Milan Nestarec, Bel 2020
Grüner Veltliner, Müller-Thurgau, and Welschriesling
Moravia, Czech Republic
From the importer-
Milan Nestarec’s vineyards comprise 8 hectares across two wine growing municipalities: Moravský Žižkov and Velké Bílovice. No herbicides are used and the vines are worked organically. Milan believes that gentle methods of growing grapevines and grape processing give the best result. All wines in the cellar are fermented spontaneously and they are usually vinified in oak and acacia barrels.
“This wine embodies my unassuming Moravian roots. Made with “common” local grapes that are neutral and low-alcohol and hence always used to be blended together for an everyday wine. (Gewurztraminer being the fancy Sunday-kinda-wine). An approach I like–and Běl and its plump, juice-like 1-liter bottle is my tribute to that.
I remember hearing the word “másnica” used for a bottle of wine when I was a kid. Only as an adult did I learn that it derives from the German Mass, an old volumetric unit roughly equalling 1 liter, which used to be a standard size of bottle for a guy working in the field (mixing it with water to get more quantity). I do love the term “minimagnum” too, though, courtesy of my Montréal friends.” The name Běl means white in old formal Czech, another tribute to things past. Linocut label by Milan’s wife Mirka.
Grapes: Gruner Veltliner, Welschriesling, Muller-Thurgau
Soil: Loess, clay, sand – blend of different vineyards in Bílovice and Moravský Žižkov, aged from 5 to 40 years. Estate-owned, organic.
Making of: Grapes are hand-harvested and destemmed. The wine is spontaneously fermented in stainless steel and neutral oak without temperature control. It rests in the same vessels for about 6 months until the following spring. Bottled unfined, unfiltered, with cca 30ppm of sulfur at bottling.
Personality: Milan says the aim with this wine was to have a bottle he can bring even to his conservative neighbors because it’s so approachable – fruity, with good acidity and pleasant citrusy aroma – that you can drink it with literally everyone, be they natural wine fans or haters. Mission accomplished!