The 18th edition of this unique international competition of blends and branded wines was held on the 11th May and 17th September by the Club of Ostrava’s Amateur Wine Evaluators, K.A.H.A.N, in conjunction with the Castle Zábřeh Hotel in Ostrava and the National Wine Centre. The event took place with the support of the Wine Fund of the Czech Republic. The initiator and spiritual father of this – 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.
Czech and Moravian wine producers and foreign-wine importers entered into this year’s edition a total of 120 wines in six competition categories: 25 dry white wines (category A1), 31 semi-dry and semi-sweet white wines (A2), 39 red wines (B), 11 rosé wines (C), 12 sparkling wines (D) and 2 sweet and liqueur wines (E). A total of 6 countries sent their samples to this competition: Czech Republic (101 wines), Slovakia (8), Poland (4), Denmark (4), Spain (2) and Bulgaria (1). Wines which fulfilled the conditions of the competition statutes were assessed in the tasting room of National Wine Centre in Valtice on 11th May using the 100-point evaluation system under the patronage 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 double 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 silver medal. It was decided by the organisers not to award any bronze medals. Due to the epidemiological situation (COVID-19) it was necessary e.g. to reduce the number of jurors or to abandon the traditional evaluation at “round” tables.
A trio of specialised committees under the direction of Libor Nazarčuk, Vladimíra Mrázová and Radomil Baloun awarded 6 double gold medals, 32 gold and 38 silver medals. Local Czech and Moravian wines were honoured with 5 double gold, 25 gold and 29 silver medals. Most successful among the foreign participants were wines emanating from Slovakia (5 gold, 3 silver), followed by the vinously exotic nation of Denmark (1 double gold, 1 gold, 2 silver), Spain (1 gold, 1 silver), Poland (2 silver) and Bulgaria (1 silver).
The title of Champion in the category of dry white wines was awarded to cuvée of Pinot Gris, Sauvignon and Chardonnay Element Terra 2018 (Vinař Jiří Uherek, Czech Republic) from the wine region of Moravia. The red-wine champion was also the Moravian Cuvée 2015 (Vinařství Glosovi, Czech Republic) made from the Cabernet Moravia, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The winner in the merged category of semi-dry and semi-sweet white wines and the sweet and liqueur wines was Family Collection Cuvée Nikol 2018 (Víno Hruška, Czech Republic) produced from the new Slovakian crossing Děvín and Riesling. The victor in the Rosé and/or Blanc de Noirs category was coupage of Cabernet Moravia, Zweigelt and Lemberger Rosé Cuvée 2019 (Vinařství Doležal, Czech Republic). The winner in the sparkling-wine category was Matthias Brut Sekt 2016 (Proqin, Czech Republic), an assemblage of Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay. The domestic producer Jiří Uherek has received an award for the Best Overall Collection of Wines.
Concurrently with this contest was, for the fourteenth 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 drew attention as much through their exceptional vinous qualities as by their showing the true path winemaking should be taking. Laureate for the year 2020 was the liqueur wine Hedvin 2014 (Skaersogaard, Denmark) made from Rondo, Cabernet Cortis, Regent and Pinot Noir Précoce.
Champion titles were also handed out in the frame of Cuvée Ostrava Wine Exhibition at Castle Zábřeh Hotel on 17th September 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 Champions as chosen by the lay public were the Slovaks cuvée Pinot blanc / Chardonnay / Pinot gris 2017 (Repa-Bakiča, Slovakia) and the Andalusian coupage of Tempranillo, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon Finca Sanguijuela Reserva 2012 (Bodega F. Schatz, Spain). National winners were blend of Neuburger, Rinot and Scheurebe the Cuvée Waldberg 2017 (Vinařství Waldberg, Czech Republic) and the Traditional Line Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot 2017 (Vinařství Mikrosvín Mikulov, Czech Republic). The winners in the individual categories were Cuvée Blanc 2019 (ZD Němčičky, Czech Republic), Rosé Šimberky 2018 (Jaromír Kokrhel, Czech Republic) and DONS Cuvée Brut 2018 (Skaersogaard, Denmark). Thereafter the wine exhibition was made freely accessible to the general public to the plangent 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, which had to be adjusted due to epidemiological situation (COVID-19), culminated with a presentation by David Mádr titled “Wines of the Antipodes.”
The presumptuous aim of the organisers of the 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.