Purplish ruby with a dark core. On the nose quite restrained, displaying spices mingled with chocolate and a ripe mulberry undertone. On the palate it’s medium-bodied, tight and gentle with a slightly tart soft tannic backbone supported by very subtle acidity of just the right quantity. No fruits here except the dark cherry flavoured finish. Well-structured, straightforward, well-made wine of low complexity but nothing to be too excited about as of now. So it’s a bit disappointing for HUF 4 000. Good aging potential though.
Note: it’ll respond well to decanting.
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.
Lemon yellow with greenish reflections. Nettle on the nose. On the palate notes of celery and lovage mingled with light chalky minerality. Very short length. The acidity tastes flat and dull.
I’m a bit disappointed.
Hangács Bikavér 2008 is almost identical to Áldás 2008 (aka El fin de la inocencia) except that it’s not. And not just that Syrah didn’t make it to the blend at Hangács (and it’s not the less oak either). It looks like only Pinot Noir did. Hangács Pinot Noir 2006 wasn’t a huge wine itself but I wonder if Hangács Pinot Noir 2008 is any different from the Bikavér Blend made in 2008.
St. Andrea – Hangács Bikavér, 2008
Medium ruby, clear and lively. Spicy bouquet with hints of anise, clove and Açaí berry, very Pinot Noir-esque. Fresh but warm style on the palate with very smooth tannins and a sour cherry core bitterness. Loose in terms of structure, thinner than Áldás first, as far as I can judge, but feels bit more weighty after some exposure to air. The acidity remains a bit scratchy on the midpalate for hours but the palate will be packed full of fine dark chocolate.
Should be decanted long before drinking. Not so expressive at present, this Bikavér may still age better than Áldás 2008.
One more remark: this wine shouldn’t have passed the Bikavér examination. Because it’s not one.
Price: HUF 3 750
This is the flagship wine of Pannonhalmi Apátsági Pincészet and although I wasn’t very impressed with the 2007, I’ve been having good experiences with their wines from 2008 lately so selling me this wine was very easy.
Pinot Noir is on that extreme of the wine spectrum I learned to like over many years. I finally got there with Gál Tibor’s Pinot Noir 2002 and if that’s the benchmark the wine who’d take the Hungarian Pinot Noir to the next level is still to come my way.
Pannonhalmi Apátsági Pincészet – Pinot Noir, 2008
Clean, brigh pale cherry hue. Very restrained and light but fairly complex nose with a mix of spices, a drop of creamy fruit and a floral accent.
Fresh and ultra-light style on the palate too but without the acidity of all other Pannonhalmi wines I’ve tasted from this vintage. Very thin layer of spicy fruit over the underlying thin layer of bitter tannins flowing into a decent clove-flavoured finish.13.5% alcohol feels too much here.
Good wine but I’d like more definition to it and I really think they should rethink the pricing and the use of new oak barrels.
Pale lemon color with greenish reflections. Pleasant fruity-floral nose with acacia dominance. Very citric palate with overflowing lemon scented acidity which doesn’t allow any of the wine’s merits come through and even turns a bit appalingly bitter at the end.
It’s so disappointing after the 2006 which was a great Furmint.
Price: HUF 2440
All attempts to produce really good red wine in the northern Balaton region have failed so far. The truth is you can barely find half decent efforts. Villa Tolnay have been supplying the market with perhaps the most stable quality of white wines over the years. And yet they’re still betting heavily on red wines.
Névtelen 2006 is almost terracotta colored. Warm, very light nose with hints of spices, caramel and walnut. Later wild mushrooms and earthy notes. Very dry, very thin, with a slightly bitter tannic backbone. Pretty vacant.
Price: HUF 2 600
If a winemakers has 8 hectares and almost no wines at all at the wine shops than it’s a bit unusual, to say the least. But the owner of a small (perhaps the smallest) wine store in Buda recommended this wine as something remarkable for HUF 2 400.
Dark purplish hue with a Turán-like dark core. The nose is sour cherry and wood. Too much acidity especially at the end where it feels way too sour to my taste. Very dry, small-medium bodied wine. Bitter, although soft tannins. 13.5% alcohol. Feels less.
Maybe I shoud have left it in a decanter for a few hours more.
Price: HUF 2 400
Kékfrankos is probably the second most abused widely used varietal in Hungarian post-war winemaking (Zweigelt tops the list). Oddly enough, in Sopron nobody seems to care as it’s still the flagship grape in the area but I must admit I’m still waiting for the Kékfrankos that will prove they’re right. Most experts put Luka among those who are to (or have already) proved my skepticism unfounded.
Pale ruby. Warm, spicy nose with notes of cranberry. Thin body but with some extract sweetness supported by a light salty mineral element and a fine string of tannin. Well rounded wine, with a bit loose structure but well balanced. Mineral texture. It’s an overall pleasant wine but evidently overpriced.
Score: 5 points
HUF 4 150
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