If there's one overnight trip you do from Prague, make it a getaway to Moravia, known as the the Czech wine region. If you watched the YouTube video clip on "How to Become Czech in One Hour," you're probably wondering: Isn't the Czech Republic known for beer? For both, actually. On my cousin Pierluigi's birthday, me, him, and Monika set off on a three-hour car ride to Breclav, a village in Moravia where there are two things you must do: Visit Chateau Lednice and do a proper wine degustation. Between the fairy-tale surroundings, the cool air and sunlight, and the food and drinks shared with family and friends, I was feeling happiest during this part of my solo-ish trip.
We started at Chateau Lednice, which has belonged to the Liechtenstein family since the 13th century. Over the years, there have been many iterations of the chateau, though the current structure dates to 1846-1858, when the Prince Alois II of Liechtenstein lineage rebuilt it as a summer palace in the English Gothic style. He had good taste; the chateau is a beauty. It's surrounded by a park with forest trails, lakes, a minaret, a Venetian fountain, a Roman aqueduct, a Chinese Pavilion, and more. This land is part of a 55-square-foot valley in South Moravia designated as the "Lednice-Valtice Cultural Landscape" and is an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Thanks to Pierluigi's friend Pier Andrea, who lives in Breclav, we had a guide to show us around the grounds of Chateau Lednice. Pier Andrea also organized our wine degustation at Vinoteka Breclav, a cozy shop where sommelier Libor Nazarcuk serves and sells Moravian wines. Fruit flavors pop in Czech whites and reds without being too sweet or brash. Balance is what comes to mind, and though it might seem like a boring word, the effect yields smooth, bright, slosh-on-your-tongue-for-awhile wine that tastes so good it should be sipped pure of food. I especially liked the Pelvins Muskat Moravský Kabinetni 2016 Polosladke (open in Google Chrome for translation as there's no English option) and Sonberk Palava VOC Mikulov 2015. Paired with our wine tasting was locally-made sausage, bread, and cheeses, including the splendidly salty string cheese called Korbáčik.
Feeling like a trip to Czech wine country is in your future? Follow my tips for making the most of your stay in Moravia, including:
- How to Go from Prague to Breclav: Besides renting a car and driving the distance, you can take a train. View the Czech Railways schedule.
- Where To Stay: The three-star Hotel Rose is a convenient 15-minute walk from Vinoteka Breclav.
- Tours of Chateau Lednice: There are seven options ranging from "Private Princely Apartments" to "Grotta: Artificial Baroque Cave." Read more.
- Planning Your Wine Degustation: Vinoteka Breclav offers personalized wine tasting experiences based on your preferences. Read more (open in Google Chrome for translation as there's no English option.)