Written by Frank Watanabe
for Bridge Magazine
Prague is a great place to live. Just look at all of the semi-permanent expats around town who have been living here for 13 years or more. What´s not to like about it? There´s the beautiful scenery, the great beer, the inexpensive restaurants, the good wine well, okay, so the wine is not that great. In all fairness, the whites are not that bad, especially some of the regional grapes (for example, Veltlínské zelené), and there are a few drinkable reds, but, in this reviewer´s opinion, there really are no world-class wines yet produced in the Czech Republic.
So what is a thirsty oenophile to do? Not to worry. Fortunately, there are a growing number of wine importers offering very high quality wines imported from the great wine growing regions of the world. While we were living in Prague, we became reliant on three main sources to replenish our constantly diminishing cellar (actually a cabinet in the kitchen).
Vino di Vino – This recently opened wine bar and shop in Josefov is actually the first retail outlet of the long-standing Italian wine importer La Fattoria, which supplies many of the city´s best restaurants and hotels. Vino di Vino offers an extensive range of wines from all regions of Italy, along with a selection of Italian fine foods (pastas, sauces, oil, cheese, etc.). You can buy bottles to take home, or they have an extensive selection of wines by the glass, and they offer several wonderful tasting selections featuring 4, 5 or 6 different wines to taste. But the best-kept secret about Vino di Vino is the weekly offering of wine tastings and dinners hosted in their vaulted cellar. At both events, the owner, Giancarlo Bertacchini, and his sommelier, Jiři Matkuzzi, lead guests through a tasting of several wines from a particular region of Italy. At the tastings, you will also be served selected antipasti and a small main course. For the wine dinners, guest chefs prepare extensive four or five course meals from the featured region – you won´t leave hungry! These are not to be missed, but book early, as they do fill up.
Vino di Vino
Vezenska 3, Josefov
Sante – Many of us also know George and Beata Csaszar (and of course Beata is a longtime IWAP member), the proprietors of Sante Holding. Sante specializes in value wines from Bulgaria and the Czech Republic, along with the world-famous Tokai from Hungary. They supply several hotels and grocery stores in the country with house labels, but they also offer some higher quality, (slightly) more expensive wines as well. While they may not compare to the best Spanish or Italian wines, Sante´s wines (especially the Bulgarian ones) are very drinkable, much less expensive than comparable Spanish or Italian wines, and much better than comparably priced Czech alternatives. Honestly, their wines were our staple everyday wines. And of course, the Tokais are absolutely incomparable for those who appreciate fine dessert wines.
Michalska 12, Stare Mesto
See also: Expats.cz Business directory for wine related listings: https://www.expats.cz/prague/directory/vino/0/
Salud, salute, and na zdravi!