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.
2 thoughts on “Wine tasting at Červený Kameň Castle”
Oh my God, I miss opportunities like that. Some years ago I organized wine tasting parties and it was a bliss; I had to cut on drinking unfortunately when I started a diet to loose a bit of weight and I lost touch with that world; I loved the craft of making good matches beetween food and wine.
Bouncing back on your next book issue, a cooking book with wine advice is definitely an excellent direction. Philippe Bourguignon’s Accords mets et Vins used to be my bible. He shares his experiences on gourmets meals with the best wines. The book is very simple since it relates to everyday French cooking. It taught me not to discriminate on red or white wine, but more on great or bad combinations. Advice work just as much if you are on a budget or if you have access to top rate millesimes. It became a game at some point to rediscover classic food with the appropriate ‘wine companion’, both enhancing each other. I could not help thinking it was the same with people.
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Thanks for your interesting insight, Colette. I had an excellent French teacher years ago, who not only taught the language but also the French attitude to life. He would engage us, bored teenagers, with stories we couldn’t hear anywhere else at the time. I still have a lot to learn about the art of food and wine matching, so I may try to get Philippe Bourguignon’s book somewhere. Thanks again for your advice! 🙂