Volcanic Wine Fest IV, Gyöngyöspata, Mátra region, Hungary

I spent a few hours at Gyöngyöspata yesterday, which is a tiny town 80 kilometers from Budapest to the North-East. This is the heart of the Mátra wine region, home to many of the new wave, young winemakers who organized the first Volcanic Wine Festival three years ago, to attract wine tourists to this otherwise sleepy village, and to promote the high potential, but still hardly recognized (as a serious player) Mátra region.

Here are just a few wines I tried and found interesting or good, though having a limited time, I obviously missed many producers, and I focused on red wines this time.

To my knowledge there is only one planting of the Beaujolais grape Gamay in Hungary, and it belongs to Nagygombos Winery. They make a rosé from it, aiming for more weight than usual in rosé, so it’s partly aged in barrels. It’s still not heavy or oaky, but has personality for sure.

Local winemakers invited some guest producers from other regions (which also have volcanic solis), so here is a winery called Dénes Hegybirtok from Somló, a wine region close to the Austrian border. That part of the country is white wine territory, but here is a red, based on Kékfrankos (Blaufrankisch). It’s a playful, bright cool climate wine having some resemblance to some Austrian wines. Quite delicate and easy to drink, I liked it a lot.

This bottle is a white wine from Bata-Loyal, a newish Mátra producer, and while I found the label fancy, what impressed me was their cask sample of their 2018 Kékfrankos. It’s soon to be bottled and I can’t wait to taste it again – it was full of crunchy berry fruits, so bright and fruity, easy to drink but not simple.

Like in a brochure about the Hungarian countryside.

The view from the hillside, where you find the old cellars, which gave home to the festival.

Kékhegy is one the best producers in the Mátra. I recently reviewed their lovely siller wine here, and this time the Cabernet Franc called Andesit impressed me.

Finally, my top pick from the event. Páger is a new producer, and their not yet released Kékfrankos 2018 blew me away. It has real depth and power but it neither tastes oaky or heavy. They are now definitely on my watch list.