Sauska wines are very predictable so you know exactly when you need to drink them, therefore it’s most unlikely that you’ll find a negative review of them on these pages. It’s such a cliché to say they are filling a huge gap in Hungarian winemaking, quite belatedly I must say, but I’m such a cliché myslef especially around Xmas time.
This is a blend of 53% syrah, 26% cabernet franc, 20% cabernet sauvignon. Whatever. Sauska are capable of reengineering any kind of grape to suite their product portfolio. Well this one came out as a dense, overly ripe plum jam on the nose mingled with tamarind paste hence a spicy accent. Later sour cherry compote too. On the palate fresh, lively yet ripe character with plum again flowing into a syrup-based long finish, supported by well polished tannins and acidity. This results in a pleasant texture with well-integrated components.
Price: HUF 2 800
Still about Vinagora 2009, I have to state it again that the red line-up this year was great with lots of varietals of many producers from mainly Hungary and most of them really good ones. I didn’t necessarily agree with the judges and their description of the wines and the selected wines below do not reflect any preference over the other, non-reviewed wines which were present in too big number to be taken into account. So this is just a list of some of the wines which were displayed in the first section of the whole exhibited lot. Only one complaint here: almost all of these wines could have been 3-5 degrees Celsius cooler than they were to show their best. Still…
Heumann Terra Tartaro 2007 is made of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30%-30% Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Deep cherry-purplish color, the way I like it. Dense nose although very fresh with woody unripeness and tons of sour cherry syrup with blueberry notes and a hint of fine black tea and a tobacco accent. This cuvée has a fruit-packed palate with high concentration of ripe plum and sloe. Quite dense with oily, slightly harsh tannins with a hint of black-pepper and a bit too young acidity, so the texture could be better but I think it will be. Still too young, this wines scores around 6 points right now but I’m looking forward to how it’ll develop in the next 2-3 years.
The younger brother of it is Cuvée Segreto 2007 with 50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and 10% Portugieser. This one has a warm nose of blackberry-jam. Very fruity palate of various berry fruits, more than Terra Tartaro. This may not be such a “serious” wine as it’s older brother but it certainly is in better shape right now, with appealing cherry and sour cherry aromas, better texture and a fairly weighty body. Quite a polished style, the high alcohol couldn’t ruin it. Therefore it scores 6+ points right now.
Made of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Pinot Noir, 12% Cabernet Franc and 8% Merlot Bock Cuvée 2005 sounds like an interesting blend. The wine has a brownish color. Intense earthy nose with tobacco and fortified wine notes. Very ripe plum and berry fruit jam elements mingled with earth notes and tobacco, supported by firm, but not too heavy tannic backbone.
Bock Capella Cuvée 2006 has a deep brownish tone and a beautiful move in the glass. The nose is of sweet-alcoholic chocolate character. Well balanced though, full-bodied, supported by slightly powdery tannin and rounded acidity. Scores around 7 points.
Bárdos Imperiál Cuvée 2007 has an intense fresh sloe bouquet with hints of woody-black pepper and sour cherry. Fruity palate with cherry, sour cherry and sour cherry core bitterness which suits the wine. Dense material, a bit too acidic but it’s fine. This wine stands out with its reasonable price, less than half of the others here and it’s almost as good as some of those.
Sauska 5 2006 is almost black, beautiful and elegant with an exciting move. Very intense palate, dense, perfectly balanced and packed with dark fruits, mainly plum. Fresh but ripe with very fine silky texture. A bit too alcoholic with a hint of sour-cherry core bitterness and car seat leather.
Sauska 7 2006 looks very similar in character to Sauska 5 to me with a bit more black pepper and alcohol, lot of chocolate and a slightly unripe feeling.
This serie served well to confirm how Sauska wines represent a very different approach to winemaking from the “old school” like Bock (and other more traditional Villány wineries) while Heumann is in the middle, but maybe closer to Sauska.
Bországgyűlés’s been over for a week but I still have some notes left that I would like to share here. The shift towards white wines which started when I decided to drink more Hugnarian wines a bit more than a year ago has left its mark on the ratio of reds and whites but I didn’t entirely give up.
Sauska Cuvée 13 from 2008 is a beautifully colored medium-dark ruby wine with purplish reflections made of 70% Syrah and 15%-15% Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Jammertal area. Light, young, warm and slightly sweet nose with anise and clove aromas. Nicely textured on the palate with powdery (later oily) tannins and polished acidity. 14% alcohol is a bit over the top for this upper-medium bodied, but dense wine. Score: 5+/6-
Bujdosó Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 is an average medium-bodied wine without major faults or character. Fresh tannins and nice acidity. Score: around 4+
You may remember that I was quite satisfied with Bujdosó’s Altanus white cuvée. Now Bujdosó Altanus 2007 has seen 10-12 months in oak barrels of 225l. It has a warm nose with a celery-vegetable character and black pepper notes. Quite average on the palate. Score: 4+/5-
Szeleshát Merlot 2007(?)was aged 80% in second use and 20% first use barrique. The 15% alcohol might be too much for some in this medium-bodied wine with the slightly unripe tannins. The palate has a black pepper character. Interesting enough.
Crowd, folkloric music and drank people singing are the main reasons why I don’t like wine festivals (and Bországgyűlés features them all). But I couldn’t say no to a friend’s invitation so I went and did the most obvious thing to distract my attention: took a note book and took notes as diligently as you can when you are standing and being pushed from all sides by unknown people. And guess what, soon I was starting to feel good.And then I suddenly had to leave the scene, but before that I had some nice first encounters.
(On the picture above: a bunch of morons singing pro-national border revision songs)
Font is a 28 hectares family winery in Soltvadkert and known as a reliable source of value wines. Kövidinka 2008 was well located to start with. It’s pale and light with some apple notes on the nose and a slightly unripe and a bit bitter tannic palate. Thick, fresh, and quite like what the wines from Duna borrégió tend to be. Score: 3+ points
Maul Chardonnay Barrique 2007 has a vibrant golden yellow medium-deep color and a dense nose of floral notes and lots of oaky vanilla. On the palate a bit too harsh tannin but the wine’s relatively well-balanced, medium-large bodied. The finish is too short with a tart element. Little fruity wine with hints of quince. A little bit one dimensional and barrel-woody but it’s a pleasant drink. Score: 4+ points
Bujdosó Altanus 2007 is a blend based on Chardonnay with 30% Sauvignon Blanc, Szürkebarát and Királyleányka. Chardonnay and Szürkebarát both have seen barrique. The average yield was 2-2.5 Kg/vine. Lower-medium deep golden color with Savory notes on the nose mingled with other fresh green spring spices. Complex and exciting in the dimension of spicy vegetables and fruits. Sweet and warm. The palate is sweet but only because of glycerin (with less than 2 grams of residual sugar). Lower medium bodied. Score: 6- points
Bujdosó Szürkebarát 2007 is lighter, with much more closed nose. Medium-small bodied and a bit sparklingly bitter.This one didn’t impress me, remained very closed so I’ll have to try it again.
Degenfeld Furmint Barrique 2007 is relatively closed on the nose with hints of vanilla. Light, a bit perfumy with ultra-light acacia and honey elements. On the palate light punch and vanilla notes with a hint of minerality. Small-medium bodied. This Furmint has a Degenfeld-ish character very similar to their Muscat Lunel. Not a usual Furmint for sure. Score: 4 points
Lelovits’ Olaszrizling 2008 left its mark with some lavage-based vegetable soup notes but not much else.
Sauska Chardonnay Makár 2007 was the the revelation of the day to me. This is the debut of Sauska on Budapest Daily Review, I’d always been repelled by their price tags suggesting lot of ambition from a relatively new brand supported by aggressive marketing.
My senses were blown up by a very determinate, firm, dense but fresh nose of a very clean, soft vanilla pudding character rounded by tons of melted butter. But before that, the bright, vibrant, beautiful color of the wine was already very impressive too. The palate is in perfect harmony with the nose, it gives back the exact same character. Medium-large bodied, slightly lacking acidity but it’s a huge wine with a terrific mouthfilling sensation and a long finish I haven’t seen for a long time. Yes of course many terroir fans and patriots will complain loud about the overuse of oak and the new worldliness of the wine but it’s a perfectly executed task of a class that has just started to build in Hungary. I’d been waiting too long for this school to emerge in Hungary and I always knew that if once it happens, it would be in Villány. It’s pure liquid vanilla with some floral notes here and there, delivered in the finest silky texture supported by very gentle acidity, yet in a firm body. It’s an engineering masterpiece. Score: 6+/7- points
I took some nice pictures of Andrássy avenue on my way to Buda after the festival. They’re here, if you wanna have a look at Budapest’ (and probably one of the worlds’) most beautiful main avenue viewed by a drunk photographer.