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Winery #91: Vinárstvo BOGNÁR (Svätý Jur, Slovakia)

Beyond any traditional or typical European wine routes exists Vinárstvo BOGNÁR, a family-owned wine producer located in the Malokarpatská (translated to “The Lesser Carpathian") wine region of Slovakia. Making Bratislava our halfway point on our drive back to our home in Zürich, we figured it would be nice to try wines from Slovakia with low expectations. What we found at Vinárstvo BOGNÁR was not only an extremely welcoming and highly knowledgable host, Martin, but also a very high quality line-up of wines spanning unique local Slovakian grape varieties to international wines.

Martin is the next generation of the Bognár family of wine producers responsible for the 45,000 bottles produced each year. He provided us with a detailed overview of the winemaking landscape of Slovakia, of which we had no experience whatsoever. We learned that the area has been producing wine for nearly 3,000 years from a multitude of indigenous grape varietals that we were able to sample during our visit. Seated in the estate's tasting room for our experience, I couldn't help but notice the beautiful paintings gracing the walls. My duty as an up-and-coming amateur photographer was to capture these marvelous, colorful works of art!

Our host generously poured 14 wines representative of the estate’s production line. Our favorite wine was the 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé. Yes, you correctly read a rosé produced with the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. According to Martin, the Malokarpatská wine region's cooler climate preserves the grape's natural acidity while allowing its ripening. Cabernet Sauvignon needs warmth to ripen fully; hence, it does exceptionally well in environments like Napa Valley, Australia, South Africa, Chile, and the gravel soils that retain heat, like Bordeaux. We may need another trip to Slovakia to understand better the Cabernet Sauvignon ripening climatic anomaly! With the beautiful pink wine in our glass, we enjoyed the concentrated aromas of strawberry, raspberry, as well as the grape's typical black currant grape aroma. True to Martin's word, the wine's acidity provided the refreshing structure perfect for a warm summer afternoon.

Our visit to Vinárstvo BOGNÁR left us with an important lesson to explore beyond traditional wine regions that we learn about in wine classes or that usually line the shelves of our local wine shop or grocery store. We were pleasantly surprised by the high quality of the wines and, more importantly, the incredible hospitality of the Bognár family!

Experience Rating: 3 Stars

Brodi's Rating: 1 Paw Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Private Experience, Seated Tasting

Reservations Needed: Yes

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