It’s been a while since I wrote an entry here. It’s due to many factors, one of them being that I felt blogging’s become suddenly a bit old-fashioned when masses begun sharing information with each other through social network sites and individual blogs seemed to have lost their appeal to other tools too, like Twitter. Leaving other factors behind (laziness standing out in particular) for now, I’m not sure if this is going to be a last post or others will follow. This one is not even inspired by a particular wine, I’m simply in the mood of writing a post about one or maybe several of the wines I liked this summer. So here’s one, if not exactly off the top of my head, but a more or less random one of those wines I took note of lately.
Heimann – Syrah (2008)
Rather darkish carbon-paper blue with a matt purplish rim. Forest soil and tobacco-like notes mingle on the nose. On the palate it’s soft and dense with velvety tannins which flow into a fairly long finish, carrying tasty notes of sour cherry but without the annoying bitterness. Nice curve in the mouth. After some exposure to air, the wine develops a fairly rich but not too intense bouquet of toasted bread and perfectly ripe dark berry fruits. As the wine’s character becomes more jammy, it displays ripe and sweet forest berry aromas. Smooth, well balanced dense wine without becoming too weighty.
Very good to drink and easy to like, this wine’s well worth HUF 3 300.
See other good value Heimann wines here.
Lively medium-deep ruby.
The nose is packed with ripe forest fruits, leveraging notes of jammy black-currant and mulberry. Quite fleshy bouquet with hints of oaky spices. Medium-bodied, well-balanced wine with gentle acidity and a young tannic backbone, which mixtures with alcohol (lots of it) resulting in a not too well defined texture. Leather notes in a rather short finish.
Like most Heimann wines, this is a fairly priced piece of Szekszárd.
This is a wine from my preferred range: I don’t feel comfortable buying cheaper red wines (HUF 3300) but I can’t afford spending more on wine every time I feel like having a good red one (which is more often than I like to admit). So this better be good.
Heimann – Birtokbor, 2007
A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 35% Merlot and 15% Kékfrankos this wine has seen 18 months in used oak barrels.
Clean and vibrant medium ruby hue. The nose is a touch reduced showing sweet fruity with traces of wood. This wine smells of gage and plum with strawberry added to the fruit profile.
Elegantly styled palate with smooth acidity and finely composed structure with well handled, yet well defined tannins. Faded notes of clove and other spices also imply smart use of oak. Light but well balanced palate although some might find the 14.5% alcohol sweetness over the top. Open and accessible wine with a good length, but rather restrained in terms of aromas. Lovely texture.
As I’m always happy to meet a new winery I can’t be too negative this time, could I? Plus, Merfelsz seem to be lovable folk: small estate (12ha), charmingly useless website, family tradition, Szekszárd roots, what’s not to liket? Nectar Sexardique is the flagship cuvée of the winery I suppose (for there is a whole empty page dedicated to it in the main menu of the winery’s website) and if you couldn’t make a decent wine in 2008 in Szekszárd then perhaps you’re in the wrong industry. Let’s see if they are.
Merfelsz – Doppio, Nectar Sexardique, 2008
According to the label on the bottle (there’s more useful information on it than anywhere else on the web combined about the wine) this is a kind of late harvest wine, which explains the alcohol (14.5%, might be too much for you, but not for me). This wine has seen 14 months in oak, unfiltered. So far it sounds like this wine mas made for me.
The nose is fresh and fruity with wild berries. Similar palate with mulberry and black-currant and tasty sour cherry bitterness. There’s no finesse here or elegance especially as long as the tannin’s concerned, at least partly due to some harsh acidity at the finish. After decanting and leaving it for a while it’ll be more evolved structurally as well as taste-wise, developing fine dark chocolate aromas.
Still much to learn, Merfelsz, and perhaps it would be wise to reconsider the pricing as well.
Red wines under HUF2000 is a dangerous territory, but also an inevitable one. Here’s two of it, one is a finding from Budapest’s misterious stock (50% off from retail price) of Orbán square’s grocery store and the other one, well, I have no idea. I used to drink Takler wines a lot. I don’t miss those times, and I knew this before I opened the bottle. With Tóth István, you never know.
Takler – Merlot, 2008
Lively medium-deep cherry hue, just lovely. Fresh fruity bouquet with mulberry and black-currant. On the palate fresh but too thin and tannic with hints of sloe and black-currant with an appalling bitter undertone.
Tóth István – Merlot, 2004
Blurred ruby with a brownish rim. Lovely nose with, again, black-currant and mulberry, intense and jammy, later with a cigarette smoke accent. Feels much younger than it is with it’s harsh acidity. It’s loosiness won’t get any better after 80 minutes in spite of some tasty strawberry jam coming through.
Both wines had attractive bouquet but both missed the target on the palate, the Takler by miles and the Tóth István only just. I paid HUF 900 for it so i didn’t mind.
Let’s start with a disclosure here. The Eszerbauers are making extra efforts at the winery’s tasting premises by personally entertaining even not exactly high-profile guests like myself but fail to find a merchant who could make their wines easily accessible in the capital of the country. So I was given this bottle by an ex-pat wine enthousiast and regular reader of this blog after he recomended me this wine but I couldn’t find it in any shop (virtual or brick and mortar). Thanks John V.!
Now, I kind of like Eszterbauer wines because i) of the stories they created around every single wine, ii) they’re inexpensive and iii) they’re simple and straighforward wines with a recognisable character.
Dark, clean bright claret with a cherry rim. Sweet blackberry with a lightly earhty accent on the nose. Very approachable wine with smoothly integrated, soft tannins, lovely texture and almost no acidity at all. Very gentle, rich, clean fruity palate flowing into a rather short length. A little bit sweet but not excessively and not because of the residual sugar I think but for the high alcohol (15.5% – the grapes were harvested with an unusually high sugar content) but it doesn’t burn at least so I’m fine with it.
A middle of the road wine with a certain new world-y tone albeit quite unlike a Hungarian Cabernet Sauvignon. So it’s interesting.
Purplish hue. The nose lacked the instantaneous appeal but as it opened out slowely fruity, spicy and even greenish accents emerged. On the palate tasty bitter tannins are wrapped in glycerin. The wine develops a more mature and harmonious character with some exposure to air (2 hours I would say) displaying good tobacco and leather flavoured tannins. A thin layer of plum flows into a smooth length.
Good enough? Take the glycerin out of the equation and you’ll get a wine that’s more than fairly priced.
A stock clearance of a well known retailer provided my with a good opportunity to acquire some bottles for party people coming to visit us from time to time, you know smokers and alike. Some of these wines were so disappointing they drove me to the conclusion I made about mediocre wine reviews in this post. Tiffány’s Portugieser 2009, Tiffán’s Imortal cuvée 2007 and Tűzkő’s Sauvignon Blanc 2008 were good match with cigarettes only really. The following two wines were the best of the lot, so far.
Chateau Kajmád – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Kékfrankos, 2003
Considering it was made in 2003 we can call this an early bird of it’s kind with it’s 14% alcohol.
The look: A dark core surrounded by pigeon blood hue and a pale brownish rim, with some purplish reflections.
Nose: Interesting spices coming through a stuffy bouquet at first, things like turmeric-favored plum and other oddities.
Palate: Dirty. After 90 minutes it evoles structurally but I’d like more definition to it. The wine’s texture is oily and I’m suspecting a good deal of glycerin here. The tart fruityness I would even call pleasant would it not been ruined by the whole picture including quite a lot of half powdery, half sticky overflowing tannins soaked up by the glycerin. The wine has a dirty character which I associate with many – even not so old – Ch. Kajmád wines, very much the opposite of the clean Konyári or Gróf Buttler wines.
Hilltop – Prémium Merlot 2008
Look: dead ruby.
Nose: mulberry syrup, very fruity.
Palate: Ligh-bodied wine with blueberry wrapped in burnt rubber and licorice aromas. Soft texture and polished tannins. But as a whole it’s too “made” and simple.
Evaluation: forget about it.
Growing Viognier is a tricky business, no wonder very few Hungarians venture in this field. In my opinion, however, Hungarian winemaking desperately needs experimenting and even innovation to find out where it could positively distinguish itself from the rest of the world (and not solely rely, as it currently does, heavily and almost exclusively on the defensive patriotism of the much introverted Hungarian wine consumer). Without having much insight myslef I dare say there seems to exist a market niche for wines like this and novelty sells within a small circle of early adaptors. Sometimes more than it deserves.
The guys in charge of refunding my faulty wine this week refused to do so but offered to exchange my recently purchased Heimann’s Viognier 2007 for a 2009. The 2007 was corked according to the clerk but I only found it tired and oxydated, anyway, not something that should be on the market any more. I evidently wasn’t the first one to return this wine but I am ensured that the 2009 is a much antecipated piece of Szekszárd soil so I took their offer.
Heimann Viognier 2009 has a vibrant, metallic yellow hue with silver reflections (or maybe not, maybe it’s just the lights that make it look like that, this is a kind of uncertainly brought into wine tasting that always amuses me, especially when I read things like this in other people’s reviews). Anyway, it’s clean and relatively pale, unike most Viogniers of ripe grapes. It’s high in alcohol though (13.5%) so I’m a bit confused. Further on, the nose is cool, pleasantly fruity with apple and tropical fruity notes presented in a light fashion, not exaclty the distinct perfum explosion one might expect from the varietal. On the palate it’s thin and doesn’t feature any of the fruits mentioned above or other plant whatsoever. It displays, however, not as unexpectedly as regrettably, a lasting dose of scratchy acidity from the midpalate on.
With all the respect, the pricing of this wine really should be reconsidered.
Price: HUF 2 190
This is my first Merlot from the ”selection” range of this family run winery. I didn’t know what to expect, the cheap Halmosi wines were disappointing as red wines under HUF 2500 usually do. Not this one.
Medium ruby with a pale brownish rim.
Warm, yet fresh and spicy nose with cinnamon and black pepper mingled with very (very) ripe wild berries. This jammy character is carried on through to the palate, I bet the Merlot grapes were extremely ripe and they yielded a very high concentration of flavors with a mix of wild berries. Linear path into the not too long finish. Very subtle acidity, it’s there but hardly supports the pressure of the substance. Sweet mature tannins flow into a sweet ripe finish. Full-bodied wine, doesn’t excel with an individualistic style but it’s a very good (and affordable) entry to the league of big wines where it doesn’t belong yet.
The thing I appreciate the most in this price segment (HUF 2500 – 4000) is balance. I don’t necessarily expect individual style from these wines but I don’t tolerate faults like too high acidity, harsh tannins or lack of integration. This Merlot is simply error-free and even expresses some of the terroir.
Score: 6 points
Price: HUF 3200