Milan Nestarec - Bĕl - 1 liter - 2021 - regio Moravia
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-Thurgau, because Muller from older 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 some time in stainless steel. 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 neighbours.)
To keep it this approachable, Běl gets some added sulfur (about 15 ppm). I don't use SO2 when I don't have to, but I'm not dogmatic about it – in this case, it goes well with the wine's 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 are 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.
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.
As for 2021, it was a vintage that took its time in the cellar, and we released it almost 3 months later than usual. But the wine needed its time to "clean up" and I was happy to let him have it – I found out that if I want to present our place in our wine with justice, less sediment is welcome. I'm not talking about see-through crystal clear wines, of course .) But less haze in the wine makes expressing our place easier – even these "humble country liters" of ours sport some tiny flavor nuances and I'm happy not to obscure them.