Poland had three wine writers in 2001. When they gathered around the first bottle of modern Polish wine, there was an embarrassed silence, followed by a quest for euphemism. “Muscadet crisp” was coined for the mouth-puckering malic acid, while the foxy aromas of PIWI hybrids, which included the scents of beetroot and fresh paint, were “evocative of Polish countryside”. Alerting readers to their near undrinkability without discouraging an embryonic wine industry was a heroic balancing act.
Sixteen years later, being tongue-in-cheek is rarely necessary. Polish wines have come a long way, and they are not only palatable, but good. Jancis Robinson MW visited Poland in 2016 and was appreciative, finding the Wieliczka Merlot “very respectable” and Miłosz Pinot Noir, “surprisingly Burgundian”.; “I enjoyed my time there, and in the 16 Polish wines I had a chance to taste I saw great sincerity in combatting the severity of the climate.”
The powerful independents of Poland