Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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A relatively vibrant wine scene was one casualty when this eastern part of what was Czechoslovakia voted to split from the czech republic in 1992, becoming officially independent in 1993. Total vineyard area fell from around 25,000 ha/62,000 acres to just 15,000 ha and yields are apparently extremely low. This shortfall may be explained by frost, poor viticulture, and small-scale, undeclared private production for barter or home consumption. Vineyards are much scattered but the most important wine-growing areas are the Malé Karpaty Hills (Small Carpathians) on the Czech border, where predominantly white wine is made from such grapes as Silvaner, Veltliner, Welschriesling, Riesling, Chardonnay, and various Muscats, and along the Hungarian border in the south where red wine production from the likes of Cabernet Sauvignon and Frankovka (Blaufränkisch) is more common. In the far east is what is effectively an extension of the Hungarian tokaj region. vine breeders have produced a host of new Slovak crosses such as Devín, Hetera, Hron, and Nitranka designed to reach high sugar levels rapidly in this decidedly continental climate. New wine laws combining the principles of both France and Germany came into force in 2009, and in the second decade of this century some interesting wine was beginning to emerge. But with notable exceptions such as the fine Rieslings of Kastiel Béla, a joint venture involving renowned Mosel grower Egon Müller, Slovakia consumes virtually all the wine it produces except for that exported to the Czech Republic and some local Polish towns.