Budaörs, just outside Budapest (Hungary)
Hungary has a long wine history and like other major wine countries like France, Italy or Spain it used to have lots of local grape varieties that were alas whipped off in the recent history. The hard version of socialism in eastern Europe cut the ancestral ties with the wine culture, and in France we can credit the appellation system for the dwindling share of local varietis in the overall production. B. and I have been given the chance to taste wine with József Szentesi who, to make it short, is the Robert Plageoles of Hungary [the Domaine Plageoles can be credited for having reintroduced near-extinct varieties in what is France's oldest wine region : Gaillac]. Like Plageoles he worked alone against all odds, doing some research and replantings, mostly ignored and dismissed by the wine authorithies until his work and his resulting wines winned applause and recognition. We didn't see his vineyards this time (they're located between Budapest & lake Balaton), and you may know that it's awfully cold these days in Hungary, so tasting a few wines around a table with a wood stove in our back seemed a better option.
Bálint Losonci who tipped me about this tasting and got us invited, told me briefly about Jozsef's former lives before he became a grower and a winemaker : he became one of the first private entrepreneurs in the early 1980s' when the Hungarian communist regime softened the economic rules, he imported snooker tables from the West to sell them to the elite circles of the Soviet Union further east, then he set up a workshop here in Hungary to produce these snooker tables and equipment, making high-quality tables bound for the Soviet/Russian market. He and his associates (who remained the same along these different ventures and who are friends) were the first here to open a fully-equipped fitness center in the 1990s' that was a completely new thing in this part of Europe. Years later after his father passed away, he kind of had a vision of how beautiful it would be to sit under a tree with friends and drink a glass of wine which he'd have produced himself from A to Z. He reinvested his family cellar/house in Budaörs and bought some land in Sukoró along the Velence lake around 1997, later buying more viticulture-fit land in Nadap. He started this thing totally as a hobby, this was literally a garage wine as these were made in the car-repair workshop used by his brother.His first bottlings were in 2004 if I'm right, following several years of trials.
This tasting took place at Jozsef's cellar just outside Budapest. Like Paris, the Budapest region was a little more than a century ago a major wine region. Budaörs for example has hills with relatively-steep slopes that were perfectly fit for viticulture, and this allowed an easy delivery the Budapest's needs. Jozsef's house/cellar is the only remaining cellar [Pince in Hungarian] in activity today in this small town on the edge of Budapest. I managed to take a picture of the slopes behind the houses (pic on right), just imagine that in 1900 it was not built over and the slopes were covered with vineyards. And if you ask the people who now live there, most of them certainly ignore the vinous past of their community. In the 19th century these was 400 hectares of vineyards in Budaörs, and oddly in the 1960s' there were still 300 hectares fragmented in tiny parcels owned by family owners (it was allowed under the socialism to take care of small agricultural surfaces for the family needs). It's the building surge, the economic development and the suburban sprawl that really terminated the wine culture here.
In the early years he began to make a couple of barrels of wine but he also looked for historic sources about winemaking, for example buying rare old books from the 18th & 19th century depicting the varieties found in Hungary at that time. He was eager to know what was appreciated and poured among the wine-wise circles of Hungary. He discovered through his research that the wine region close to Budapest including Budaörs was at a certain time producing what was considered the best wines of the country, and he was the first to highlight the existence at that time of a renowned wine known under the generic name of Buda Óvörös which mean's Buda's ancient red, a blend of Kadarka and Csókaszőlő, Kadarka having low acidity & light tannins and Csókaszőlő just the opposite, giving a good structure to the whole. These things had been forgotten for a century and Jozsef was eager to revive the blend.
To find the extinct varieties he heard about through his readings, he had the luck that the Pécs Research Institute in the south of the country had a vine library where it kept five individual vines for each rare or forgotten variety. That was very limited in number but enough to provide wood for graftings and reproducing, and Jozsef used cuttings to overgraft other vines and bring these varieties back in production in one year, even if through small parcels. Today he has grown a range of about 20 of these forgotten varieties, which occupy a couple of hectares from his total vineyard surface of maybe 5 hectares, the rest being more well-known varieties like Kadarka & Kekfrankos as well as international varieties. Take note of these nearly-extinct varieties, you won't see them on a label in your wine shop around the corner : Csókaszőlő, Kékbajor, Vörösdinka, Feketefáju Bajor, Kék Bajor, Purcsin, Tihanyi Kék, Laska, Tarcali Kék, Tarcali Fehérek, Balafánt, Kolontár, Szerémi Zöld, Sárfehér, Fehér Góhér, Lisztes, Hamvas, Piros Bakator...
The pictures on the sides were shot by András Kovács of Borrajongo blog, they show the cellar in Budaors (which we didn't have to see ourselves) and a parcel near the village of Nadap.
József Szentesi began his research on these extinct varieties in secret (in the early 2000 if I'm right) because the wine authorities of that time didn't allow such effort at regrafting and resurrecting these varieties. It's just 2 or 3 years ago that the law changed and allowed to work with them; before that the wine authorities considered them like totally alien varieties, like they'd do for some foreign variety you'd like to plant in Hungary, meaning layers of extensive checks and bureaucratic hassles before you'd have your tiny plot of vines, plus a very high fee for each variety that'd go through the legalizing process. What really turned the tables around was when Jozsef Szentesi received in 2013 the yearly award of Winemaker of the Year from a group of renowned Hungarian wineries (listing both mainstream and artisan-minded domaines). Shortly after he made his speech to thank his peers for the award, there was a mood change in the wine authorities and things opened up (among the attendees there was the media, influential politicians and key players).
Then after these extinct varieties suddenly came in the open and were endorsed by the authorities, there were some mainstream, commercial wineries that began to get interested and replant some of these varieties, but this interest sometimes didn't last long : For example Balint tells me about one of these big & wealthy wineries that added a small parcel of Csókaszőlő on their surface but the variety is not easy to handle, some years it's prone to coulure and in general the yields are pretty low, and this winery just stopped the experiment even though it had largely the means to withstand the lower productivity of these priceless parcels... Business often comes first I guess, here also. But other wineries like for example Bencze (in the Balaton region) developped several of these extinct varieties (2 or 3 of them) and did a very promising job with the resulting wines.
The pictures on the sides were shot again by András Kovács of Borrajongo blog, they show Jozsef's grafting work which is so central in his resurrecting these ancient Hungarian varieties.
We weren't really aware of what we'd taste, just that there would be some of the wines made with nearly-extinct varieties, but it turned out to be a very large and rich tasting featuring, take a seat, 40 wines, an exceptional window on Jozsef's authentic, unfiltered wines and on these mysterious grapes. The other people around the table were all winemakers, and most were from the Matra wine region. I wrote a couple years ago a story on Tamás Szecskő and Gábor Karner who were also attending this tasting, and about Balint Losonci, all of them doing a great revival job in Matra. They've been inspiring younger people to also launch a wine farm and start something along this artisanal, non-interventionist commitment.
We tasted lots of whites first, often poured from 50cl bottles, the volume of each cuvée for these extinct varieties being of course still limited. Most of the wine from the rare varieties are vinified in demijohns like these ones on the left. Thank you to András Kovács who provided me with this picture on left, he is the blogger behind Borrajongó and he is also trying his hand at making wine. Andras gave me afterwards a well-orthographed list of these wines as well as additional info which helped me a lot as this tasting was foremost in Hungarian. He also provided me with several of his great photographs as he has quite a lot of material about Jozsef...
__ Rajnai Rizling Pezsgő 2013. traditional-method sparkling. Fermented in steel or plastic tank. If Jozsef works mostly from his estate-grown grapes, he also buys some grapes for his sparklings, here from the region of Mör near Velence lake. The terroir is said by Andras to be good for sparklings because of the natural acidity, the terroir is limestone with high lime content. This sparkling was disgorged early december 2014. Very discreet bubbles, tastes like still wine, which I like, there's a vivacity on the tongue that can be read as just perly. Beautiful. Made in his Budafor cellar, which is much bigger, he rents this cellar which had a capacity of 4 million bottles back in the 19th century before the phylloxera.
__ Chardonnay Pezsgő 2013, another sparkling white, traditional method (Champagne style), also made from purchased grapes in Mör. Samely fermented in neutral vats. Bottled early 2014. >Here the bubbles are more marked it seems to me. Wheat aromas. All these wines are fermented on wild yeast
__ Vörösdinka 2015, still white wine, made with a rare/extinct grape variety planted in Nadap. Vinified in glass demijohn. Jozsef considers this wine like an everyday table wine, at least that's what should like table wines that you drink casually every day. Of course to
this day his production of this variety is too low to make it an everyday wine, he made 300 bottles from his 600 vines,
picking just 0,6 kg per vine. The wine is not on the market yet. Also fermented on indigenous yeast. Speaking of this yeast issue he made a twin fermentation one day with lab yeast and wild yeast, and after tasting blind the two wines, all the people chose unhesitatingly the latter.
Unfiltered and unfined. Very generous and feminine mouth, very enjoyable and unique.
__ Balafánt 2015, still white made from the namesake forgotten variety in the village of Pázmánd. Small volume also, vinified in 50-liter demijohn. Jozsef to this day is the only grower to have a parcel of this variety.
Nice bitterness in the mouth, with thin, refined tannins which you could credit on a skin maceration, but it's a direct press here. Also very low yields, with 1,5 kg per vine. Total SO2 is under 50 on his wines, I'm told.
__ A Cuvée 2015, a white blend made with 60% Rhein Riesling and 40% Zengő. Grapes from Nadap. Basic cuvée of the domaine, fermentation in neutral vats and closure with screwcaps. Yield here is 1,5 kg per vine, the highest yield found on his surface. Zengő is a breed crossing grape that offers high phenolic content and good tannic properties.
The pictures on the sides were shot again by Kovács of Borrajongo blog, they show bunches of the ancient varieties Balafánt (left) and Vörösdinka (right). András has a large collection of pictures detailing all these varieties.
__ Zengő 2014, the grapes are grown in Nadap. Zengő is a Hungarian breed that was designed in 1951. Its qualities : early picking, resiliency and high yields, has a very thick skin with lots of tannins so it's better to do direct press.
Mouth : hard to tell on my first sip, I just ate a slice of Hungarian saucisson. B. who hasn't eaten yet says it's very vivid and at the same time a bit sweet. We're told that during the communist era and centralized agriculture there was a lot of Rhein Riesling & Zengő planted, which would be used for cheap sparkling, possibly [my guess] for a Hungarian version of the Советское шампанское (Soviet Champagne) that you'd find at that time all over the eastern bloc.
__ Kéknyelű 2015. a classic white variety in Hungary, mostly found in the Badacsony region. Not extinct but very little surface nonetheless : 50 hectare in all of Hungary. A high-acidity variety that can be austere when young, especiazlly when grown on the volcanic slopes of Badacsony.
Poured from a 50cl bottle like many of these rare wines. Vivid nose, beautiful energy feel. Nice substance in the mouth, B. says. The aromas are quite ripe. Balint says that this is one of the best wines made with this variety in Hungary. the soil here is granite & chalk. B. asks around : "How do you say : very good ?". I love it too, excellent wine.
__ Kéknyelű 2013, same wine but older vintage, also grown in Nadap. Welcome intensity in the mouth, very nice. A bit of residual sugar. Tiny surface parcel, planted with different sub-varieties. The reason Jozsef planted this variety is because after his research in old books from the 18th/19th century it appeared that Kéknyelű was an early part of the wine Histoery of this country. He also made this wine because nobody in Somló ever did it...
B. finds the nose to be rich with honey aromas and stony notes at the same time. In the mouth, some thickness with sweet edge and bitterness end.
__ Hamvas 2015, still white, made from an ancient, resurrected variety grown in Nadap. Hamvas is named from the fluffy appearance of the berries, means bloomy in Hungarian. This is a redish-skin variety, like Pinot Gris. B. notes the nose that is strikingly vivid and sharp. Jozsef is the only grower to have a parcel of Hamvas. the mouth is also very close to a Pinot Gris. There's a 19th-century Hungarian academic, István Molnár, who wrote extensively on agriculture and viticulture, in particular in his Szőlőművelési Káté (means "Viticulture Bible"). He divided the grape varieties of his time between 1st class and 2nd class, and he put this one in the 1st-class category, Jozsef just followed his opinion and decided to plant a parcel of it right away (without doing trials I guess). What is odd, Jozsef says, is that the varieties that are now famous and mainstream in Hungary were then listed as 2nd class by István Molnár, and Jozsef trusts him more than the contemporary mainstream values when considering what to plant.
Well, this is really a top-notch wine, no question, it's aerial, refined and with these lovely silky tannins. He'll make a killing with that and I hope he'll soon plant more of this.
__ Rajnai Rizling Öcsi 2015. White of course, grown in Nadap. Entry-level wine, no oak and the yields here are higher, from 12 kg to 1,5 kg per vine.Grapes are pressed whole-clustered. B. asks : wow, this is an entry cuvée ? She finds it full, dense and complex.
__ Rajnai Rizling Bátyus 2015, from Riesling grapes grown in Nadap, a selection with lower yields. Neutral vats here (he used Stockinger barrels in the earlier vintages). Bátyus means older brother in Hungarian. For this cuvée he uses the best press juice, the lower quality juice going to the Öcsi cuvée (the previous one). B. notes the refineness and bitterness, the elegance and good length.
__ Sauvignon Blanc 2015. Parcel located in Pázmánd, purchased recently, this is the 1st vintage he makes from it. Neutral vessels. Aniseed notes on the nose. Very atypical for a Sauvignon, no cat pee thing. He says most Sauvignon wines smell cat pee because it's picked to early, and under ripe aromas come out. Great mouth, here, vibrant feel, with this nice tickling of the tongue with energy. 0,5 kg of grapes per vine, the vines are 30 and the pruning is short.
I'm beginning to wonder if he makes any red, I hear that, yes, he makes some, we'll see its color soon. It's a good thing that there's the BKK, this efficient public transport system in wider Budapest because I drink a bit of wine each time and the legal limit in Hungary is zero...
__ Zöldveltelini 2015 (Zöldveltelini means Grüner Veltliner), still white wine. From Pázmánd, neutral vats. More minerality, B. says, that's right, very exciting palate feel, so well balanced, I like everything in this wine, lovely ! Jozsef says that it is very hard to make harmonious Grüner Veltliner in his region because it's too hot, and Balint says the same about this variety in his Matra region. But 2015 wasquite balanced in terms of weather, with cooler temperatures in the late summer.
__ Rajnai Rizling Öcsi 2012, parcel in Nadap, neutral vats. Petrol notes, that's an Öcsi, a lower cuvée in his range, but pretty nice though. Tastes pretty well indeed. Jozsef says that if he could turn the clock he'd not have sold the bottles early in the beginning of 2013 at 900 Forints apiece [makes 3 €, I guess it's the price without tax] because the wine improved a lot and is tasting so well now. I agree, taste beautiful for a basic cuvée.
B. likes the full mouth, the acidity with a little bit of residual sugar, and the superb structure, some exotic aromas with a bitter end.
__ Rajnai Rizling Bátyus 2011, grapes from Nadap, vinified in old large Stockinger foudres. The wine has a golden color. Were weren't told about the cuvée at first and B. feels it's an older vintage here. The wood of the old foudres is soft on the wine, gentle oak indeed. Very long in the mouth, B. says. There's a superb tongue feel, with a silk-paper touch. Refineness and length, B. notes.
__ Rajnai Rizling Bátyus 2012, parcel in Nadap, also in old Stockinger vessels (dating from 2007 actually, not that old). There's a super-nice tickling feel of energy on the tongue. Generous wne. Jozsef says he's satisfied now with the oak imprint, in the early years it was too pronounced.
__ Zengő Bátyus 2013, from Nadap. Another still white. Aged 1 year in Stockinger. Nose is ripe but there's again this tickling feel in the mouth. 18 grams residual sugar but high acidity, feels like 5 to 8... Zengő has an early ripening, like ready to be picked early august.
__ Zengő Bátyus 2012, from a parcel in Nadap. Aged in Stockinger. Seme sweet actually. Golden color. 11 grams residual sugar. You feel more the sweetness here, acidity was lower in 2012 I guess. Jozsef's guests joke about the rosé, "where's the rosé" they say, he doesn't make any, except years ago when he made a try with some Cinsault.
__ Feketefájú Bajor 2015. The reds at last ! I'm getting more excited. Look at this color, this speaks by itself. This is an ancient variety Jozsef grows in Nadap. Andras tipped me that the name refers to a variety from Bavaria with "black wood" (canes and stems are actually dark brown). At first we're not told what it was, our guess. Lively, exciting nose, mouth on just the same register, delicate, feminine aromas. Nice tannin feel, lovely wine. Jozsef says that when he began to plant these extinct varieties the other people wondered why he bothered to try making wine with these odd varieties. At this point we have a discussion about how these ancient varieties were unwelcome by the mainstream people and the authorities with a refusal to even discuss the issue.
__ Feketefájú Bajor 2013, same but older vintage. The color is indeed like a rosé or a Jura red, a Trousseau or a Poulsard. 2 week maceration in open vat, punchdown and 1 pigeage per day. Exciting tickling in the mouth. Fresh and neat, B. says.
__ Kék Bajor 2015, parcel in Nadap, the name of this ancient grape variety means "Blue Bavaria", vinified in demijohn (really small volume). Color a bit darker here maybe, but still light. Also very nice, balanced and vivid. B. says it's more onn the fruit side compared with the previous reds, would pair well with fried chicken.
__ Tihanyi Kék 2015, grapes from Nadap, vinified in demijohns. Name means "Blue from Tihany", Tihany being a town near the lake Balaton. Darker but somehow still very light in color. indeed excellent wine. Can be found only here, no one else vinifies this ancient variety. At this point Jozsef asks us to guess which of these wine we're tasting was refused by the authorities for quore-unquote being unfit for consumption ? This was this one ! And this was just a few months ago. Man, that's good... a top exciting wine among all the ones we got here. I see that the wine authorities are the same all over, it's time to send a signal to the mainstream wine elite here also...
__ Kadarka 2015, from grapes in Nadap, vinified in barrels. This Kadarka has a light red color, a little like a "real" Pinot Noir (not heated) would have. In the mouth, intense tannins, thin & fruity aromas. Too young, Jozsef says. Part is aged in French oak, the rest in plastic tank and he blended the whole. The clones for this vineyard come from the Szekszárd wine region in southern Hungary, a region known for its reds. He says the tannins here are gentle compared to the norm for this variety. Balint says that during the socialist era the variety drifted badly because bad clones were selected and these bad choices remain in place nowadays. The quality of tannins you have in this wine is unusual in this regard compared to the mainstream Kadarka wines.
__ Kadarka 2012, also from Nadap. Initially, Jozsef told us it was Pinot Noir 2012, that was a joke but I understand the meaning. The color here is also lively light. there's also this vibrant tickling feel in the mouth. You feel it's a hot, sunny year here, this feels already a bit high in alcohol for B. Yields at half a kilo per vine.
__ Pinot Noir 2013, from Nadap, élevage in in barrel. B. says it's fresher (different vintage also), I find it more peppery too, and a bit of oak/vanilla can be felt. Zero free SO2 here almost, Jozsef says. András Kovács who knows this wine says that a year ago this wine was overtly oaky and now it's well integrated and tastes very well. It spent 2 years in Hungarian oak and this may have been too much. The wine is sold out now.
__ Pinot Noir 2012. Elevage in French oak. Now this picture speaks by itself... The nose is exciting and in line with this light, turbid color. For me it's a bit high in alcohol but remember that this is the 26th wine we're tasting and I swallow a bit each time. Jozsef says it's a bit too hot for Pinot Noir.
__ Kékfrankos 2013, from a Nadap parcel, élevage in barrel. Here we're getting darker wines... Nice wine. SO2 free, we're told by Jozsef. Massal selection from 9 different clones of Kekfrankos that happened to be scattered inside a parcel of Kadarka. Very aromatic. Balint who tastesv qui many Austrian Kekfrankos says this is really one of the best Blaufrankisch he ever tasted. Man, that's very nice indeed, with an intense throat feel, and these thin tannins... Jozsef says that few among the Hungarian official tasters know about the tasting difference found in a wine that has been vinified on its wild yeast, this is a difficulty to have change their tasting formatting. He says also that his neighbors (the other growers I guess) ask why he prunes so short, and his answer is that he has no room for more wine in his cellar... Telling about his experience when he travelled to Burgundy he says over there he was stunned to hear from the people of La Romanée Conti that they're learning again from the start, and he says what a contrast when back home in the conventional wineries the people there tell him that they know everything, nothing to learn... Lots of complexity B. notes with also a nose that resembles the southern Syrah. Chocolate & spicy notes.
__ Kékfrankos 2012, from a parcel in Nadap, in a barrel. I realize that I probably never tasted so many micro-cuvées, even in the Jura which has also its lot of forgotten varieties (Well, Jean-François Ganevat could compete, maybe...). This was also this hot year in Hungary, so the alcohol is high here too. This Blaufrankisch has particularly small berries. B. notes the complexity and a well-integrated oak.
__ Hajnos Kék 2013. Parcel grown in Nadap, another ancient variety, élevage in demijohn. Unfiltered red like all his wines. Andras told me that the name means "Hajnos Blue", Hajnos coming possibly from the German word "Heunisch". White (normal) Heunisch is guoais blanc, it ised to be grown in Hungary, but not any more. See the pic on the right which Andras showed us on his phone. I hear on the table that Austrians who tasted this wine found it resembled to Cabernet Franc.
In the mouth the wines feels very ripe, but still and again, nice tension here.
__ Laska 2015, grown in Nadap, vinified in demijohn (and élevage, like usual for these small volumes). This variety is difficult to grow and graft. Gives extremely-low yields.
Now, that's utterly beautiful, very classy with a nice structure, doesn't need oak obviously. If you visit Jozsef you have to taste this wine ! Again you'll not see any wine from this variety elsewhere. It was said in the past to be a good variety to make sweet wines, as well as vin de paille because the acidity is so high, only Barbera has a higher acidity.
__ Csókaszőlő 2014, grown in Nadap, élevage in 225-liter barrel. This is the first ancient variety grown and vinified by Jozsef, the first vintage was in 2004 and it was a big success among wine writers and producers. Csóka is a jackdaw in Hungarian, a black bird. Many wineries wanted to grow it after his trials were known but the variety is fragile and prone to disease (possibly because of a lack of magnesium) and many domaines stopped growing it. Jozsef himself made 11 vintages with it.
Again, here is a terrific wine, with such an acidity and a peculiar energy !! Not to miss if you have the opportunity.
__ C 2015, from Nadap. Barrel. Same ancient variety, other vintage. More powerful with still this weird acidity and freshness, but I still prefer the 2014, which oddly is supposed the worst vintage for this wine. Jozsef says that he read a story about the variety in 2001 and decided after to revive it and plant a parcel.
2nd mouth minutes later, beautiful in spite of my precautions and comparison with the 2014. We're told that this variety is the oldest documented variety in Hungary, and Jozsef is the only grower who cares about it. Actually, Kadarka which people associate with Hungary was brought i the country at the time of the Turkish invasion, and Csókaszőlő has much deeper roots in the region.
B. feels maturity on the nose with velvet & fruit. The mouth is balanced, rich with nice tannins. Good length evoquing southern terroirs with gentleness...
Here is a long article about the Csókaszőlő variety (in the Hungarian Food & Wine).
__ Merlot 2013, from Pázmánd & Nadap, barrel. I'm beginning to feel the tol of so many wines. There are discussions around in Hungarian and I'm missing what is said alas. At one point Balint translates us that Jozsef at one point was taking part to a tasting event with other producers in Szekszárd and he could here several of them dicuss between themselves, saying for example this is BS all what is said nowadays about low yields, that you have to prune short and so on, I'm having 2 kg per vine [relatively high yields] and it perfect with the wine, and several minutes later there was a blind tasting and the wine that was voted largely ahead (including by those behind the rant) happened to be a wine made from vines with very low yields...
__ Merlot 2012. Nice, powerful Merlot. Here B. says that it's very interesting because while in the south of France Merlot tends to be mellow and weak, here it's not the case at all. Jozsef says that it was the first time he had the pH checked, and if he hadn't, he'd certainly have picked too late. He picked a bit too early, but it was just fine, just a bit acerbic in the early years.
__ Velence Cuvée 2014. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc & a bit of Merlot. From the region of Lake Velence. Nice evolution in the taste. 2014 is known as a terrible year for the ancient varieties, there was too much rain and many of these varieties are fragile, but it turned out to be a great vintage for this blend. B. nods, very classy wine...
__ Velence Cuvée 2013, élevage in barrel. 35 % Cabernet Franc, 35 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 % Merlot and 2 % of Petit Verdot, to make it simple. Nice tension here, with what seems to me to be a high acidity. B. doesn't agree.
__ Velence Cuvée 2012, the blend, again. High acidity, almost acerbic.
__ Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2012. From vines in Pázmánd. Aged in two barrels, and he chose the best barrel for the bottling. A bit cold, Jozsef says. He adds that most of the Cabernet Sauvignon made in Hungary is overextracted, got too much pumping over. For his own Cabernet he makes only one punchdown, no more, then a gentle pressing, and of course his Cabernet vines deliverlow yields. The problem, he says, is that in the 1990s' Cabernet Sauvignon became the standard in Hungary with also too much extraction and too much oak. There's a great exception, that's a terrific Hungarian Cabernet Sauvignon that we tasted at Drop Shop, the wine bar in Budapest, I'll write about this wine later.
__ Fekete Muskotály (Black Muscat) 2015. From vines in Nadap, vinified in demijohn. Red with a very light color. Small volume, for experiment. Also a rare variety tha was in use 100 years ago, you'll not find this wine elswhere, only Jozsef vinifies this...
Candy nose. That's a great wine. B. says it tastes a bit like a Piège à Filles, the pink sparkling of les Capriades (a compliment as she loves this cuvée)....He made 100 liters in all, not on the market yet, but Jozsef increased the planted surface and in 3 years he'll make 1000 bottles of this cuvée. Great move.
__ White Vôrôsdinka 2015, a white to finish. This variety has big bunches that weigh 2 kilograms. Discreet nose. Was only available at the research institute in Pecs and apart from Jozsef no one grows this variety. He says it's ideal for easy-drinking white wine in summer.
Article about Jozsef Szentesi (in Hungarian).
There was another guest who took part to this tasting, this is Attila Földvári who is also the blogger behind Művel Alkoholista and he writes now for Gault & Millau Hungary, I think he may be the writer of this article.