Burcak is a sweet carbonated young Czech wine that’s easy to over-consume.
By Nancy Lopez-McHugh
Burcak (In Czech written as Bur?ák and pronuounced boorchaak) is a young Czech partially fermented wine. It is also know as Federweisser in German, in France as bourru or vernache, in other places it is know as must. Burcak is what happens when freshly pressed grape juice ferments, it becomes must.
In Czech Republic the Czech wine laws stipulate that the grapes used must come from Czech Republic. The grapes come from Moravia, the wine making region of Czech Republic. The law only permits wineries to sell Burcak for a short period of time, from August 1st to the end of November. There are red and white Burcak varieties but the latter being more common of the two.
Burcak is a carbonated alcoholic drink that continues to ferment. Due to the carbonation and continued fermentation the wine must be transported and stored unsealed and upright allowing gasses to escape. The consequences of failing to due so result in exploding Burcak containers. This young wine can contain anywhere from 1 to 7% alcohol content. Of course the longer the wine sits the higher the alcohol content, though it is advised to drink it within 2 days of purchase. The longer the wine sits it becomes bitter and start loosing its carbonation.
Burcak besides being carbonated is sweet and instead of wine it feels as though you are drinking a non-alcoholic cider or juice spritzer. That is where the dangerous part comes in, people can easily forget and drink a bit too much. The legend here is that Burcak will continue to ferment in your stomach, but this is scientifically impossible. As a regular wine drinker it took 3 glasses before I could feel any “affect” from the Burcak, just saying.
The taste I can describe as O-M-G this is really good! Besides that I can say that to me it tastes like a pear cider, delicious. The taste is sweet, subtle and it slowly fades to the back of your palate. It is cloudy in appearance and the color looks like the color you would get if you made banana juice. The consistency is thin as any young wine would be. Burcak smells sweet with slight sour undertones from the light alcohol content. I am not an expert so this are my own personal observations.
So not only does this wine taste deliciously sweet, apparently there are some health benefits in every glass. (Any excuse is a good one to drink some Burcak) It contains lactic acids, Vitamins B1, B2 as well as the vitamins and minerals contained by the grapes. The yeast by-products and lactic acids help purify the body. Wow, why isn’t this stuff on tap year round?
Right now is the best time to get your glass or liter(s) of Burcak. We were lucky to have been in a shopping center with a wine bar advertising Burcak. With my horrible Czech pronunciation I asked for 2 glasses. Unfortunately not both for me but to share with my husband. As we stood there drinking our glasses of Burcak there was a constant stream of locals coming in for a glass or liter. Short on time we couldn’t wait in the long queue for a liter. On the taxi drive home much to the amusement of the taxi driver, as I spotted a sign outside one of our local wine bars I let out a loud and excited Burcak!! Laughing he said something along the lines of yes it’s a good drink and you must go buy some. I did, 2 liters and they are almost gone. I may or may not solely be responsible for the disappearance of it. Hiccup! Well, the remaining Burcak is sitting all lonely on my table waiting to be drunk or is it waiting for me to get drunk…
To you I say Na Zdraví! (cheers) and nashledanou!(goodbye). Duty calls.
Drink responsibly and have a large snack or hearty meal to minimize the effects of this sneaky alcohol.
Nancy Lopez-McHugh is a food blogger, photographer and published author. Most recently she has published "Yummy Pics: A Food Blogger's Guide To Better Photos".