Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A wolf in sheep's clothing

The most dangerous beverage in Prague (and no it's not absinthe, although that's a close second) is most definitely Burčák.  

I don't like autumn, but it does bring with it Burčák season - and I love me some Burčák!  So hurry - you have until about November 30th to indulge in this ridiculously good young wine.

For those of you unfamiliar with this oh-so-good sweet nectar, Burčák is the fermented young Moravian wine that is available several weeks into the start of the grape harvest.  It's very sweet and damn good, but beware, for Burčák is known as a wolf in sheep's clothing (and, um, I can attest to that).
Besides its dangerously good phenomenal taste, there is a curse of Burčák.  You see, while it only contains about 5% alcohol, it continues to ferment while inside your body.  That sounds much worse than it is, and if you're like me you're probably visualizing some yeasty beast growing inside you.  Gross.  But no, nothing like that.  It simply means that the alcohol level of the insanely delicious sweet beverage you've been consuming for the past four hours (perhaps less, perhaps more) has grown to that of a normal, matured wine (approximately 13%) while in your body.  This most certainly explains why more than half of the folks I met at the Burčák festival were happy drunk (self-included).

Enjoying Burčák in Náměstí Míru, Prague

Although you can find Burčák this time of year at many establishments (especially wine bars) throughout Prague, I suggest going to the source.  Head to the wine region of Moravia and enjoy harvest celebrations in the town of Znojmo, as well as other large wine areas such as Mikulov and Valtice.  "Czechs but especially Moravians have a very deep, traditional relationship with Burčák, because it is a traditional Moravian beverage.  Though Austrians and Germans also produce and consume young wine, only Czechs have Burčák, the name now protected under new legislation within the new EU.  Following EU accession the only true Burčák can come strictly from Moravian or Czech grapes."   

Indulge - before it's all gone!