Tuesday, 17 February 2015
Many of the vineyards in Moravia are small family affairs, the vineyards small, the wine-making a part-time activity at best. Alongside roads and up lanes you will come across small cellars built into the hillside; they resemble nothing so much as hobbit holes. In season you may find them open and someone sitting outside ready to sell you a bottle or three.
There are of course major wine-producers in the region and they offer tours and wine-tastings, but I prefer the small family version. In Znojmo a group of Australian artists and I were given a personal guided tour of one such family cellar. The walls were covered with a blue mould, which gave the cellars in the area their name, Modré sklepy (the Blue Cellars). The jovial lady, whose family had been making wine there for generations, handed around glasses for us to try. And I was confident that the wine was lovely even before ten wine varieties we savoured started to have an effect.
We voted for our favourite red and white wines and sat down at a long table in the front area of the cellar. Copious plates of open sandwiches and other Czech finger foods arrived along with jugs of wine. Both the plates and the jugs kept being refilled and we got merrier and merrier. The owner and her daughter joined us at the table and the evening passed most agreeably.