I’m planning to include a chapter about Slovak wines in the next cookbook – a daunting task for someone as inexperienced in the field as I am. All I knew about wine until recently was that it came in two colours – red and white. After last weekend’s wine tasting event at Červený Kameň Castle (Red Stone Castle) I feel a little more knowledgeable.
Yet the wine alone wouldn’t have exerted such a pull on me. There would have to be more on the list if I was to take a combined train-bus ride there and back again within one day. The public invitation on Malokarpatská vínna cesta (Malokarpatska wine route) website which, unfortunately, doesn’t have an English version, promised local homemade specialities and traditional crafts markets in the castle courtyard.I went down to the castle cellars straightaway in the hope of doing some decent photography before the crowds arrived. I knew it would be a challenge. I have a good camera, but no special lighting equipment, so shooting in dark places is a nightmare. I took dozens of pictures trying to figure out what would work best until I finally settled with the camera’s two built-in programmes.
The famed castle cellars were subtly illuminated in some corners, but that was barely enough for good photography. I discarded half of the pictures on the site, and half of the rest back at home.More than an hour into my troubled shooting experience, and I felt drained. When I let myself taste what I had paid for at last, my spirits were immediately lifted. Not that wine is my wish drink, mind you. I hardly ever drink booze, but if I have to choose, I always go for red wine. After a few glasses from different varieties I began to feel quite merry.Fortunately, there was some excellent food being served with the wines, and I did help myself to quite a few bits which, together with cold fresh water, took the edge off the booze.
Wine sampling in Slovakia will never be complete without wholesome food, and the same goes for music, singing and dancing. After all, it’s another joyful way to effectively blunt the intoxication. Supposing you manage to make it to the dancing floor.Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay to document the final stages of wine tasting at Červený Kameň Castle. I had to set on a walk to catch a bus connecting to my train.
The weather followed the plan and happily kept to the forecast. Before I left the castle cellars, I stopped to buy a bottle of red wine at one of the stalls. The young couple wouldn’t let me have it without sampling. While I was at it, they explained the vintage’s special features, which I quite understood then and there, but couldn’t remember when I was back home.Their Alibernet is now sitting in our family bar waiting for the right occasion.