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Updated: 20 April, 2021
Hello! Welcome to As Drunk by Exotic Wine Travel, a weekly column where we feature interesting wines that we encourage you to seek out. The reviews featured in this series may be written by either one or the both of us. The featured wines can be from obscure or well-known wine regions. We hope that these wine recommendations will keep you gastronomically curious and your palate invigorated!
One of our favorite wineries in central and eastern Europe is Slovak.
Located just outside Bratislava in the village of Devín, Zlatý Roh is a young winery with a bright future. These are minimal intervention Slovak wines. Their vineyards are located on the Danube and you can see Northern Burgenland (Austria) just across the river. Winemaker Filip Nagy works with organically farmed grapes and ferments the wines spontaneously with native yeasts.
We first visited the estate in 2018, during our second whirlwind tour through the Slovak wine regions. Filip immediately impressed us with his energy, focus, and vision. This is a small project now, just done out of a garage but the plans are to expand the vineyards and build a new winery. That’s all in the future, for now, these are some of the most exciting wines coming out of Slovakia. Get your hands on them if you can!
You can find out more about our scoring system on the WINE RATING page.
- Zlatý Roh, Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
This is the first vintage of Zlatý Roh Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon. There are notes of blackberry, pine, graphite, and sour cherry notes. It’s all fruit at this point. Fresh and full in body with a touch of green notes on the finish. It’s young now and should round into form in a few years. For a natural red, this is very solid and should cellar well, possibly deserving an uptick in score. Score: 89/100
- Zlatý Roh, Blanc 2018
The Blanc is our favorite wine from Zlatý Roh every vintage. It’s a barrel-fermented blend of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. Notes of sweet peach, sliced apricots, grass, lime, and a touch of white pepper. This is a full-bodied, unfiltered, and unfined white. It’s slightly cloudy with a tangy finish, no tannins. Score: 91/100
- Zlatý Roh, Pinot Noir 2018
The Zlatý Roh Pinot Noir is very old world in style, it’s more of an earthy, vegetal wine. Notes of soil, greens, fall leaves, and mushroom with strawberry. It really smells like a forest floor with a touch of forest berries. Silky smooth palate with concentration and a long finish. There is some grippy tannin. This has a future in the cellar, its made in the spirit of Burgundy. Score: 91/100
- Zlatý Roh, Veltlínské Zelené 2018
Another brilliant white from Zlatý Roh is this Grüner Veltliner, which is golden in color. Notes of lime, basil, grass, and white pepper. It’s a full-bodied, unfiltered wine. It’s so ripe that you wouldn’t expect it to be from Slovakia. Bright, focused fruit and a peppery finish. Score: 90/100
New 2019 Vintage
Zlatý Roh changed up the labels with the 2019 vintage. The style remains the same but the wines are named after the vineyard of origin. This is another set of beautiful wines from this boutique Slovak producer. The Riesling and Pinot Noir really stood out to me in this set of wines.
- Zlatý Roh, ‘Goldeck Purweg’ Blanc 2019
The Zlatý Roh, ‘Goldeck Purweg’ Blanc is a bend of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling aged in wood and amphora for 6 months. I have loved every vintage of this wine in the past. Notes of green guava, pineapple, grass, pine cone, and a kiss of oak. At this point, the nose is a little shy but the palate is where it comes to life. Plenty of explosive green and white-fleshed fruits upfront with crushed rocks on the backend. The texture is the key to this wine. There’s a lot of substance here and vibrant acidity. Long finish. Score: 91/100
- Zlatý Roh, ‘Purweg’ Riesling 2019
This Zlatý Roh, ‘Purweg’ Riesling is a beautiful, minimal intervention white. Notes of honey, white pepper, white pineapple, and green guava. On the palate, the fruit is crunchy and layered. There’s a vibrant spine of acidity that runs through the wine. The skins were in contact for 12 hours, which leaves a very faint trace of tannin. Gorgeous wine. Score: 92/100
- Zlatý Roh, ‘Goldeck’’ Veltlínske Zelené 2019
The Zlatý Roh, ‘Goldeck’’ Veltlínske Zelené 2019 is Grüner Veltliner fermented in cask and amphora and aged for 10 months. Flavors of baked apple, grass, white pepper, and passion fruit. The wine is a bit shy right now but there’s a lot of texture here. There is a small amount of tannins and limey acidity. With time in the bottle, this could very well deserve an uptick in score. Score: 89/100
*Check out the 2020 fermenting in the video below
- Zlatý Roh, ‘Goldeck’ Pinot Noir 2019
The Zlatý Roh, Pinot Noir 2019 is partially fermented with whole clusters (50%) and aged in cask and amphora for 10 months. Delicious, earthy Pinot Noir. Notes of sour cherry, cranberry, fall leaves, pepper, and earth. It’s unmistakably Old World Pinot Noir on the nose. Silky smooth palate with soft tannins. There’s a spiciness on the finish that’s undeniably good. Put this in the cellar and watch it bloom. Score: 91+/100
- Zlatý Roh, ‘Purweg’ Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
The Zlatý Roh, ‘Purweg’ Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend aged in oak. This has considerable alcohol levels for how far north it is grown (14.3%). It shows more earth and cool climate characteristics. Notes of cherry, earth, tobacco, and fall leaves. On the palate, it’s silky smooth and some capsicum notes emerge. Chewy tannins. Don’t expect Bordeaux but do expect a delicious, complex red blend. Score: 89/100
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