We had to work hard not to order everything from Milan that he produces. Incredibly relaxed, skilled wines from the Czech Republic. The Milan Nestarec - Bêl 2018 sends a cool oxidation into the race, it smells of sourdough bread, dark honey and a little bit of black, mustig-nutty tones and menthol tobacco and salt lemon are also at the start. Mega fine, juicy acidity and hazelnut notes on the palate, herbal spice right up to the finish. Thanks, Milan!
This is what Milan says about the wine and the story behind it:
For that moment when magnum feels a tad too decadent but a regular 750 just won't do
This wine embodies my unassuming Moravian roots. Made with “common” local grapes (Gruner Veltliner, Welschriesling, and a lot of Muller, because Muller from old vines is just dope) that always used to be blended together for an everyday wine. (Gewurztraminer being the fancy Sunday-kinda-wine). It's only logical - these varieties don't overripe easily, so the wine is low in alcohol and easy to drink. They also have higher yields, so you can get more quantity. And they're neutral, so there are no intense aromatics to annoy you while drinking. In short, an ideal combination for a wine that's drunk in masses by the masses. An approach I like – and Běl and its 1-liter volume is my tribute to that.
It's a wine made in a very classical way, no maceration, just gentle press and then aging in stainless steel and neutral oak. The idea here is to have wine that you can drink with literally everyone, be they natural wine fans or haters. (I sometimes joke that I make this wine so that I have something to drink with my Bílovice neighbors.)
To keep it this approachable, Běl is our only wine with added sulfur (about 30 ppm total SO2). I don't use sulfur when I don't have to, but I'm not dogmatic about it - it goes well with Běl, especially if we want it to have this easy character. Otherwise, all is like you're used to with us, natural yeast, no fining or filter.
Běl used to have the same label as my White Label range, which actually didn't make much sense as its character and making of is quite different. So we came up with this brand new packaging, whose “rustic finesse” conveys better the message in the bottle. To make it really “us”, the label is now a linocut made by my dear wife Mirka, and we found a cute plump bottle whose shape and crown cap transport me right to my childhood when we used to buy beer or juice in such containers .
The 2020 vintage was a perfect moment for this shift since it was, after a couple of warm and early harvests, a year when we went back to what I knew as a kid: a challenging rainy vintage from mid-September to end-October, More raincoats than short sleeves. Many of my fellow winemakers were gutted, but I was actually fascinated. This is the Moravia I remember, with great acidity, low ABV, elegant aromatics.
We kept the liter volume, of course, as it's an important part of Moravian wine heritage. 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, lol). I do love the term “minimagnum” too, though, courtesy of my Montréal friends.