Keep an eye on Hungary’s Mátra wine region, some fascinating developments are taking place in this sleepy part of the country.
If you follow this wine blog, you probably know how passionate I am about the old Hungarian grape varieties brought back to life by local wine legend József Szentesi. Especially about csókaszőlő and tihanyi kék (see posts here), but as I visit him each time to taste the new vintages, other varieties amaze me as well (new on my favourites list are laska, kékszilváni, purcsin). It’s just surprising that only a very few winemakers followed him and started to plant these grapes in the country.
Here comes the good part: there is one region where plantings are growing, and it’s Mátra, the lesser known neighbour of Eger. There are at least four producers now who planted the ancient grapes, although not yet on a big surface: Itt és Most Pince, Losonci Pince, Centurio Szőlőbirtok and a newcomer to the game, whom I wanted to write about in this post, the little winery of András Kovács and Kinga Tóth (they don’t even have a name for their brand; a disclaimer here: I’m also making wine in the same town). I visited them a few days ago and tasted samples of csókaszőlő and laska, both from their first harvest last year, and both blew me away. Not complex wines, but so pure and full of personality – they are nothing like any other varieties grown in this country. Perhaps more akin to reds from Southern Rhone, than to Hungarian wines, at least in aroma profile, if not in structure (no high alcohol here). I love them, cannot wait to get hold of a few bottles!
And some great news to share: one of the world’s best wine blogs, Wineterroirs has just covered them, you can read it here: András Kovács (Mátra).