Beware of the Burčák
The dangers and delights of young Czech wine
Burčák is partially fermented young wine, which hits the wine bars of Prague in August, slightly ahead of vinobraní, the traditional festival celebrating the new wine harvest.
The opaque, yellowy-orange liquid is surprisingly drinkable, leading the unsuspecting drinker into a false sense of security.
Because burčák is so sweet, it doesn’t really taste like an alcoholic beverage, even though the alcohol content is between 5% and 8%.
Some even claim that because it’s only partially fermented, it’s possible for burčák to carry on fermenting in the blood stream, though this is, in fact, scientifically impossible.
Either way, it can provide a little more merriness than you’ve bargained for.
Burčák production is shrouded in mystery, with each winemaker closely guarding the secrets of their own particular technique, but the basics remain the same across the country.
Burčák is derived from fermenting grape juice, known as must, shortly after the grapes have been crushed. At a point determined by the winegrower, the must is deemed worthy of consumption and a part of it is sold as burčák. The rest is allowed to mature into adult wine.
In common with most other alcoholic drinks produced in the Czech Republic, burčák is supposed to offer great health benefits. In this case, however, the drink’s proponents might actually have a point: Burčák is rich in vitamins, particularly Vitamin B, and certain essential minerals.
You’ll have to move fast to reap those benefits, however: Because of its short shelf-life, burčák can only legally be sold between the 1st August and 30th November.
While the country’s best burčák – and, indeed, the best Czech wine – is found in Moravia (the eastern half of the Czech Republic), Prague gets its share of the golden liquid.
The city’s fancier wine bars are all likely to offer burčák, but for an authentically Czech experience, we’d recommend the cavernous halls of Vinárna U Sudu.
If nothing else, U Sudu will challenge any preconceptions you have about wine being the sole domain of the sophisticate, housing seven subterranean rooms stuffed with increasingly rowdy (and suspiciously young-looking) burčák quaffers.
September 22nd, 2006
Video on YouTube
With spring the beer garden season is back by Ross Kennerly - Prague.TV (fotolia)
Spring, Sun & fun ... oh yeah, the beer garden season is back
BlackDog Cantina reveals plans for Prague location by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The burger and tapas place is a sister to the original Beroun location
Budějovický Budvar had a record year by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: budejovickybudvar.cz)
The Czech state-owned brewer is expanding but wants legal protection over secrets
Food Truck Show coming to Smíchovská Náplavka by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Food Truck Show Prague)
The season of almost weekly food festivals in getting under way
Michelin now lists 34 Prague eateries by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: Alcron / Michelin)
Three venues hold their stars, and seven now are Bib Gourmand
St. Patricks Day 2017 – Prague Celebrations by Prague.TV (Foto: fotolia)
We all go green again .... celebrate Ireland's national holiday in Prague!
Zubr wins at 25th Pivex beer awards by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV (Foto: fotolia)
The beer awards gave out a special award for best brewery of the past 25 years
Czech Cider Festival by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV (Foto: Jan Pukrábek)
Over 80 samples of artisanal ciders to taste at the seventh Czech cider festival
Base Camp: Prague’s beer paradise by Ross Kennerley - Prague.TV
One small place offers beer lovers the chance to bask in the glory of 354 different beers
Ginfest is back by Ross Kennerley
News of the festival is tonic to some people's ears
Don’t miss out on historical low Czech mortgage rates!
Catsit.cz® provides cat sitting services in Prague. Other...
Become a Good Angel!
Feel the rhythm and party to the biggest hits of the 80’s!
Austrian Restaurant in Prague
Czech culinary inspired by the ages of 1st Republic
American style chicken wings
Nespresso. What else?