Four cabernet franc from Hungary


From the Bordeaux varieties it’s cabernet franc which is the most accepted and famous in Hungary. And not just because Villány declared it as its main variety, although no other region focuses on it to this extent. I tried four recently, and I was really happy with only one of them, the Kiss Gábor; the others are not entirely convincing and some are also overpriced.

The Chateau Teleki Cabernet Franc has a long history, it has been made since 1997 if not even earlier. The 2019 vintage has the same style, this is old school, oaky and powerful wine, not trying to be elegant. The nose is nice and lifted, shows bay leaves, rosemary and dried cherries, and the oak is actually integrated. It’s a full-bodied and ripe wine, quite good, it’s only the finish which is less convincing: hot and and a tad bitter, leaving a rustic impression. 86 points. Drink now-2027, retails for around 3000 HUF.

The Kiss Gábor 2022 is a completely different story. It’s also from Villány, but this is a new wave wine: I can’t remember ever tasting such a vibrant cabernet franc from the region. It has the freshness of a Beaujolais Cru, besides the ripe regional character and the varietal leafy notes. So juicy and lively, with an exciting texture featuring great crunchy tannins – I assume it was fermented with some whole bunches. My only complain is its sweetness, it feels off-dry – that stops me to rate it over 90 points. Still, an exciting wine, worth trying it. 88 points. OK value. 4750 HUF.

The Gobri SKR 2019 from Mátra is a surprising one. It resembles to an Australian red with its molasses like oak notes (US oak I guess). A cool climate nose with red current and sour cherry notes, and some green leafiness. The good part is the moderated alcohol (13,5%), it’s just medium-bodied an unforced. It’s a bit in your face, though, the oak is not yet integrated. Hold for a few years. 85 points. 4500 HUF.

Another one from the Mátra is the N.A.G. 2021. Yet another style, it’s lighter in color, extraction and oak, yet quite ripe. Red fruits and leafy notes on the nose,  it’s a bit restrained. Very gentle extraction, lighter tannins, but a creamy texture and fullness with some heat on the finish (14%). There is a late harvest character to it. 85 points. 5400 HUF.