Wine Tasting in Citadela, Kosice (Kassa), Slovakia.

We visited Kosice in Slovakia on the invitation of a friend to take part in a wine tasting where five winemakers introduced Tokaj’s Slovak side to participants. We have already visited this region, thus know the majority of winemakers, but this also dished up some surprises for us.

Nowadays Kosice is Slovakia’s second largest city; it was once an important Hungarian-German-Slovak-Jewish trading city, known as one of the cradle’s of Hungarian culture, in short a city with a truly cosmopolitan past, which also accordingly produced its own genius in the person of Sándor Márai.

Kosice was therefore a city where it did not matter who was Jewish and who not, who spoke Slovakian and who Hungarian, that was obvious, as every gentleman read and wrote Latin, German and perhaps even ancient Greek too. So if you visit Kosice nowadays, we can only recommend that, as well as visiting the monuments (and there are plenty of these too – the cathedral, synagogues and the houses on the main square), you seek out this spirit, this atmosphere in the city. If you can’t find it however, then feel free to ask about it! The spirit of place is so strong in this city that it is still not taken in by any kind of ideology, just as it has not been until now.

The best example of this is Gabriel Ruiner and the Villa Cassa wine shop where we were seduced by a quick tasting and conversation even before we continued on to the Tokaj tasting. Gabi, a tall, tattooed young man does not only love his profession, but keeps a perfect distance from the Central Eastern European, unfortunately sometimes too characteristic, nationalistic outlook on life.  An open spirit, true citizen of the world, who also speaks English extremely well. If you want to find a place and a person which shows Kosice’s strength, the spirit of the place and the legacy of Márai, then you need to seek out Gabriel and Villa Cassa. The range of wine is also excellent!


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