I can’t say much about the winery, Franz Weninger’s wines are everywhere and I still didn’t drink almost any of them.
This Kéfrankos has a very pale hue in the glass. It is very restrained on the nose with hints of chocolate mingled with sour cherry, and it’s a little bit woody-tannic. Very empty on the palate, suspiciously textured. It drinks well, tastes nothing.
Price: HUF 2 000
Footnote: in my clearing the summer stock I ran into a Figula Rosé 2008 which even at room temperature was still enjoyable, with a fresh character and full of raspberry. A pleasant surprise at the start of the heating season.
Years and years ago, I used to like and drink regularly Vesztergombi wines but somehow I stopped buying the wines of this family winery from Szekszárd. Since then they increased their area to 20ha and half of it was planted with vines which are today not older than 3-4 years old. This selection from Kerékhegy spent more than 18 months in small oak barrels.
Medium dark ruby with purplish reflections. Very dense nose, charming, full of very ripe berry fruit aromas. Very warm, very fruity bouquet with hints of anise! The palate is different, rather spicy, with all kinds of spices but mostly white papper. A bit disappointing on the palate after the stunning nose. The tannins are first not well integrated and later still very hard, and the wine could be a bit less acidic too. 2 hours later the style will remain firm but the tannins smoothen a bit and spicyness increases further.
Score: 6, 6+
Behind this stupid name is a blend of Sárgamuskotály, Hárslevelű and Furmint, late harvested in 2007. Tokaj late harvest wines are not only often very good and smart alternative to 3 or 4 Puttonyos Aszú wines, but they reach the consumers quicker than the Aszó wines and I’ve been looking forward to the sweet wines of 2007. Another reason to open this bottle was that I often drink late harvest (mostly Tokaj) wines when preparing sushi at home. Don’t ask me why, it happend once a few years ago and I find them a very good aperitif before sushi and they go surprisingly well with the rice vinegar and the raw fish. I didn’t have my usual suspect in stock this time so I went for this recent purchase from Degenfeld.
Medium-deep yellow hue between lemon and golden, nothing special there. The nose is relatively intense and full of tea with a floral accent. Hárslevelű certainly left its footprint there. It has a mouthfilling palate of ripe papaya, very ripe apricot and peach, quite sweet, supported by well integrated acidity. Good length with returning tea dominance and quite a lot of nutmeat. Later tangerine and tobacco too. Stirring it more will release hints of lemon juice and blood-orange aromas.
Fortissimo 2008 is already on sale but this 2007 will still age well, but I suggest you to enjoy it now.
Score: 6, 6-
Price: HUF 2 600
According to Pannonhami Apátsági Pincészet’s website the winery broke a 5 years old tradition by replacing Tramini with Sauvignon Blanc in this blend, arguably due to Tramin’s dramatic dicrease in wine quantity. It must be my fault then that a spicy, overly disturbing element (a quite Tramini-ish one) dominates this wine’s palate, as opposed to what is said on the official website, emphasizing a Rajnai Rizling and Olaszrizling character. The wine’s overly acidic too. Very boring wine, not exactly faulty but with nothing to be liked about it. Except the nice packaging.
The wine probably goes relatively well with a heavily spiced chicken from the grill (rosemary, for instance).
Price: HUF 1000
The unofficial release date of the wines of the latest vintage is Szt. Márton’s day (sorry but I get too bord thinking about googling out who the hell is Szt. Márton and what this day means), to me it used to mean trying not to get close to any wine shop for a few days. The thing is that these young wines have such a boring, aggresive markerting and I tend to avoid (very successfully I must say) ”must do-s” (like having the best time of my life at new year) and mass wine drinking anyway, so I’m the nightmare of Hungarian winemakers this time of the year. Comparing these wines to Beaujolais (nouveau) is another big mistake. Moreover, by now you should have a decent stock of some red wines from 2006 so why would you rush to buy something that was a blurred, hardly drinkable non-alcoholic fluid couple of weeks ago? There’s no reason, unless you’re obsessed with pointing out exceptions. I found one which turned out not to be the rule, but the exception, quite unwillingly, circulating in one wine store searching for a wine at discounted price which somehow may have so far escaped my radar. Idei 2009 by Heimann is not a sale item but it is priced like one. So I said why not, I already fell for Szt. Márton’s mandatory goose meal (the leg!) the same day (I feel like I’m becoming a cliché).
The label says it’s a blend or Portugieser and Zweigelt. But the nose tells it otherwise, which is confirmed by the palate (what was already suggested by the color): this is a Zweigelt-based cuvéee whatever anyone says. Nice appearance, dark red/claret hue and a fresh, very jammy nose full of red currant aroma. Very fresh and young on the palate (who would have guessed…) with surprisingly many substance. Very tasty syrup of red currant and cranberry mostly. Vibrant, a bit harsh but not too much acidity. I’m not suggesting it will age well but it was still standing firm the next day. A very pleasant surprise overall and it does go well with a fat goose leg. This must be beginners’ luck, so I won’t push it.
Score: 4 points
Price: HUF 1 530
Villa Tolnay are better known for their white wines, often laballed “terroir” and “artisan” wines by the snobbish community (they’re in my opinion simply one of the most exciting wineries in the Balaton region along with wineries like best-buy producer Scheller and the more unpredictable Szászi Endre). I was recommended this particular (arguably a limited edition) Kékfrankos by someone close to an online wine portal, describing it as a great, fruity red wine under HUF 2 000 selected by the said portal who (I was being told) had been looking for a wine to sell as their own brand for a long time for. The time has come.
However, a Kékfrankos from 2007 from the northern-Balaton region doesn’t sound too promising does it? Suspicious? Let’s see.
Classic ruby color with a not so classic black core. The nose is light but full of toast, burnt bread actually, mingled with red steak and a touch of cherry. The palate has a similar character with toast and meat supported by young, thin but hard and still harsh tannins and medium acidity. The tannins smoothen after 2 hours a little, the acids retreat a bit but a bitter-sour element remains. The overall impression is somewhat enhanced by a chocolate note on the nose and hints of cherry on the palate.
All in all this wine is unworthy of Villa Tolnay who are able to produce not inexpensive, but good white wines year after year. And the online publishment shouldn’t be so proud of their long awaited selection either. It’s quite disappointing actually, after so much hype.
Price: HUF 2000
I just read an article about Vincze Béla quitting Pannon Bormíves Céh (an association best known for Pannon Bormustra, a yearly contest of wines). Apparently the same people who elected him the “best of” now made him resign from the elite. Is there anyone who takes these guys seriously? Do you?
This of course would be just another boring (and slightly unsellting, considering the point) press release of a group of winemakers representing probably 0,01% of Hungarian wine production which alone wouldn’t make me grab the keyboard. What upsets me really is this fingerpointing again, which I already complained about on these pages, and which occurs every f….n’ time you meet a Hungarian winemaker: innuendos about oversas techniques, complaining about the mass wines of the new world (even questioning whether these wines are actually made of wine grape), the winemakers being the devil itself. Like 99,99% of wines made in Hungary weren’t nearly unsuitable for human consumption. There are shops in Hungary where you can buy off-the-shelf all ingredients you need to make a decent looking Furmint or Olaszrizling without ever getting close to a cellar or a vine.
Will anyone every punch these guys in the face? Not to bleed their nose (I’m an orthodox pacifist, you see), just symbolically a little to wake them up. I mean, let’s take Heimann and Gere, two prominents of the Céh: are these guys really comparing their products with the cheapest imported wines, which cost half the price of their cheapest offering even after transportation cost from across the ocean, having went through all the chain of the importer, wholesaler, distributor and the retailer? Or are they suggesting that all Australian and Chilean wines are made in a process more similar to oil refinery? Are these guys ever going to learn to distinguish? Are these guys ever going to stop talking bullshit, fingerpointing and accusing others for their (non-existing) problems? If they’re unable to make profit then perhaps they should quit and go back to where they belong or they’re qualified for (forest engineering, in case of Gere, if I’m not mistaken) but I seriously doubt they have any problems, looking at the investments these guys have been making in the past 15 years, investing and reinvesting millions and millions of euros into buying new land, purchasing the newest technologies etc. I’m not taking about Györgykovács of course, but most of these guys made a fortune by making wine (let’s not talk about the ones here who lost a fortune by trying). Ofthen very questionable ones.
These guys should finally decide who they consider competitors, chose their peer group carefully where they feel like home ground and try to do their best and let the consumer decide. And stop blaming others for their non-existing misery.
This whole country is sick, I’m telling you. This story is, of course, just a snowflake on the tip of the iceberg.
My first encounter with Kreinbacher wines didn’t impress me and I still couldn’t get used to their (sometimes overly) high prices although I now at least appreciate their efforts to find Somló’s new old character.
They embraced old grapes through their lower-end label Szent Ilona too. Entry-level cuvée Taposó-Kút is, every year, an Olaszrizling-based blend which in 2006 produced a more Furmint-like character instead. I at least attribute that sour-bitter element on the mid-palate (not at the finish as often seen in Furmint) which is so dominant in this wine to Furmint.
But let’s have a look at the color first: brigh hay hue, not very deep and very lively. Complex, yet friendly floral nose mingled with hints of honey and ripe tropical fruits having a vanilla undertone and a mineral accent. The palate has a mineral and bitter character because of the Furmint I suppose which also leaves its mark on the taste spectrum (along with marzipan).
Aged in mostly used large oak barrels during which the wine had a long contact with the lee (so characteristic to Kreinbacher wines) which is at least partly responsible for the lovely acidity being overshadowed by that bitter taste and texture. This wine would be very exciting without that, but it’s still a very decent effort and a good introduction to this side of Somló.
The wine’s not young and I don’t expect it to get any better with time.
Score: 5 points
Price: HUF 2 500