Laposa winery made the news with their new award-winning facilities triggering debate over taste, building permits and politics. Although the involvement of local politics and non-refundable state capital inflow into a private winery is a controversial issue, it is also a very Hungarian one. In my defence I bought this bottle before I heard the news, besides Laposa used to make decent and affordable wines both in Somló and in the Badacsony area.
Laposa – Rizling “Friss”, 2009
Openly positioned as a “fröccs” wine it is perhaps a little bit odd to drink it in the middle of the February frost but I’m not bound by such clichés. Sometimes regrettably not, as this wine is really what they say about it: a pale lemon yellow acid fluid from the beginning to the finish, fresh but not crisp and very, very acidic. It is really dificult to appreciate it now and I’m not sure about its prospects for the summer either.
Rizling in Hungary can be either Riesling, Olaszrizling, both or none. Laposa’s Badacsonyi Rizling is Olasz Rizling which I can only assume (but not to be absolutely sure) means Olaszrizling.
Pale golden yellow. The bouquet is lovely and rich. Minerally notes mingled with lime, lemon balm and other greenish notes, especially a lovage accent here. Fairly exciting, fresh, not too heavy, interesting. Similarly expressive palate which kicks off with brilliant, sharp acidity with lime juice aromas mingled with a drop of sweetness and a hint of boiled persley. Well balanced long finish with flavours of lemon balm and lime. The palate gets more and more salty.
Relatively coherent wine considering its complexity at it’s price.
Score: 5, 5+ points
Price: HUF 1760
From viticulture point of view, 2003 was a good year in Badacsony as long as weather is concerned. Not exceptionally but it was as good as 2000 and definitely better than 2002 (please see previous post).
The Szeremley Kéknyelű 2003 has got a pale yellow color with hue similar to the Kéknyelű 2002. The nose has an intense flinty character almost as much as you can find in Takács Lajos (Hollóvár) wines from Somló some 80 km away. Impressive, very different from the others. This mineral element is enriched by acacia and nettle elements with a grassy accent.
On the palate fairly rich vegetable notes of parsley and celery in a medium-small body. The wine’s a bit tired, I expected more freshness from this Kéknyelű. This is the less acidic of the 4 vintages so it remains very subtle, with short length just as the others but this one has the nicest texture with just a bit too much alcohol.
Kéknyelű 2004 has a pale and very clean appearance. This one has a very closed nose and will not open.
This small-bodied wine has an acidic character on the palate, fresh and crispy and even a little bit sparkling. Fair fruitiness with gooseberry and ripe apple and other continental fruit notes.
Score: 4+ points
You must be an experienced and passionate wine lover to fully appreciate the nuances of this tasting that would cost you HUF 20 000. But if you have the money to spend than you’ll find it interesting enough.
Kéknyelű grape is one of the less grown widely known varietals in Hungary. Internet sources are quite unreliable in respect of almost everything about the grape: contradictory information circulate regarding its origins (one says its one of the most traditional Hungarian varietals others are not so sure about its Italian origins), it’s character (some sources describe the wines made from Kéknyelű as being very elegant, fruity, others emphasize its harsh, rustic character and that it’s only suitable for blending). All sources agree, however, that growing Kéknyelű is a tough job and yields are low. Even the most skeptical sources admit that in good years, Kéknyelű can produce exceptional wines. To test this, we tasted 4 wines of different vintages from Badacsony’s best known and respected by many wineries. I have to make a disclosure here however: I may easily be the last person in Hungary who never tasted a Szeremley wine before. That’s because for reasons I cannot fully recollect any more (something about his obscure businesses from his past I heard from reliable sources) I’d been boycotting Szeremley Huba’s winery up ’til now. But I agreed to do a vertical tasting of this rare varietal with Peter from borwerk.de, whose tasting notes are also available on his blog.
I must admit that I don’t really like mass wine tasting, it’s more a job or a sport rather than enjoying wines. This vertical tasting, on the other hand, where we had 4 entire bottles for us alone, is confusing too, hence the short notes in spite of the otherwise ideal conditions.
Szeremley Badacsonyi Kéknyelű, 2000. This wasn’t a blind tasting, however, getting started with the oldest one this age difference was obvious at first sight. This wine has by far the deepest color, deep golden yellow with a brownish hue. The nose was complex but it also confirmed what I suspected from the cork and the color is that the wine is oxidized. It remained drinkable however and the fact the the bottle was a bit faulty added to the wine’s complexity, but reduced its freshness. Indeed, this was the heaviest, with different kinds of honey and floral aromas on the nose. Slightly heavier than a medium bodied wine, it’s still well balanced with now bit old acidity. The palate has an overall heavy character with elements like anise and walnut taken over the once perhaps also present fruits.
Szeremley Kéknyelű, 2002. This one has a bright, in fact the brightest color of all four wines with greenish reflections. This wine, and please accept my apologies, but has a cat pee’s nose with veggie soup and lovage notes. On the palate is very acidic, in a harsh and bitter way. With the firm structure in the middle, this small-bodied wine has ripe pear and crab apple elements and an unripe grapefruit note. Nice finish only messed up by the harsh bitterness.
Notes about the more recent vintages will come soon…