Winnica Golesz

Polish experimental winery picks up tasters points



Polish wine experts have given the thumbs up to the first releases of an experimental winery in Poland.

For obvious reasons? but mainly due to an unsuitable climate with late frosts in May and not enough sunshine? there is little or no commercial wine production in Poland.

But retired chemist Roman Mysliwiec has disproven the theory. At Winnica Golesz, an experimental winery near Jaslo, in south-eastern Poland, a gentle microclimate favours hardened, early-ripening varieties such as Seyval Blanc, Sibera, Bianca and dark-skinned Rondo. Varieties used by Mysliwiec are crossings developed in Hungary, Germany and Ukraine.

At a tasting held earlier this year in Warsaw, wines from Winnica Golesz received unanimous approval from wine tasters and journalists. Whites are crisp, mineral and only slightly foxy, much in the style of Loire Muscadets. Mysliwiec's only red, Rondo, impressed with its balance and purity of Gamay-like fruit.

'I am still researching which varieties are best adapted to the conditions', he says. Work is under way to develop a blend, though he adds, 'my main interest is varietal wines.'

Vines were grown in Poland in the 11th and 12th centuries.
There are records of wine being exported to Germany and as far as Rome, but by the 14th century climatic changes had pushed the viable growing areas south of Poland's borders. It has had a great influence on Central European winemaking, however. The word Szamorodni - the lightest Hungarian Tokaji - was borrowed from Polish. Meaning 'self-generating', it described grapes that fermented on the long journey from the Tokaji hills to southern Poland.

Polish government red tape will not allow Mysliwiec to sell his wines commercially in Poland. 'I am required to set up a chemical laboratory - and facilities for workers, even though I don't have any staff', he says. When Poland joins the European Union in within the next three or four years, these regulations will be brought into line with the rest of Europe.

But it's unlikely the country will seriously make wine again. Years of punitive wine taxation have turned it into a nation of beer and vodka drinkers. Mysliwiec will have a hard job persuading even his own countrymen to drink his wine.

Wojciech Bonkowski
www.decanter.com

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