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What's with all the Czech and Australian wine?

by Sean Braid (WSET Level 3)

Well, we had to choose a few countries to start with. And why not two wine regions that are under-represented in the local market?

But why start with a focus on wine from Czechia and Australia?

Well firstly, I have a shamelessly selfish motive to confess. I’m a massive wine nerd. I love it and gobble up all the fascinating stuff that many call boring. So when we decided to move to Europe I really got excited about getting to know ALL of the wine regions here. The first stop for me on that journey wasn't the classics of France, Italy or Spain, but Czech wine. Registered as such, after I had some cracking examples, while in Australia still, that both blew and opened my mind to the quality outside of the classic regions. It's not only the quality that spoke to me, but the style. Czech wines have an honest sense of place that also happen to be right on trend, that is lighter, fresh styles with great zing. Czech wine has two distinct regions. There's Bohemia with gentler, minerally wines and Moravia with it's loess soils with rounder, fuller styles but still plenty of zip.

We are in the right time and place to fully appreciate the Czech wine revolution that is really hitting it's stride. And it's largely led by smaller, passionate producers who are going about their wine with a focus on authenticity.

I have a list of wine countries that I want to explore more intimately though... And it's quite long and very exciting. Stick around to see what’s next in the months and years to come. It’s going to be so much fun! (for everyone except my liver). Jump on the delicious, delicious wagon.

Then there’s the fact that when we started this business we had a few goals in mind and key among them was to bring fun, new and exciting wine offerings to the Lithuanian market. There are plenty of others bringing in "serious" wines from classic regions. While that’s great, it’s not all that wine is about.

Fun, exciting and smashable are three appropriate words to describe wines coming out of both Czechia and Australia, and we are bringing them to you. Among them all are a few common themes; re-discovering varieties and styles that suit the place rather than moulding output to the international market trends, a focus on bright, fresh styles and a simple purpose of authenticity.

And there’s always something new to explore, so tick, tick, tick.

Next up on our list of goals is to bring great value and make great natural wine accessible to everyone, everyday. Czechia has great old wine regions with winemaking traditions going back to the time when Lithuania was a badass player on the European stage. Unfortunately, as Lithuania can surely relate, Czechia went through some times. And many of its rich winemaking traditions went on the backburner in favour of a little thing called survival (and soviet cooperatives). And like Lithuania, Czechia has mostly picked itself up from this period it would rather forget and is forging a new path with many shining lights giving it hope of a future that it has aspired to for a couple of generations or longer.

One of those shining lights, for Czechia, is the resurgence of its wine regions and the families devoted to restoring its glory. The ingredients are all there for making amazing wine: varied and blessed landscapes and geology, cool climates providing opportunity for lighter, fresh styles that are increasingly sought after globally and a generally smaller-scale authentic winemaking ethos that trends toward organic and natural products.

Despite all of this, Czech wine is still relatively undiscovered by the global masses (although this situation is rapidly changing) and is therefore underappreciated and in our opinion undervalued. And this, equals… great value for us in Lithuania, woop!

Finally, well, I’m bringing in Australian wine of course, but not just because I’m Australian but because it’s the wine that I know and love the best in the world. The wines I’m bringing in represent the huge shift in not just style but in philosophy that has transpired in the Australian wine scene in a relatively short period. So quickly, in fact, that it simply would not be possible in many other wine countries.

There are some classic wines that will never change too much (because they’re classic) but on the greater whole there is a high chance quality wine that you might have tried from Australia just five years ago would be seriously different in style to today. In my opinion, and shared by many, is that it’s for the better and is wine that sings to the Australian tune and lifestyle. This makes the wine even more special and unique as it represents a country in a style that cannot be easily replicated.

It is fun, fresh and exciting. And that’s what new skanu is all about.

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