Do You want to learn something about Polish wines and the brands behind them? Well, I need to tell you that this year’s Polish Wine Competition in Jasło was truly something. Over two days, a jury of nine wine connoisseurs tasted and judged a staggering 215 wines. These wines were presented by 59 producers hailing from all over Poland. Now, I get to share with you the champions of all eight categories.
The Finest Polish Wine Brands
Picture this. It’s July 14-15, and a panel of nine industry experts is deeply engaged in assessing 215 Polish wines. These wines span eight categories: dry white, semi-dry and semi-sweet white, rosé, red, sweet, sparkling, amateur, and special wine.
Each category had its winners, with several gold medals and a champion statuette to boast of. I am convinced it’s worth mentioning that a Grand Prix was also up for grabs. The ceremonious bestowing of statuettes to winners is something you wouldn’t want to miss. This happened at the International Wine Days in Jasło.
This year’s edition of the Polish Wine Competition was brought to life by Jasielskie Association of Winemakers „Vinum pro Cultura” and the Association of Polish Sommeliers. All these wines, you need to know, were crafted by an impressive 59 producers from across the Poland.
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The Best Vineyards for Polish Wines
In the dry white wines category, the jury didn’t hold back and dished out eight gold medals. Yet, let me tell you, the Arbor vineyard from Bolestraszyce near Przemyśl stood out, seizing the cherished title of champion. Also, honorable mentions were awarded to Equus, twice to Kazimierskie Wzgórza, Fredówka, Silesian, Antoni’s Cellars, and the Kamil Barczentewicz vineyard.
Here’s an interesting bit. Gold medals in the semi-dry and semi-sweet white wines category went to two vineyards – Aris from Osiecznica and Nobilis from Sandomierz. The former bagged the championship title. Aris didn’t stop there. It also claimed the sweet wine category.
In the rosé wines section, the jury only awarded a single gold medal to the Pinot Noir 2021 from the Ingrid vineyard in Zielona Góra.
Moving to the red wines, it was the Kazimierskie Wzgórza vineyard that rose to the top with its Zweigelt Classique 2021. Also, gold medals were given to Celtica, Modła, Nobilis, Zamkowa, and Melancholy vineyards.
And now for the big reveal. The Grand Prix of the IX Polish Wine Competition was clinched by the Cuvee 2020 sparkling wine from the Od Nowa vineyard in Bytnica. It surely left a lasting impression on the jury. In the last two categories – amateur and special wines – only silver and bronze medals were given out.
Best Polish Wines You Can Buy Online
Ok, if you are reading this article, you probably want to buy something. Some of those best wines are not available in land based stores. This is why, below, you have a list of those which you can buy through Internet.
Wines From Jura Vineyard
Imagine this, you’re only half an hour’s drive from the Main Market Square in Krakow, and you stumble upon Joanna and Marcin’s vineyard, nestled on the slope of a limestone hill in Rybna. They grow both hybrids and noble vines, all organically. And guess what, their first official vintage was only in 2017!
They produce this terrific wine called Pét-Nat Johanniter Bio 2020 from the Johanniter strain. Now, let me explain: its robust color comes from 48-hour maceration on the skins, giving off scents of ripe apples, apricots, passion fruit, and grapefruit.
Take a sip, and you’re hit with a solid structure, slightly creamy after mixing, maintaining the perfect balance between acidity and residual sugar. The lively effervescence and citrus tip make it an excellent choice to enjoy solo or with slightly spicy Thai or Indian dishes, especially when properly cooled to about 5 degrees Celsius.
Wines From Vineyard Gostchorze
Let’s talk about one of the best Polish sparkling wines. Guillaume Dubois, a Polish-French man living in Krosno Odrzańskie, has been crafting a masterpiece, the ost Art Cuvée Brut 2019, from Riesling, Pinot blanc, Pinot Gris varieties.
His knowledge comes from frequent trips to Champagne, and his willingness to share experience and equipment has benefited many Polish winemakers.
Since the first vintage in 2014, the Gost Art has been consistently high quality. It offers a good effervescence and pleasant, creamy texture. A sniff reveals ripe apples and peaches, while a taste gives way to a refreshing acidity. Paired with seafood, ravioli, chips, or light spring salads, it elevates the dining experience, especially when served chilled at 5-6 degrees Celsius.
- You can buy their wines here: Wine Shop
Wines From Vineyard Skarpa Dobrska
Next up is Vineyard Skarpa Dobrska. In 2014, Sylwia and Leopold set up this vineyard in the buffer zone of the Kazimierz Landscape Park, close to the Skarpa Dobrska nature reserve. The south-eastern slope and the proximity of the Vistula River provide the vines a unique microclimate.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Their wine, Inula 2020, is crafted from the Grüner Veltliner graft. In the area of Kazimierz Dolny, expect aromas of wildflowers, peaches, apples, quince, and a hint of white pepper.
Above all, you’ll be surprised by the vibrating acidity and mineral finish. If you manage to snag one of the 275 bottles produced and serve it chilled (up to 7-8 degrees Celsius), it’s the perfect companion to asparagus, dim sum, or many vegetarian dishes.
- You can taste it here
Wines From Piwnice Półtorak
Meet Marta and Mariusz, founders of Piwnice Półtorak. It’s only been a decade, but their wines are probably a hidden secret, cherished by the guests of the Hilton Garden Inn hotel in Rzeszów, which they run.
Tucked away on the hilltop of Panska Góra near Witryłowo in the Podkarpacie region, they tend their vines. Piotr, a certified oenologist with extensive experience, including a stint in California, takes care of the vineyard and wine production.
Their Pálava 2019, a strain crafted in the 1950s by Josef Veverka, is popular in Moravia. It ages on sediment in an oak barrel, which lends this highly aromtic (think white flowers, ripe apricots, and peaches, passion fruit) and slightly spicy wine a silky, oily texture.
It leaves a mineral, a little salty finish. Cool it down to 11-12 degrees Celsius and you’ve got yourself a perfect pairing for fish dishes like salmon, tuna or eel, or even chicken in a stew or green curry, or veal kebab.
- You can check their online store here
Vineyard – Nizio Naturals
The vineyard owned by Elżbieta and Dariusz sprouted in 2012 near their earlier purchased and renovated manor house (Sanna Manor). It lies in the north-western part of Roztocze, amongst ravines, meadows, and forests, in Wierzchowiska Drugie. At the foot of the vineyard, you’ll find a stud farm and goats.
The family advocates a biodynamic ecosystem where people, plants, and animals coexist in harmony. Their son Karol crafts the most extraordinary, often surprising, but always top-level wines.
Their orange Johanniter is part of their new series „Fauna”, inspired by the farm’s animals. A week’s maceration on the skins brings out a complex bouquet of ripe apples and peaches, dried fruit, and ginger.
Best served slightly chilled, up to 13-14 degrees Celsius, it pairs well with intense Moroccan or Ethiopian dishes, kimchi, and even Silesian sausage with mustard.
- Check their wines and prices in this store
The Rising Star Wines – Silesian Vineyard
Back in 2015, Jarosław started planting vines on several hectares of land with a granite slate substrate. His family has been breeding horses for five generations in Bagieniec near Jaworzyna Śląska, but viticulture was a new field for them.
Their debut vintage of Riesling Rotter was recognized in the Polish Corks competition before its premiere, setting a high bar. The Red Rooster Riesling 2019 lives up to the expectation. After several weeks of maceration on the skins, this wine offers a complex bouquet (aromas of grapefruit, lychee, dried apricots, wild strawberries, rose, cloves, and black tea) with a slight tannic note.
Chill it to 13-14 degrees Celsius for solo enjoyment, or pair it with tricky-to-match dishes such as sardines in tomato sauce, smoked fish, hummus, or bibimbap.
- You can grab your bottle of Roter Riesling 2019 here
Wines From Novel Gamay
The journey of Jaworek Vineyards started in 2001 under the guidance of Ewa and Lech. Situated in Miękinia near Wrocław, their two sizable plots of over 18 hectares are home to an assortment of grape strains including Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, and Zweigelt.
If you need a timeline, let me remind you that they made their wine debut in Poland’s market in 2009. Not just wines, but they also create meads, grape honey, and beer based on grape juice at their restored post-German farm.
However, wine holds the crown of importance for the Jaworki family. Now, I am convinced that they can surprise you because they have introduced the well-known gamay variety from Beaujolais for the first time in Poland.
It is worth to say, the wine captures your senses with ripe cherries, wild blackberries, and black pepper. Take a sip, and you’ll notice the good structure highlighted by the smoky and oak barrel hints. Just 290 bottles were produced, making it a rare gem.
If you want to experience it, cool it (up to 14-15 degrees Celsius) and pair it with dishes like young potatoes with dill, roasted beets with gorgonzola and walnuts, or duck in plum sauce.
- You can grab the bottle here.
Wines From Moderna Vineyard’s
Post a banking career, Nestor laid the foundation of a vineyard in Krakowiany in 2015. This vineyard, spread across almost 3 hectares, is nestled on the loess soil of the Trzebnickie Hills.
Apart from chardonnay, johannitera, and riesling, he also planted pinot noir and pinot gris in 2019. Nestor loves both wine and architecture, specifically Wrocław modernism, is reflected on his wine labels.
I think it is worth saying that he applies Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s renowned phrase „less is more” to his vineyard and winery operations. The Cabernet cortis from Moderna Vineyard underwent a 12-month maturation in a French oak barrel and was bottled unfiltered.
In terms of flavor, expect a harmony of black currant, smoked pepper, and cherry, backed by a robust, yet fresh structure. Serve at a temperature of 16-17 degrees Celsius, and you will love it solo or paired with venison, particularly a deer comb. It also compliments a classic burger.
- You can buy their wines for example here.
Wines Kamil Barczentewicz Vineyard
Established in 2017 in Dobre near Kazimierz Dolny, Kamil Vineyard flourishes on a 12-hectare limestone hill. Among the noble vines they grow, six pinot noir clones stand out. While the vineyard is a family affair, Kamil, with wine experience from Austria, Chile, and France, leads the venture. He even studied at the École Nationale Supérieure Des Sciences Agronomiques in Bordeaux and the Institut Universitaire de la Vigne et du Vin Jules Guyot in Dijon.
His approach to the vinification process is quite unique, employing steel vats, concrete eggs, oak vats, and barrels of French, Hungarian, and Slavonian oak. In these, the debut vintage of Pinot Noir matured for 11 months.
Allow me to explain the flavor profile. The nose is greeted with wild strawberries, raspberries, and cherries. Take a sip, and you’ll experience a juicy fruitiness, competing with clear barrel notes.
I believe that over time, they will merge with the wine’s structure, which today is already quite delightful. If you need a serving tip, chilling it to 14-15 degrees Celsius pairs excellently with roast duck, grilled pork, risotto with mushroms, or black pudding.
- You can buy his wines here
Wines From Turnau Vineyard’s
The Turnau Vineyard is a major player in the Polish wine industry. With a modern processing facility, a bottling line for sparkling wines, and its own lab, their capabilities are nothing short of impressive.
I can tell you that it all began with the refurbishment of a 19th-century farm building and the initial plantings in 2010. Then, Frank Faust, a winemaker from the Rhineland, joined the scene as an oenologist.
Fast forward to today, over 34 hectares host nine strains, with solaris occupying one-third of this land, making it the largest solaris plot in Europe. This strain is easy to grow and versatile, as it can yield both dry and sweet wines.
Given the right microclimatic conditions, it falls prey to noble mold (Botrytis cinerea), which results in the concentration of sweetness and a rich aromatic palette. If you’re wondering about the flavors of sweet solaris, look for wildflowers, orange peel, red grapefruit, and mirabelle jam.
Thanks to its solid acidity and proper cooling (up to 6-7 degrees Celsius), I am convinced that this wine pairs perfectly with pâtés, offal dishes, blue-mold cheeses, and numerous desserts.
- You can visit their online store here