that wine. We were shocked by the quality of red Czech wine and its avilability. Of course I haven’t been able to find anyone who imports it into the states. If you do, please let me know! Cheers!
May your journey be your muse,