Hangács Bikavér 2008 is almost identical to Áldás 2008 (aka El fin de la inocencia) except that it’s not. And not just that Syrah didn’t make it to the blend at Hangács (and it’s not the less oak either). It looks like only Pinot Noir did. Hangács Pinot Noir 2006 wasn’t a huge wine itself but I wonder if Hangács Pinot Noir 2008 is any different from the Bikavér Blend made in 2008.
St. Andrea – Hangács Bikavér, 2008
Medium ruby, clear and lively. Spicy bouquet with hints of anise, clove and Açaí berry, very Pinot Noir-esque. Fresh but warm style on the palate with very smooth tannins and a sour cherry core bitterness. Loose in terms of structure, thinner than Áldás first, as far as I can judge, but feels bit more weighty after some exposure to air. The acidity remains a bit scratchy on the midpalate for hours but the palate will be packed full of fine dark chocolate.
Should be decanted long before drinking. Not so expressive at present, this Bikavér may still age better than Áldás 2008.
One more remark: this wine shouldn’t have passed the Bikavér examination. Because it’s not one.
Price: HUF 3 750
Now that the Hungarian Constitution incorporates (our non-existent) Christianity I sort of feel being under pressure to write more about exuberantly religious winemakers. I kind of hope this could be used in my favour (as an extenuating circumstance) when the full dictatorship finally takes place in the middle of the Carpatians and censorship will eventually (and inevitably) become part of our everyday life.
St. Andrea – Áldás, 2008
This is a Bikavér and as such, predictably unpredictable blend, but Kékfrankos, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Menoir make a unique yet approachable wine here. Fresh, medium dark ruby with purplish shades. The nose is dried tobacco leaves with some alcohol coming through. The ample palate is smoothly styled with a chewy mix of fruits presented in a soft velvety texture and with a long, delicately sour tannic finish. Medium bodied wine with well rounded, very subtle and perfectly integrated acidity.
Not too exciting but well made wine, would go well with a bistro meal.
Price: HUF 3000
I returned two st. Andrea Pinot Noirs in a row to the retailer because they were corked. The third one I took home was a Pinot from another vinyard, namely from Hangács of Demjén. I’ve never been there and I didn’t even know the place existed (I still doubt it a bit).
It turns out that St. Andrea Pinot Noirs are intentionally corked, or so they seem (leasson learned, Ráspi). But the shop clerk says it’s normal, a buyer brought back a lot of six bottles, all corked. I couldn’t believe my ears.
Anyway, this one from Hangács is suspiciously similar to the other two. First, it has the same blurred pinkish brick color, then it has the same bouquet (and that’s not exactly a compliment). Well the cinnamon, rose and woodchip aromas are not exactly repelling but they’re not huge either. The palate is embarrassingly desintegrated, with harsh components, firm tannic backbone and a hint of (positively) sweet compote element. I hoped it’d get better with time but it got worse.
This was an impulse buy today on my way home but I eventually ended up at a friend’s home with 2 pizzas and started to drink the wine hot as the room in this early October summer day in Budapest. The wine turned out to be in better shape at this temperature, with a color and texture similar to Sauska’s Chardonnay from the same year (somewhere in between the basic and the Makár, and just as full bodied as those), a fat, lovely move and a pleasant nose. Even the bouquet of this wine is silky, when cooler it felt a bit tired tough until we ruined the whole with the Canpagnole and the Calabrese. Nice wine, now on sale at HUF 2000 at a well-known Budapest retailer.
Funny name, funny label, so refreshing to see after having seen so many chateaux emerging from nowhere – as I write this I realise that as a rule of thumb you could easily pick mediocre wines simply by selecting one from one of the many Hungarian “chateaux” (there are exceptions though). The fact is, there are virtually no chateaux left in Hungary and even less with a history in winemaking. Hétszőlő actually has a chateau but they’re not calling themselves chateau (although they’re owned by French, well partly). Akutyafáját reminds me of Orsolya Pince’s early labels, drawings made by children, now by a teenager, all suggesting that we all (in the wine scene) are taking ourselves too seriously. The whole scene btw reminds me of a song by The Cribs (Hey Scensters), a great (probably the greatest) indie band currently being ruined by Johnny Marr. But Akutyafáját is different, also from Eger, from a wineamker who apparently thinks a lot about his wife (or he’s more ironic than we’d think), this wine is simple and straightforward: affordable, lovable, and Hungary’s mass market needs wines just like this one. It has somewhat of a terroir character, something of Eger but it’s also very accessible by everyone. Believe me. Here’s why. The nose is full of spices, clove mainly, mingled with some burnt wood and cherry/sour cherry – already very attractive (the wine needs that to be honest, it’s appearance is quite regular, medium-pale ruby, nothing exceptionnal there). Fresh, slightly scretchy tannins first on the palate supporting a rather sweetish, friendly character. Firm, but not overly, with young but gentle tannins providing excellent backbone for this rather small-medium bodied wine full of freshness and fun, with notes of cinnamon falvoured apple pie and cherry compote. Fairly good length with just a hint of bitterness to be detected sometimes, more than that dried thyme and savory. This wine is excellent for long, friendly conversations, or for exhausted folks like myself drinking and blogging. I’m a fan of St. Andrea and only now I realise that this is the first post about one of the best wineries of Eger (and Hungary).
And this is the best red wine I’ve seen under HUF 2000 for, like, ever…
Price: HUF 1 845
ps: I’d like to dedicate this wine (and post) to a friend from Eger who turned 34 today and will become a father in a couple of days. He has no idea about I writing this blog and I hope he’ll never have, but I hope Samu won’t have to waste so many brain cells as we did in the nineties by drinking rubbish Eger wines. So cheers, for a better future.