While in the Czech Republic last week, I kept hearing about a special Czech wine that is only offered in the fall. It’s so popular that it’s the only official wine sold at the Znojmo (Southern Moravia wine district) Historic Wine-Harvest Festival where upwards of 80,000 people descend on the town of Znojmo to enjoy music, parades, food .. and gallons and gallons of Bur?ák wine . Our guides kept saying the name didn’t have a literal Czech to English translation, but be assured once I had it, I would always remember it. I assumed it was an old obscure Czech grape varietal. How wrong I was!
In basic terms Burcák is unfermented wine, crushed just a few days before it is served. Burcák looks and tastes a little like a VERY sweet cloudy orange juice or Mimosa, leading you to think its harmless, but trying to drink Burcák as if it is harmless is likely to get you into big trouble. It comes mostly in white wine form mostly from the Muscat grape, but I tasted a few red versions as well. The reds were very tart. Because Burcák is so sweet, it doesn’t really taste like an alcoholic beverage, even though the alcohol content is between 5% and 8%. It hits the wine bars on August 1st and can only be served through November 30th.
Burcák is made from fermenting grape juice, known as must, shortly after the grapes have been crushed. At a point determined by the winegrower, the must is declared worthy of consumption and sale and a part of it is sold as Bur?ák. The rest is allowed to mature into adult wine.
In common with most other alcoholic drinks produced in the Czech Republic, Burcák is supposed to offer some great health benefits. Don’t roll your eyes…they might actually have a point: Burcák is rich in vitamins, particularly Vitamin B, and certain essential minerals. I love the old saying that you should drink 5-6 liters of Bur?ák every year, because you have the same volume of blood in your veins. Sounds like wishful thinking to me, but the stuff is really yummy, so what the heck!
While the country’s best Burcák – and probably the best Czech wine is found in Moravia (the eastern half of the Czech Republic), Prague gets its share of the liquid gold as well. Daniela Kolejkova is from the State Food and Agriculture Inspection in Brno; she explains Daniela Kolejkova is from the State Food and Agriculture Inspection in Brno; she explains Burcák allure. "Czechs but especially Moravians have a very deep, traditional relationship with Burcák, because it is a traditional Moravian beverage. Though Austrians and Germans also produce and consume young wine, only Czechs have Burcák, the name now protected under new legislation within the new EU. Following EU accession the only true Bur?ák can come strictly from Moravian or Czech grapes."
Get a first-hand glimpse of how Burcák is made:
Moravian Style http://www.tripfilms.com/Travel_Video-v62661-Brno-Wine_and_burcak_in_Moravia-Video.html
California Style http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gf_4enSjyM8