The 13th edition of this unique international competition of blends and branded wines was held on the 13th and 23rd April by the Club of Ostrava’s Amateur Wine Evaluators, K.A.H.A.N, in conjunction with the Zámek Zábřeh Hotel in Ostrava and the National Wine Centre which has its headquarters in Valtice. The event took place with the support of the Wine Fund of the Czech Republic. The initiator and spiritual father of the only wine contest taking place in the Moravian-Silesian district was the guru of Czech and Moravian vini-viticulture, the late Professor Vilém Kraus, who passed away in June two years ago.
Czech and Moravian wine producers and foreign-wine importers entered into this year’s edition a total of 123 wines in six competition categories: 27 dry white wines (category A1), 27 semi-dry and semi-sweet white wines (A2), 34 red wines (B), 10 rosé wines (C), 8 sparkling wines (D) and 17 sweet and liqueur wines (E). A total of 10 countries sent their samples to this competition: Czech Republic (65 wines), Slovakia (20), Poland (16), Portugal (8), Spain (5), Italy (4), Denmark (2), France (1), Chile (1) and New Zealand (1). Wines which fulfilled the conditions of the competition statutes were assessed in the tasting room of National Wine Centre in Château Valtice on 13th April using the 100-point system under the partonage of the National Wine Centre. A hundred-point system was used in accordance with the criteria as defined by the National Standards for Certifying wine competitions of the Czech Republic. Wines receiving 90 points or over were in receipt of a great gold medal, wines achieving between 86 and 89.99 points were awarded a gold medal, wines achieving between 83 and 85.99 points were awarded a slver medal. It was decided by the organisers not to award any bronze medals. The defining limit for gold and silver medals were tightened in comparison with last year. An integral element of the complex assessment process (an average of 6 minutes per each sample of wine) was the evaluation of the intensity and aromatic profiles of each wine being judged, details of which serve better to provide feedback for the producers than simply offering them the number of points awarded.
A quartet of specialised committees under the direction of Professor Fedor Malík, Josef Balík, Bronislav Pavelka and Josef Valihrach awarded one great gold medal, 19 gold and 47 silver medals. Local Moravian wines were honoured with 6 gold and 28 silver medals. Most successful among the foreign participants were wines emanating from Slovakia (7 gold, 8 silver) followed by Portugal (2 gold, 2 silver), Spain (2 gold, 1 silver) and Italy (1 gold, 2 silver). The first great gold medal in the history of Cuvée Ostrava was awarded to a wine from Chile. sensational were the 1 gold and 4 silver medals given to the vinously exotic nation of Poland as well as the 2 silver medals to sparkling wines coming from Denmark.
The title of Champion among the dry-white wines was won by Slovakia for a blend of Pinot Blanc / Pinot Noir / Chardonnay 2014 late harvest (Karpatská Perla s.r.o., Šenkvice) from the Lesser Carpathian wine region. The highest marked local wine was from the Mikulov region Cuvée Klárka 2010 late harvest (Jaroslav Drmola, Bavory), a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Champion in the red-wine category and holder of the historical first ever great gold medal at Cuvée Ostrava was the Chilean Santa Alicia Millantu 2010 (Viña Santa Alicia S.A. / importer Víno Hruška s.r.o.), produced from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Carménère grape varieties which had ripened in Maipo Valley. The prize for the highest rated red wine of local provenance went to the cuvée Neronet / Blauburger 2013 (Ampelos – ŠSV Znojmo a.s., Vrbovec).
The victor in the category of semi-dry and semi-sweet white wines was the blend of Kerner and Riesling Kerka 2013 late harvest (Vinice – Hnánice s.r.o.) hailing from the Znojmo wine sub-region. Winner on the rosé wine category was Frankovka / Zweigeltrebe 2014 Moravian land wine (Střední odborná škola vinařská a Střední odborné učiliště zahradnické, Valtice). The winner in the sparkling-wine category was Stephanus Riesling Sekt (Proqin s.r.o., Velké Němčice), an assemblage of Welschriesling and Riesling. The winner in the category for sweet and liqueur wines was the Tokaj selection 6-puttonyos 2006 (Tokaj & Co, s.r.o, Malá Tŕňa), produced from the dried berries of Furmint, Hárslevelü and Yellow Muscadelle, which at the same time became the winner of the award for the best overall collection of wines.
Concurrently with this contest was, for the eighth time, the PRIX FIJEV CZ (Special Prize of the International Federation of Journalists and Writers on Wine and Spirits). Jurors who are also FIJEV members nominate for this award those wines that have drew their attention for their exceptional qualities and attractive pricing, wine-making performances, in other words, wines that show the road winemaking should be taking. The laurels for the 2015 edition were shared by the Andalucian Botani 2014 (José Ordoñez & Co., Veléz Málaga), a dry brand wine made from Moscatel de Málaga together with the blend of the world-renowned variety Pinot Blanc and Ranuše muškátová created by Professor Vilém Kraus, 2012 Moravian land wine (Roman Filípek, Kyjov).
Notional medals and Champion titles were also handed out at Zámek Zábřeh Hotel on 23rd April 2015 by the Committee of the Lay Public. These results permit wine producers and importers to compare the opinions of the specialists with those of wine aficionados. The lay public’s Champion, as well as of the specialised committee, was the Slovak cuvée of Pinot Blanc / Pinot Noir / Chardonnay 2014 late harvest (Karpatská Perla s.r.o., Šenkvice), in tandem with another Slovak assemblage, on this occasion Cabernet Sauvignon and Alibernet, Clef de Sol 2011 (Roman Janoušek, Pezinok). The highest rated white wine of local provenance was the cuvée of Chardonnay, Pinots Gris and Blanc Pinot 333 Exclusive 2013 late harvest (Rajhradské klášterní s.r.o., Rajhrad) and the highest rated local red wine was the coupage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Frankovka Maharal 2009 pozdní sběr (Tanzberg Mikulov, a.s.). Víctors in ther individual categories were once again in agreement with those of the specialised committees Stephanus Riesling Sekt (Proqin s.r.o., Velké Němčice) and Tokajský výber 6-putňový 2006 (Tokaj & Co., s.r.o., Malá Tŕňa), followed by the blend of Saint Laurent with Merlot Rosé Kozí horky 2014 kabinetní (Vinařství Vajbar Bronislav, Rakvice) and the semi-dry cuvée of Hibernal and Pinot Gris Grand Chateau Hibruš 2013 Moravian land wine (Vinařství Chateau Lednice a.s.). The best overall collection of wines was also in agreement with the specialists’ choice – the firm Tokaj & Co.
The results from this – the one and only international wine competion taking place in Northern Moravia were made public on 23rd April 2015 at the Cuvée Ostrava Wine Exhibition in Zábřeh Castle. Professor Fedor Malík inaugurated the accompanying programme with his traditional tutored tasting of “Slovak wines at 5 o‘clock“. Thereafter the wine exhibition was made freely accessible to the general public to the sounds of Moravian dulcimer music, while visitors could sample not only the wines from the competition, but also varietal wines from those Moravian winemakers and importers of foreign wines who were present. The accompanying programme culminated with a presentation by Cantina Madrevite on the theme “Umbria – Unknown Wines from the Papal Lands“.
The presumptuous aim of the organisers of Cuvée Ostrava competition is to witness a renaissance of the good name of blends or brands and their return to the forefront of the products on offer from Czech and Moravian winemakers, as is customary in other major wine-producing countries. In the words of the spiritual father of the competition Professor Vilém Kraus: “There’s no Cuvée like a Cuvée” meaning that each and every blend is different.