Budapest Daily Review

Szent Gaál – Cabernet Sauvignon válogatás, 2007

Posted in 4 points,5 points,Szt. Gaál by admin on the February 21st, 2010

There was a time when I thought that Szent Gaál was about to become the next big thing but it never happened. Is it because they’re present in hypermarkets all over the place (so no way wine snobs will ever write anything good about them), or they didn’t improve much while others made a good progress I’m not sure, but maybe because of both.

Dark ruby just the way it should be. Lovely sour cherry marmalade nose mingled with ripe mulberry and a hint of dark chocolate. Very edgy tannins on the palate, quite hard and a tiny bit tart too. Very nice, long finish with dark chocolate.

One thing is certain: Szent Gaál may not have produced their great wine yet (it’s certainly not this one) but they never produced shamelessly bad wine either, unlike some big names form this region or further to the south-west.

Score: 4+ (now I would give it 5-)

Price: HUF 3 700

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Szent Gaál is back on the table

Posted in 6 points,Szekszárd,Szt. Gaál,Wine reviews,Winery reviews by admin on the May 21st, 2009

A few years ago, don’t remember exactly when, I’d been browsing the internet for Hungarian country accommodation in a castle or as they’re called in Hungarian, “Kúria” which is a small castle in the country usually dating back to the 19th century or before. There aren’t too many I must say and my search was narrowed to exclude otherwise very trendy wellness hotels which I never felt attracted to. I found a recently refurbished nice, one storey Kastély near Szekszárd, which turned out to be in the middle of nowhere on the smaller hills west from Szekszárd. Based on their website and the pictures of the rooms, I expected a snobbish, overly touristic Kastély with posh guests and arrogant service staff. I couldn’t be more wrong: the house was ran by a friendly late middle aged couple, the service was very polite and friendly and apart from a group of retired people we were the only guests of the Kastélyszálló. The rooms are decorated in 18th and 19th century baroque style with nice replica furniture. The atmosphere is quite antique and the only problem was the thin doors and noisy corridors, hence lack of privacy. In the sunny October the Szekszárd hills were covered in all kinds of color and the whole area was extremely quiet. The staff was very nice, polite and helping but not pushy at all. They just hired a new winemaker who appeared in the middle of our wine tasting in the cellar around 11 pm but he was too busy working with the fresh material to join us for a conversation. It was quite convincing seeing him doing all the labor intensive work himself in the middle of the night. They just came up with a new sortiment, including the price prestige series which I liked very much, although I found them too pricey at that time.

So you might wonder why there isn’t any post entry on this blog about Szent Gaál wines. The only explanation I can think of seems quite stupid, that is because I didn’t want to destroy the very good memories with a corked wine or a faultless, but weaker wine I may have encountered. I was still a little bit concerned about it but I couldn’t resist the 50% off from the Cabernet Sauvignon Válogatás (Selection) 2006 (which itself further increased my concern). But 2006 couldn’t be wrong for Cabernet Sauvingon, I thought, it was a long, hot season so the CS grapes must have been mature enough to produce a great wine just like the ones I remembered.

The review

This Cabernet Sauvignon is deep purple with an almost black core. Very dense on the nose. The wine swirls beautifully in my  Bordeaux sized glass, releasing high concentration of berry fruit aromas, blackberry, sour cherry, chocolate and mostly dried plum elements with a hint of clove. And a little bit too much alcohol I must say.

The palate also has a dense, fruity character with an oaky accent. Full-bodied and well-balanced, although a bit alcoholic to some people. Very appealing texture with polished, powdery tannins which, unfortunately, will be too oily after 60-90 minutes. There’s a hint of nice, sour cherry core-like bitterness in the not so long finish. This wine’s in a good shape right now but it won’t age very well for too long.

Score: 6-

Price: HUF 3 400

This wine is fairly priced, just a bit above what I would feel really fair. But if we can believe what Szent Gaál are saying on their website, further price reduction can be underway. 

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A Chronologic Journey Back to 2008 or the Hungarian Wine Grand Total

What a modest title. I came up with it in only 1 minute of thinking. In my defense: it’s search-engine friendly and it’s true, from my perspective. Anyway, here’s the almost complete list of tasted wines and their score from 2008.

One remark, except the festival notes, all reviews were written based on at least 1/2 bottle of wine tasted by me alone over several hours, at least once over this period. Even wines presented in quick notes. Any occasional exception was mentioned in the given post, but they were maximum 2 or 3, if any.

Tasting Scores 2008

Vylyan

Pinot Noir

2003

5+/6-

(in Q2 2008)

Gál Tibor

Cabernet Franc

2001

4

(in Q2 2008)

Tokaj Hétszőlő

Furmint

2006

5+/6-

(in Q2 2008)

Szecskő Tamás

Cuvée

2005

6

(in Q2 2008)

Gróf Buttler

Portugieser

2006

7+

(in Q2 2008)

Gróf Buttler

Kadarka

2006

3+

(in Q2 2008)

Mayer

Kopár Cuvée

2004

3+

(in Q2 2008)

Szt. Gaál

Kékfrankos

2005

6-/6

(in Q2 2008)

Malatinszky

Cabernet Sauvignon Barrique

2006

3+

OR

(in Q2 2008)

Chateau Dereszla

Dorombor

2006

6+/7-

BB

(in Q2 2008)

Tokaj Hétszőlő

Kövérszőlő

2006

6+/7-

(in Q2 2008)

Bezerics-Németh

Chardonnay Barrique

2006

3-

OR

(in Q2 2008)

Vylyan

Montenuovo Cuvée

2006

6-

(in Q2 2008)

Cramele Halewood

Sauvignon Blanc

2006

5+

FV

(in Q2 2008)

Chateau Dereszla

Sauvignon Blanc

2007

6+

BB

(in Q2 2008)

Vylyan

Villányi Rizling

2006

3

OR

(in Q2 2008)

Dereszla

Dry

2006

5, 5+

FV

(in Q2 2008)

Oremus

Mandolás Furmint

2003

7, 7+

FV, BB

(in Q2 2008)

Szabó Zoltán

Sauvignon Blanc

6+, 7-

BB

(in Q3 2008)

Ebner

Chardonnay

2006

3+

(in Q3 2008)

Ebner

Portugieser

2007

3+

(in Q3 2008)

Bock

Merlot

2002

5+

OR

(in Q3 2008)

Pontica

Móri Ezerjó

2006

7-

FV/BB

(in Q3 2008)

Degenfeld

Muscat Lunel

2007

4

(in Q3 2008)

Leo

Riesling

2006

3+

OR

(in Q3 2008)

Hilltop

Chardonnay

2006

3

OR

(in Q3 2008)

Heimann

Merlot

2006

5, 5+

FV

(in Q3 2008)

Heimann

Kerkaborum

2006

6, 6+

BB

(in Q3 2008)

Bussay

Esküvé

2006

5

FV

(in Q3 2008)

Ch. Megyer

Chardonnay

2005

6, 6+

BB

(in Q3 2008)

Dereszla

Furmint Szegi

2006

5+

(in Q3 2008)

Heumann

Kékrankos Barrique

2006

6

FV (only just)

(in Q3 2008)

Toth István

Bikavér Válogatás

2002

6+/7-

(in Q3 2008)

Jamek

Riesling Jochinger

2007

5, 5+

OR

(in Q3 2008)

Domane Wachau

Riesling Smaragd Singerriedel

2005

6, 6+

OR

(in Q3 2008)

Eurobor

Tűzkő Szelekcio

2006

5+, 6-

FV

(in Q3 2008)

Tokaj Hétszőlő

Aszú Hárslevelű, 5 Puttonyos

2001

8-

FV

(in Q3 2008)

Gere Attila

Cabernet Sauvignon Barrique

2000

4, 5-

OR

(in Q3 2008)

Gere Attila

Kopár Cuvée

2000

7+, 8-

(in Q3 2008)

Velezvin

Etyek-Budai Zengő, Zenit, Zefír Cuvée

4-

(in Q3 2008)

Pannonhalmi Apátsági

Rajnai Rizling

2007

4

OR

(in Q3 2008)

Légli Ottó

Olasrizling

3-

OR

(in Q4 2008)

Eurobor

Tűzkő Domb Cuvée

2005

5

OR

(in Q4 2008)

Légli

Sauvignon Blanc

2007

5+/6-

OR

(in Q4 2008)

Eurobor

Tűzkő Sauvignon Blanc

2007

4/4-

FV

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Kadarka

2007

4

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Sauvignon Blanc Szelekció

2007

4-

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Olaszrizling

2007

4-

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Rosé

2007

5-/5

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Kadarka

2007

4+

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Pinot Noir

2007

5

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Bikavér

2005

4

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Kékfrankos

2006

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Kékfrankos Szelekció

2004

5/6-

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Optimus

2006

6/6-

(in Q4 2008)

Bodri

Merlot

2004

6

(in Q4 2008)

Ráspi

Sauvignon Blanc

2007

7

BB

(in Q4 2008)

Monarchia

Chardonnay (Battonage)

2006

7-/7

BB

(in Q4 2008)

Eurobor

Renana

2007

3+

OR

(in Q4 2008)

Eszterbauer

Nagyapám

2006

3+

OR

(in Q4 2008)

Gróf Buttler

Pinot Blanc Szelekció, Szarkás Dűlő

2003

6/6+ (6+/7-)

(in Q4 2008)

Tamás Pince

Oriolus Cuvée

2004

5+/6

OR

(in Q4 2008)

Gróf Buttler

Syrah, Nagy-Eged, 400-500

2005

6-7

(in Q4 2008)

Takler

Cuvée Maffiózó

2000

5+/6- (6+)

(in Q4 2008)

Ráspi

Mágus Cuvée

2006

6

FV

(in Q4 2008)

Eszterbauer

Merterünk Cuvée

2006

5

OR

(in Q4 2008)

Ráspi

Leányka

2007

3+ (but interesting)

(in Q4 2008)

Ráspi

Rosé Cuvé

2007

4

(in Q4 2008)

Monarchia

Grüner Veltliner

2006

3+

OR

(in Q4 2008)

Csányi Pincészet

Teleki cabernet Sauvignon

2006

4-

FV

(in Q4 2008)

Konyári

Loliense

2006

6-

OR

(in Q4 2008)

Wine Festival

Tasting Scores

Móri Bornapok 2008

On-site tasting notes.

Miklóscsabi

Utazótáska

2007

3+/4-

Bozóky

Leányka

2007

3+/4-

Bozóky

Cuvée

2007

4-

Bozóky

Ezerjó

2006

4

Miklóscsabi

Haramia Cuvée

2007

5

Maurus

Leányka

2007

4

Maurus

Sauvignon Blanc

2007

4+/5

Maurus

Rajnai Rizling

2007

5+/6-

Maurus

Eezrjó

2007

6/6-

Maurus

Chardonnay

2007

6


VII. Pannon Bormustra – Bországgyűlés (Wine Festival) in 08/06/2008

On-site tasting notes.

Ludányi

Elizabeth Cuvée

2007

4-

Hydrogen Sulphide gas smell. Not too interesting wine.

Degenfeld

Furmint

2006

3+

Furmint smell, bitterness, wood.

Lesence

Riesling (Rajnai Rizling)

2007

6- (or 6)

Elegant acid and nose, nice finish. Easy, light.

Top Wine

Tornai

Grófi Hárslevelű

2006

6, 6+

Not being a Hárslevelű fan myself, this was my first surprise this day. More really good Hárslevelű were to follow.

This one has deep corn color, has honey and burnt sugar smell besides tropical fruits. The acids can almost balance the intense smell/taste, but only just – not. A little carbon dioxide makes it refreshing though. And it has vanilla in taste too. A really lovely wine for both beginners and maybe even for snobbish drinkers. I like it.

Dereszla

Dorombor

2007

6+, 7-

80% Furmint, 20% Hárslevelű. Excellent combination, resulting in a very intense, fresh smell rather Hárslevelű-type. The 13,5% alcohol is supported by nice acid. Cinnamon, or rather apple pie in smellGrass and vegetables are also present, but not the usual ones! My wife said

Dorombor was lemonade with lime. I am looking forward to find out how long the integrity of Furmint and Hárselvelű will last.

Top Wine

Orsolya

Pnot Noir

2006

5/5-

Orsolya has been one of my favorite emerging wineries. The smell of their wines are almost unbeatable. This Pinot is a bit of exception, nice light Pinot smell but less intense than you would expect from Orsolya and Zoltán. It’s still a good wine, but not exceptionnel. I am told that Orsolya Pincészet’s stocks are empty, so we have to wait ‘til next year for a fresh refill.

Scheller

Áldozói Chardonnay

2003

7-

Pontica

(Móri) Ezerjó

2006

4+

It’s a very strong 4+ for this young and small winery. It’s dry, but tastes a bit sweet and rustic, but acid is also not missing. I no longer remember why only gave 4+ points to them. I even purchased a whole bottle for HUF 1 700 right there.

I’m curious about their new works.

Kikelet

Furmint (Tokaj)

2006

Outstanding aromas, exceptionnel Furmint. Somewhere in between the Szepsy and Hétszőlő schools. Very interesting. A bit of wood taste disturbs. A bit expensive too for a Furmint at HUF 2 700.

Kikelet

Hárslevelű

2006

5+, (6-?)

Elegant, subtle Hárslevelű, a little bit of sweetness makes it fashionable. Even the bitterness in the finish is nice.

Orsolya

Hermány Leányka

2006

6

Incredible smell as usual from Orsolya Pince. This wine might require some acid, but it’s weighty and has a nice although not fresh finish. Interesting wine.

Somlói Tavasz fesztivál (Somló Spring Festival) 2008

On-site tasting notes.

Laposa

Olaszrizling

2005

5+

Good start. Light, fresh, friendly wine.

Fair value

Kreinbacher

Olaszrizling

2005

4

Deeper colour, grassy smell and taste. Heavier.

Overrated

Györgykovács

Olaszrizling

2006

6

Light in color. Round. A lovely bitter edge at the end. Fresh, almost crispy.

Fair value, almost best buy

Tornai

Olaszrizling Selection

2006

6-, 6

Round wine, but not perfectly balanced: it requires a bit more acid. Extremely friendly wine. Floral and earthy smell, smooth taste but not overly spicy. Nice finish (only some acid missing). Surprisingly low alcohol (11,5%). Mouthfilling sensation.

Fair value, almost best buy

Laposa

Bazaltbor, juhfark

2006

5+

Tuttifrutti and hay in smell. Hay in taste too. Hot aftertaste. Alcohol 14,5%!

Tornai

Juhfark selection

2006

7

Even for those who don’t like juhfark, this friendly version of it makes it more drinkable than its harsh companions. Could have some more acid, but otherwise round and well balanced. Vanilla is present but not too oaky. Long lasting taste, great finish.

Györgykovács

Furmint

2006

5-

Apple.

Györgykovács

Tramini

2006

6

Intense, grassy and gooseberry smell. Well balanced. Residual sugar and acid at finish. Interesting wine. Smell of traubi*.

Hollóvári (Takács Lajos)

Hárslevelű

2006

3+

Forgettable.

Hollóvári (Takács Lajos)

Furmint

2006

Kaló Imre

Leányka

2001

Intense nose, not so fresh, but elegant. Not too sweet, but some acid would do well for this wine. Very nice finish. 14,7%!

Györgykovács

Hárslevelű

4

Average.

Tornai

Olaszrizling

4-

Sparkling. Cheap.

A non-alcoholic drink produced in the socialist era in Hungary. Still produced in smaller quantities.

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Back to the future

Posted in 3 points,6 points,Malatinszky,Szt. Gaál,Villány,Wine reviews by admin on the May 24th, 2008

It’s a misterious fact that even popular restaurants tend to have an awful wine list, either in-house selection or made for them by their wine supplier. Someone could explain me the 2006 Malatinszky Cabernet Sauvignon on the list in early 2008? People, taste it, or ask someone, outsource your choice!

Anyway, I believe that my dinner yesterday in Kiskakukk restaurant may require some explanation as well. Being a typical tourist trap (fake-hungarian cuisine, terrible service, fake-nostalgic interior, wines…) it should not attract me normally, but my foreign guest insisted in wanting to eat Hungarian “disznótoros” (mostly sausage, black-pudding and even more exotic parts of pork) I had no other choice than (since I don’t know these restaurants) I had to make an extremely quick internet research.

We finished 2 bottles of wine during the evening, both sold to us at HUF 4 000 (EUR 16). The first choice was a light Kékfrankos (better known as Blaufrankisch in the rest of the world).

The review – Szt. Gaál Kékfrankos 2005

Intense, deep fresh raspberry/cherry colour. So far so good.

The smell translates into similar taste with a slightly different tone. Excellent transition, smell and taste walk hand in hand. The fruityness disappears relatively quickly and the finish is smooth, no sign of tannin, alcohol burning or too much acid. Nice finish. It’s an overall charming, nice wine. EUR 9 is a fair value for it.

Score: 6

Price: EUR 9 (store price, fair value)

The Review – Malatinszky Cabernet Sauvigning 2006, Barrique (Villány)

Our second selection (we must drink a Hungarian Cabernet Sauvignon, I am told by my guest) is my big mistake. Or partly, because this wine takes me back to the 90s, when the quality and trendyness of the CS in Villány and elswhere were measured by the level of tannin in the bottle. But this much tannin cannot be extracted deom the barrel nor from the vine. It’s harsh, oily texture is in huge contrast with the Szt. Gaál Kékfrankos. I know it’s a young wine, still, after massacring a significant amount of gustatory cells in our tongue, we decide to give it some time in the decanter (we had to ask for it in the restaurant, of course). It did not help. After an hour, it’s smell (fruity also, but not so intense and elegant as in the Kékfrankos) got better, but in taste the tannin is still so dominant I can’t think of anything else, scratching the middle, upper and back part of my mouth, whilst the sweetness in the forefront of our tongue is living its own life. Hugely disappointing from Malatinszky, who’s already shown lot better than this CS before. I’m getting suspicious though, I just read Malatinszky’s rate of the year 2006 (his highest score).

I wish I never got back so distant in time. At least I’m happy to be back today, and I’m leaving soon for the Etyek Pincefesztivál, one of the biggest wine events in Hungary.

Score: 3+

Price: EUR 9 (overrated)

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