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photo:  Nesyt Lake and Valtice

Nesyt Lake and vineyards near Sedlec, with Valtice in the distance

"Nesyt Lake Wines“ is a small winemaking operation run by an Englishman based in South Moravia, a traditional winemaking region in the Czech Republic close to the Austrian border.  The winery was established in 2003 in Valtice, and is now based just a few kilometres away at the Ovčárna farm in Sedlec, near Mikulov.  Nesyt Lake lies close by and provides the inspiration for both the name of the company and the design of its labels.  The lake was constructed in the 15th century by the Liechtenstein family based in Valtice, and is the largest of several carp ponds in the area which are still used for fish farming.  Today these  fish ponds are a prominent feature of the UNESCO listed landscape of the Lednice-Valtice area, and Nesyt, with its extensive reed beds and great diversity of water birds, is also now a national nature reserve. 

photo:  Chateau Valtice

Chateau Valtice

photo:  Ovčárna winery in Sedlec

The Ovčárna Winery  in Sedlec

The winery today occupies a substantial building originally built by the Liechtenstein family over a hundred years ago to house livestock, and the metre-thick stone walls provide excellent insulation both in summer and winter.  Nesyt Lake Wines focuses its efforts on a relatively small range of grape varieties, in contrast to the local custom which is to make a wide range of varietal wines each year, sometimes as many as fifteen or twenty.  Nesyt Lake Wines aims to make the best possible wines from just three locally grown, classic grape varieties, namely:

      •       Grüner Veltliner
      •      Rhine Riesling
      •      Pinot Noir

The grapes are sourced from local, professional growers who understand and respect the important parameters affecting quality, such as restricted yields, optimal harvest dates and hand-picking.  The vineyards themselves are located in and around traditional wine villages in both the Mikulovská and Velkopavlovická regions of South Moravia, such as:

        • Valtice
        • Úvaly
        • Sedlec
        • Mikulov
        • Velké Bílovice
photo:  black and white grapes

painting:  carp

Wine for food  -  food for wine

The wines are intended to be consumed as an accompaniment to food, and so are usually dry to medium-dry.  This contrasts with the local popular taste for sweeter wines, which are often drunk on their own in a purely social setting.  Nesyt Lake itself suggests a wide variety of themes for matching food and wine, both white and red.  The lake is used for farming not only the traditional Christmas carp, but also pike, zander, eel and catfish.  Furthermore, large numbers of duck and geese frequent the lake and its surroundings, and there is abundant game such as wild boar, deer, hare and pheasant in adjoining areas.  Add to all this the annual harvest of wild mushrooms from the extensive local forests, and local restaurants are left with no shortage of ideas for inspired meals.

The wines are fermented and matured in either modern stainless steel tanks or in traditional 225 litre oak barrels (french barriques)The wines are intended to mature successfully in the bottle and gain in complexity over time, and normally have some bottle age before being released onto the market.  This is in contrast to many other wines from the region, which are made to be consumed very young, often within a matter of months following the harvest.  Although they can be very attractive in their youth, this usually means that they do not age well in the bottle, and are often sold as jug wines served directly from bulk containers in pubs and restaurants.

photo:  stainless steel tanks in cellar

photo:  oak barrels (barriques) in cellar

The local Czech system for classifying wines is based on the natural levels of sugar in the grapes at harvest time, the same as in Austria and Germany.  Nesyt Lake Wines does not use this system, and the wines are simply labelled “Moravské Zemské víno“ (MZV), similar to a french “Vins de Pays“.  It is felt  that the name of the producer is a more useful guide to quality, and the wine in the bottle must be allowed to speak for itself.  French winemakers do something similar when they sometimes choose to market a “Vins de Pays“ instead of an "Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée" (AOC) wine.  This approach has the advantage of simplicity, and saves both time and money.  From 2012 onwards, these wines will also be known in the European Union as wines with an "Indication Géographique Protégée" (IGP). 

Although the general style of wines made is still being shaped and refined in the light of experience, the whole approach to winemaking could possibly be described as more french than czech.  This is in part, perhaps, because of the winemaker´s earlier exposure to international wine styles, and also because his first experience of professional winemaking was in S.W.France.  The aim is to produce a range of wines which have distinctive character and which also reflect something of their local origins, the conditions specific to this special region in Central Europe where the grapes are grown.

photo:  bottled wines in storage

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