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.
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
A Cabernet Franc from 2006 cannot be bad, I thought, when I returned to the merchant where I previously bought the two rather disapopointing Bikavérs of Tóth István. I was right: this Cabernet Franc is quite what you expect from this varietal from that vintage.
Tóth István – Cabernet Franc, 2006
Fresh look of vibrant claret with purplish reflections and a pinkish rim, very unexpectedly from Eger’s artisan winemaker. The nose is fresh and fruity, with intense black-currant aroma and hints of spices. On the palate well balanced and structurally evolved with fairly rich, meaty berry fruits and a spicy undertone (black pepper mainly). Very good, delicious length. Not too weighty, the tannins are absorbed by sweet alcohol (14.6%). With some exposure to air the fruitiness is a touch reduced giving space for chocolate and sweet sour cherry over a thin layer of light minerality.
Well chosen style for the vintage and a best buy (I paid HUF 2000 for it on Budapest’s Orbán tér although the usual high street price is much higher than that).
So how was it then?
Around this time of 2008 expectations about this vintage ranged from good to outstanding in every region although some remarked that a rainy October could leave this vintage short of excellence of, say, 2006. I’m not saying that the same irrational exuberance took over the Hungarian winemaking as it did in Bordeaux but Hungarian winemakers undoubtadly tend to be more optimistic in their expectations lately. Let’s find out how it all turned out on the east bank of the Danube.
Levendula Pincészet – Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008
The winemaking philosophy of Levendula is very different from the well-known Cabernet producers from the south and that’s clearly reflected in this wine. Also Levendula Cabernet Sauvignon is not a typical Cabernet as it lacks many of the “standard” features one would expect from varietal. After the “classic” Cabenet 2007 the 2008 has less chocolate but has more fruits starting from a vibrant, sharp and clean black-currant bouquet with a chocolate-woody-black peppered undertone to a stream of ripe cherry on the palate. Further on boiled apple and pear supported by powdery tannin and harsh acidity. A little bit rustic compared to the other wines to come but it’s the most fruity of the three.
Pannonhalmi Apátsági – Tricollis, 2008
This is a blend of Merlot (40%), Pinot Noir (40%) and Cabernet Franc (20%) but it could easily be sold as a Pinot Noir. It’s rather pale cherry-pinkish and has a very restrained nose of clove flavoured boiled apple with a vanilla accent. On the palate silky texture with very subtle acidity. A light entry turns into a gently fading length with beige caramel from the mid-palate. 13.5% alcohol feels a bit over the top for such a thin wine.
Bock – Ermitage, 2008
This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Fanc, Merlot, Syrah, Kékfrankos, Portugieser and Pinot Noir could be called Bikavér for it mixes these varietals in a way one wouldn’t suspect all these varietals were actually in it. It’s clearly Cabernet Sauvignon-based though with Merlot and Franc being also apparent. Altough having been aged for 14 months in large barrels and used small ones, with it’s dark brownish hue this looks more like an old-school Villányi Bordeaux cuvée rather than an experimental blend. Dense and highly concentrated material. Delightfully structured wine whose perfectly ripe (and a bit sweet), tasty tannins are a robust yet very fine underpinning that doesn’t require any airing to show its best. Perfectly linear flow from the entry to a rather short finish. Acidity could be fine-tuned here but tannin is the most prominent component of this wine and you can forget the rest. Altough being one dimensional and hence soon predictable, it’s worth to buy it just for the sake of tannin alone. A rare example of very smart use of oak.
All three wines are fairly priced. Tricollis and Levendula’s Cabernet are of the same league although very differrent in style, while Ermitage is different from both and more expensive but very reasonably priced at around EUR10.
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.
These Cabernet Franc grapes were harvested on the 27th November of 2007, which is a rather late date for this varietal. Often cited as the most suitable variety to Villány these Francs must result in a big fat red wine.
Rather pale ruby. The nose is jammy raspberry with hints of blackberry and strawberry marmalade. Sweet, but not too dense. Very fresh palate, without any character. Medium-bodied wine with too harsh tannins and acidity. It’s a pity, I’d been really looking forward to tasting this wine.
Disappointing wines often stay opened for a day or, like this one, sometimes three. Miraculously, this wine turned into a well-integrated, lovely wine with a soft, velvety texture and spicy chocolate aromas on the nose. Just give it 72 hours.
Price: HUF 4 000