Monday, March 17, 2008

Best Red Wine In Prague For $5 Or Less?

Is there a better red wine in Prague for the price?

At my house, we like to drink wine -- sometimes white, but usually red. I'd say we drink, on average, a bottle a day with dinner.

When you're drinking a bottle of wine a day, it's nice to find something that tastes nice but that won't break the bank. In the United States, it's very easy to find drinkable wines that cost $5 or less per bottle.

It's a lot tougher here in the Czech Republic. There are certainly a lot of Czech reds at reasonable prices, but they're usually the color of watered-down grape juice and taste just as bad. The decent Czech reds cost much more than $5 per bottle.

There are also some delicious Australian and Chilean reds for sale here in Prague -- from such established labels as Tarapaca or Jacob's Creek -- but they'll set you back anywhere from 200 CZK (about $12.50) to almost 300 CZK ($19) per bottle. (I was astounded to see Tarapaca Cabernet and Carmenere on sale for 99 CZK ($6.25) at one of the Hypernovas here in Prague a month or so ago, and bought a few cases worth, but the sale was short-lived.)

Is it possible to find a decent red in Prague for $5 or less? That means for around 80 Czech crowns (CZK), at today's exchange rate.

I used to really love a Chilean red from Tupahue that was a a bargain for around 70 CZK per bottle, but it mysteriously disappeared from local shelves about a year or so ago.

Now, my affordable, but drinkable, wine of choice is the 2006 Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon from Brise de France, which retails for 70 CZK to 79 CZK at a few of the grocery stores I frequent (the Hypernova at Sestka, near the airport, and at a Vietnamese market near Hradcanska metro, but I think they also carry it at Billa).

Right off the bat, it's a pleasing wine, pouring a dark, deep, rich red. For the price, it's got a nice little bit of spiciness, with hints of black cherry.

It's not going to knock your socks off, but it's eminently drinkable, and for the price, it's hard to beat, at least in this city.

What's the best wine in Prague for 80 CZK or less? My choice is Brise de France 2006 Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Your nominations are welcome!


  1. A good $5 wine in Prague? There are worse problems to have... you are in Prague and you have wine. What else is needed for happiness? Perhaps the love of a good woman and a faithful dog? When I am in the CZ I always look for Holanek Frankova. I was able to meet the Holanek family through a mutual friend 2 years ago and toured their vineyard and sklep in the Moravian village of Ivan. This past August I was in Bzenec in Moravia for what I think was a wine festival and spent the better part of three (or was it four?!) days sampling the regions wines. But I bought several cases of Holanek's Frankova. If you have an opportunity to try it I would recomend it.

  2. Los Reyes, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Cosecha, Chile, for under 40 Kc!!!

  3. Hey, Big Poppa,

    Thanks for the tip. I must admit that I haven't yet tasted a Czech red -- especially Frankovka -- for under 300 CZK or 400 CZK that I could stomach, but I'm always willing to try a recommendation.

    How much is that Holanek Frankovka, and where can you buy it?

  4. That Los Reyes from Chile sounds too good to be true! Where can I find a bottle??!! I'm sure I haven't seen it.

  5. I second the Brise, and it is even cheaper at Macro.

  6. Los Reyes at Norma supermarket. So time ago even for 29,90 Kc!

  7. Norma? Where the heck is dat? Never heard of it.

  8. Merlot 2006 IGT, Cielo family, Veneto, Italy, Interspar, 67 - 79 CZK/bottle 0,75... It is nice drinkable I think in this category... Czech red wines are terrible if cheaper than 120-150 CZK, especially those you can buy in supermarkets... And they are often only bottled here, but made of low quality grapes from Italy and Hungary anyway... (It is written by very small letters on the rear side of bottle) Almost only chance to find good and cheap red wine is to visit winemakers and their wine cellars directly, but even in that case they will be offering a lot more of white wines...

  9. Yes, I've had the Cielo. I remember it as drinkable. I'll have to buy another bottle and refresh my memory. I still think the Brise de France is the better value, though. Thanks for the tip!

  10. I don't think you can beat the barrel wines available from the wine shops around town, esp. the Chilean Merlot or Argentine Malbec for 55 Kc a litre.

    Wine tip of the week: Tesco have the excellent Rosemount Estate Shiraz on offer for 189.90 Kc - now that's a bargain!!!

  11. My Mother just gave me a g=few bottles of the Frankovka, she had been travelling in prague a few weeks ago. I shall be opening the Bottles at the weekend and enjoying your recommendation!

  12. I have a wine kiosk that I sometimes frequent in Suchdol. I will have to try their offerings again and compare.