Visiting St. Donát, a leading olaszrizling (welschriesling) producer

A quick photo report of visiting St. Donát last week at Lake Balaton. I liked a lot what I have seen and tasted.

Csopak is one of the most established wine regions in Hungary. While others lack identity, have a confusing mix of lots of different cultivated grape varieties made in many styles, Csopak focuses on one variety: olaszrizling. The style is also regulated by local rules, and the general theme is purity, little oak if any, even the maximum alcohol level is set into stones. St. Donát is one of the best producers here. [Click on the images to enlarge them.]

The amazing view from the winery’s terrace, where you can have some snacks, coffee and of course wines.


The marl soil as seen next to the winery, which is surrounded by their vineyards.


They just moved into the new cellar. An impressing one, clean and tidy, and easy to keep clean. It’s partially under the surface, cool even without using the cooling system.


The old cellar. Barrels on the right, these are going to disappear gradually: the whites are already made in stainless steel tanks only, and now winemaker/owner Tamás Kovács is experimenting with ceramic vessels (on the left) for reds and he finds them superior to oak.


New in the portfolio is a sparkling in half bottles. The 2019 is 100% furmint, but it will change, the plan is pure olaszrizling. Anyway, this was dry and quite good.


The entry level wines are called “hegybor”, i.e. mountain wine. Pure olaszrizling, I loved the Csopak 2020, drinks perfectly now. The Hematit is a bit more taut and geeky, also very good. Both good values at 3000 HUF (around 8 EUR).


Top of the range are the single vineyard olaszrizling bottlings. Spontaneously fermented in steel, they are a bit restrained and tiny-tiny bit funky. I would say not for beginners and these are not about intensity but details. Speaking about style, all the whites have a Burgundy-like touch which I loved.


The most powerful of the single vineyards and this was my favourite. Contender for the best (dry) Hungarian olaszrizling title.


The Heavy Rose is what you imagine when you hear the name: a fuller, softer, darker rose, I liked it a lot! Tihany is a red meant to be easy drinking, it’s a cabernet sauvignon, was not my favourite. Magma is a kékfrankos with noticeable oak and high acidity.


The bar, next to the terrace.