Chateau Blanc – Á mon pere, 2004
I bought this wine at Roussillon few years ago in Lubéron, at the Ventoux mountains which is a quite impressive landscape in Provence and the owner of the winery was an extremely friendly nice guy I forgot thename of (the one who dedicated the wine to its father). If you’re visiting CdP, perhaps you should take these few kilometers and visit one of the best kept secrets of Provence.
The wine has a deep ruby color with purplish reflections. Beautiful, intense and it has a lively move in the glass. The wine has a not very intense, but elegant fruity bouquet mingled with dried spices and a good deal of minerality. I love its complexity and its deepness. There is a woody element in it too in the back. As it opens more, sour cherry stewed in cognac on the nose.
On the palate it’s medium full with blueberry and nectarine with berry fruit sour acidity which is enough, although too short. It has a sour cherry finish with long burning alcohol. The wine is very dry with soft tannins. I like very much the vinious character which is always present.
The next day with a smoky nose and a little bit bitterness on the palate the wine could almost keep its good shape.
I would put this wine into the same league with Ráspi’s Mágus Cuvée from 2006 in terms of price, value and character.
Price: EUR 10,5 (at the producer)
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I wrote recently about Eszterbauer winery from Szekszárd so let’s just jump to the review. This time, I opened the top cuvée of the winery Mesterünk Cuvée from 2006.
It has a deep ruby color with purplish reflextions and a slow, lazy move in the glass. So far so good.
The nose is heavy, cranberry and cherry jam with the concentration of a syrup. This wine has a new-world-y character from the beginning to the end. The intense fruity aromas get more moderate on the palate with very smooth tannins and very low acidity. Big concentration but very one dimensional.
It doesn’t improve but doesn’t get worse either 2 days later, except that I can’ sense acidity at all by then. But it’s still enjoyable, but very little.
Price: 2 400
Following another pointless debate about József “Ráspi” Horváth as a person and his wines on a well-known Hungarian blog, I’ve decided to open a bottle of his wines to validate my notes that I took a few weeks ago when I visited his restaurant in Fertőrákos.
Mágus Cuvée is an above entry-level wine (price-wise) but not cheap at all. My perception is that Ráspi wine prices tend to correlate with the number of bottles left and to a much lesser extent with their quality. So this wine could be any good or bad, although the fact that many of his wines from 2006 have long sold out made me suspicious. Here I must criticize his practice of sometimes selling the whole lot to a single person or a small group of people and putting on general sale some less-fancied wine by these groups at a relatively high price. Still, he was complaining about the mortgages he took, claiming to be very poor for putting only 30 000 bottles on sale a year from 21 hectares which indicates a very high limitation indeed.
I put this wine in par with a Chianti Classico which has the same price and I had it just the day before.
Ráspi – Mágus Cuvée, 2006
The wine feels much older on the palate with silky tannins and round acidity. You have to give it 2 hours and it will open more, with the nose full of smoke and a chalky character mingled with Asian spices and on the palate ripe cherry in a rather big body. It has a long, mineral finish with a slightly burning alcohol – but due to my high tolerance of it I’m not disturbed by it. And it still opens more, becoming more intense in all aspects. The spices, especially white pepper are surprisingly fresh. 2-3 hours after opening the bouquet is still powerful with fat, dark soil in the middle. It drinks well in large gulps with a very pleasant, mouth-filling minerality.
Score: 6 points
Price: HUF 2 860/ EUR 11
Lamole Di Lamole, Chianti Classico Riserva, 2004
I bought my frist bottle of Lamole di Lamole near Gaile in Chianti, in the picturesque hills at Lamole di Lamole. I was impressed by the fruits coming from the bottle then and now that the wine is available at a local merchants on sale, I decided to try to put the Ráspi cuvée against this Chianti Classico Riserva, for they now have practically the same price.
Cherry-ruby color with purplish, rosé rim. Intense fresh sour-cherry aromas at decanting. Later in the glass Asian spice-driven bouquet with turmeric, curry and chili oil. Later the spices mingle with fine tobacco.
On the palate crispy acidity and young, fresh, still nice tannins are providing the backbone for the medium body with a leather undertone.
The day after the tannins become smoother, the spices even more complex and the palate adding pure fine 95% chocolate and minerality.
Score: 5+/6- points
I’ve recently testified a revolt by a regular drinker (and apparently self-appointed free-lance vine adviser) for Bukolyi never accepting anyone’s opinion on how to make even better wines and what a rubbish method was to classify his wines according to the heights where the vines are located. Indeed, this approach might sound weird to many (the higher the vines come from, the better the quality is supposed to be, or at least this is what price tags suggest) and I cannot judge the character of Bukolyi myself. The simple fact is that his wines never disappointed me and for a rare fortunate coincidence I never had to care about the price tag so far. I hope this wouldn’t incline my judgment today. Anyway, I put this Syrah beside a cuvée from Szekszárd which I sampled later the same day.
Gróf Buttler – Egri Syrah, 2005, Nagy-Eged, 400-500
Beautiful, lively, dark cherry color with purplish reflections. Absolutely stunning and with a beautiful, elegant fresh move.
The nose is spicy, dominantly pepper with a woody underpinning. Lot of pepper and minerality.
On the palate at start a velvety, almost oily texture is supporting the blackberry fruit aromas – I must emphasize the fact that no jam, no overly ripe fruit, but perfectly ripe, fresh blackberry fruit we have here. Later cherry, a bit of chocolate and a phosphorus undertone. The tannins are there in a powder-like , velvety form. With time and for a period, an unlit candle-like element takes over the palate. These strange, but pleasant elements are supported by nice, round acidity. Good structure. The mineral character is there from the nose to the long finish on the palate, along with a cherry seed bitterness.
Score: 6-7 points (I gave it a 6 then, now I’m inclining towards a 7-)
Takler – Cuvée Maffiózó, 2000
The color is dark, brownish ruby as far as I can tell (yeah, the local conditions weren’t perfect for that). Very intense berry fruit aromas mingled with Asian spices.
On the palate this intensity couldn’t be sustained. Even worse than that, there’s no acidity to support the big, although flat body. This is a very dry wine. Only the palate dried tobacco and a bitter finish.
Score: 5+, 6- (I might be a little bit austere here though)
There’s no concept behind picking the two following wines for a quick comparison. That wasn’t even the purpose actually, I just thought that it would be interesting to put them here side by side.
Gróf Buttler – Pinot Blanc (Szelekció), Szarkás Dűlő, 2003
Another wine from Gróf Buttler’s first bottled vintage.
Very lively, dark golden color and a slow moving indicate great body. I am told that the wine requires some decanting before sniffing but I like the savoury character of the buquet so much that I start tasting it straight away.
The palate carries notes of marzipan and almond mingled with woody vanilla. It feels a bit old but not overly and I love the huge body and the extracts. A little bit imbalanced due to the lack of acidity and a lot of residual sugar but it’s just pleasant as it is. Later intense, very appealing (and even somewhat fresh) sun-dried apricot aroma on the palate.
An overall very good wine but could have more acidity left after 5 years. New-world fans will adore this wine.
Score: 6, 6+ points (now I feel it more like a 6+/7-, to be honest)
Tamás Pince – Oriolus Cuvée, 2004
Dark brassy color with golden reflexions.
The nose is succulent, at first very ripe, then sun-dried fruits. On the palate honey and burnt sugar/caramel notes. The wine is not as lively as the Buttler but very interesting and special. It has a huge body but unfortunately the palate doesn’t deliver the same intensity and isn’t so amazing as the nose. After a while the nose becomes even more exciting with floral, rosemary notes combined with egg liquor and green paprika accents.
Score: 5+ (now I would give it a 6, to be honest)
Price: HUF 4 500
I’ve been hesitating lately whether or not to publish my tasting notes from my recent visit at Eszterbauer winery because of the following reason. The wines and the owner of the winery himself were quite OK so I opened a bottle of Paternus cuvée and it was sour and obviously faulty. My second tentative was this Kadarka at home, carefully cooled and not decanted.
As the name (and label) of this particular wine indicates the Eszterbauer family has a long tradition in wine making having been involved in local affairs since for ever. The proofs are on the tasting room’s walls and on the wine labels as well. János Eszterbauer is a successful entrepreneur and self-made man, as he describes himself. The winemaking is actuall done by Pálinkás Laci.
The nose carried the same strawberry jam and clove elements as when I tasted it few weeks ago with a cranberry undertone. Unfortunately the wine completely loses this character after only 90 minutes. Quite not surprisingly the small body and lack of acidity (tannins not even mentioned) wouldn’t help. No concentration either.
Price: HUF 1 600
To tell the truth I enjoyed more the wines at the tasting on-site and Eszterbauer’s personality certainly helped. I didn’t regret the visit and only a little bit the money spent of wines that I brought home and re-tested. So below you’ll find my remaining notes from my visit at Eszterbauer.