At the end of January I visited Szekszárd on the Southern part of the country. Together with Villány, it is the region making the ripest, more full-bodied reds of the country, based on mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc – but in a different style than Bordeaux. There is generally a slight move away from overoaked, big reds in recent years, but what I tasted at the region’s most famous producer Heimann is something groundbraking.
Kadarka rarely gets cheaper than the Schieber Trilógia 2018 from Szekszárd. That means 5-6 Euros on shelves. I wonder if it makes enough profit for them, considering that Kadarka is tricky to grow – the tiniest bit of rain around harvest time results in serious rot and loss of crop. One of its best producers, Heimann told me once that they do rigorous grape sorting to ensure quality, discarding half the crop on average.
Bolyki is one of the most well known producers in Eger, and this is their special edition Kékfrankos, available only at cellar door. I would not be surprised if it would sell off quickly, just because of that pretty label. Continue reading →
Csókaszőlő or simply Csóka is an almost extinct old Hungarian variety, which was probably the dominant red grape here 500 years ago or so. For the XXth century, not much of it remained, but thanks to József Szentesi’s mission of saving the old varieties, it is now coming back slowly.
I’m a long time proponent of Syrah in Hungary. I believe it’s more suitable for our climate than other French varieties. Syrah could produce some of the country’s best red wines and it could also make captivating everyday wines -Cabernet and Merlot fail on that, among others.
After the unusual Pinot noir (reviewed here), an even more surprising Cabernet Franc from young talent Rácz Miklós Tamás. A Cabfranc without oak, from the home of over-oaked red wines? I’m sure fellow winemakers think Miklós is crazy, but in my opinion this wine is as close to terroir expression and elegance as you can get, from this variety in this region.
Based on that label you would never guess this is a serious wine. It is. It’s basically non-existent on the market, as it’s a small producer and they sell everything at cellar door – there is only one wine place where you can do that in Hungary, near lake Balaton, where tourist are plenty. It’s a shame, as this little producers makes some of Hungarys most unique and long living wines.