My friend Elizabeth in Rome wrote to me, “You’re looking for cool things in Prague? But Prague is so uncool!”
Well, it is eccentric and that’s cool to me.
Where else can I find a town, which consumes more beer than any other country in Europe yet is having a stunning love affair with their own (not that great) wine. Or, what other urban area has a shop in the middle of a city devoted to the necesseray items for bee keeping?
Avoid anything that says National in it. Case in point: The National Bank of Wines, a touted wine store in the Old Town which as far as I can tell is owned by the Monarch winery. Ignorant service. No selection.
Do go to Celerius in the Lucerna passage (the deco shopping passage built by Vaclav Havel’s father).
However, the wine.
If you go the wines to expect are made from Müller-Thurgau, Veltnsk zelen (gruner veltliner) Rulandsk bl (pinot blanc) riesling, Rulandsk modr(pinot noir), Frankovka (lemberger).
I had quite a few with gelatinous texture in a pre-pudding stage, like Ko-Gel (otherwise known as jell-o) in the first twenty minutes of its gelifaction. The mouth feel, as you can imagine, was icky.
The reason? Do they undercrop, add sugar and gelatin? It’s not illegal but it was blatant. Some of the prime suspect producers were VinStar, Venus, Jurasalv Salajka.
Others I had were delightful but none exciting--that might come, however. Of the better wines were Vin Select, Biza, Reiinsten, Madl. Springer and Tanzer. I was hoping for some great minerality, like why should the wines--produced so close to Vienna--not be good? The terroir is the same. The climate is suitable? Perhaps in time--or if I can score a gig to go into deep Moravia, I bet I can unearth some prickly good wines to get humped up about.