Blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Olaszrizling and Riesling, this wine is pale lemon yellow. Fairly fruity on the nose, light and fresh. On the palate it’s small-medium bodied with fresh, young and crisp acidity which will smoothen with time. Fair amount of pear and apple over a thin layer of vegetable notes of parsley and kohlrabi. A light scratchy tartness at the finish.
After two shorter than expected meetings in Bratislava and Vienna the other day already on the Hungarian highway I noticed the bright white Pannonhalmi Abbey on the hills and before I knew it I turned the wheel to pay a short visit to the Winery of the Year. I returned to Budapest full or surprises and excited to open what I thought would be another good interpretation of my favorite white varietal.
Unlike Somlói Apátsági Pince, Pannonhalmi Apátsági still belongs to the Abbey, one of the firsts and one of the lasts still functioning in the country. Huge sums spent on the Abbey are apparent everywhere, from the facelift on the walls to the caves of the cellar, everything invoques the golden days of free peasant labour and the tithes.
Today the abbey’s business model is different. First of all the abbey folks were surprisinlgy friendly (or frightened) considering I was a gate crasher who broke into their office without an agreed appointment at the end of the working day. Whatever their reason they seemed keen to show me around the cellar, starting with the new oaks (they buy lots of them) of the red wine wing. Everything underground is spacious and clean (except the area of one of the steel tanks which was leaking giving away hectos of Pinot Noir per minute). I was so glad to be able to discuss the soil differences between Mosel and Pannonhalma instead of listening to the usual bullshit of winemakers that I forgot to spit after every sample but I didn’t mind.
Two things you should know about the wine. One is that Pannonhalmi Apátsági Pince embraced screw caps very early and have been using it for almost all of their wines and not just reductive ones. Other is that Rajnai reasling is also used to make a barrel selection for double the price and without some qualities the simple Rajani has. I found it way too oaky after 6 months in the new barrel. So below is the tasting notes of the naked Rajnai Rizling.
Pale lemon yellow with platinum reflections and tiny bubbles. The nose is delightfully crisp and acidic with hints of apple coming through. Indeed on the palate it’s sharp and crisp with a very exciting acidity, brilliantly accentuated around the mid-palate. What impresses most is that this excessive vibrant acidity within this small-bodied wine feels just right. The wine’s made more approachable by notes of apple and a chalky saltiness and I also like the minerally texture of it. It has an instant appeal that won’t change even when it gets warmer or more chilled.
Very good, obviously a bit one-dimensional wine but a must have piece. This wine was left in contact with the lee for three months and that’s fine but I’d be interested in what it would be like if left for a few weeks more.
I just finished off this bottle, left over from before yesterday. I don’t usually keep the bottle open for so long (why would I?), but after 2 days uncorked the wine’s still very good.
This Rajnai’s color is quite dull. But the nose is quite not so much. It’s salted chalky-mineral character is charming, with almond-marzipan notes and a veggie stock accent. Well rounded on the palate, a bit sweet (it’s semi-dry after all) with very subtle acidity which will be more accentueted after 2 hours. Full-bodied but light, elgant but it has a character too – a quite mineral one, with very ripe apple and hints of pear. Soft, silky texture, thirlling. Surprisingly short length. Mature wine, probably at its best.
Price: HUF 3 500
The Mór wine festival accidentally falls onto the same days as the more prestigious Villány and Tokaj wine festivals. The less known event however attracted a crowd this saturday that completely filled the streets despite the chilly wind. Mór offered them a street music festival combined with a typical Hungarian country street event (i.e. tons of unhealthy food, vattacukor and usual market crap) with families of all ages from the surrounding cities and villages and, to my biggest surprise, foreign visitors. I’ve heard French and English words, besides the German spoken by a band marching the streets dressed like… whatever (I believe however that these musical events and football games provide you with a unique opportunity to see man of all ages feeling good in their long white socks showing off. Skirts are just an extra here).
Anyway, I had to drink very quickly because my wife’s been fluttering like the kocsonya (missing from the menu, btw, and it’s a Hungarian food if you would be wondering, basically cold pork bone soup with pork leg in it) so I had no opportunity to discover the rule(s) which drive people to one winery’s quiosque and make them completely ignore others.
The Information stand however had a middle-aged lady who not only distributed brochures but knew all of the winemakers I asked her about by nickname (I didn’t, so I had to double-check them). I still missed Pontica.
Due to the strong wind and a rush, my tasting notes are very short and quite unreliable.
Miklóscsabi – Utazótáska, 2007
This Királyleányka has pale bright color, round acidity and crab apple and pie character on the palate, completed with residual sugar leaving a fresh impression.
Score: 3+, 4-
Bozóky – Leányka, 2007
Pale, almost transparent color with greenish reflexions. Less intense with less bitterness and acidity, but overall a pleasant wine.
Bozóky – Cuvée, 2007
Pale yellow with greenish reflexions, just like the Királyleányka and other Bozóky wines to follow. Bozóky is considered a major winery in Mór but even their cellar is quite small. The old lady who took care of the visitors was very friendly and responsive considering that they attracted most of the visitors interested in a tour in a local cellar. I never quite understood though how can people enjoy a glass of wine in a crowded, smelly room. These notes were taken outside of the building.
So the Cuvée has a similar pale tone as the others. It’s smoother with less acidity but with a more intense nose and flavors.
Bozóky – Ezerjó, 2006
Pale yellow color. More elegant than the others but still with a quite short finish. Better structure and better integrated even with a mineral undertone and an appealing cabbage-like finish.
Miklóscsabi – Haramia Cuvée, 2007
This semi-dry Cuvée is made of Tramini, Leányka and Pinot Blanc. It’s full-bodied compared to the previous ones and this late harvest character is dominant until the finish. It has a distinctive pale-brassy color. The residual sugar is supported by nice, round acidity. It has better structure than the Bozóky wines. A velvet-vanilla undertone complete the overall nice sensation.
Score: 5 points
Maurus – Leányka, 2007
Medium-pale golden color and floral notes on the nose. Well balanced with medium body, round acidity and long finish.
I have to note here that the Maurus wines have very nice labels. And although only the Ezerjó is produced by Kamocsay (on a total of 0,7 hectares) the wines to follow somehow have a common stylish element.
Score: 4 points
Maurus – Sauvignon Blanc, 2007
Remarkably nice onion-brassy color and nice, round acidity.
Maurus – Rajnai Rizling, 2007
Pale yellow with green-apple reflexions. On the palate oaky-vanilla notes maybe a little bit over the top. On the palate fruity elements and some residual sugar are supported by medium acidity. It’s a nice riesling with a long finish.
Maurus – Ezerjó, 2007
Pale bright yellow. On the palate complex aromas of vanilla, oak and floral notes with gooseberry and acacia elements and round acidity. A little bit sweeter than it should be for a dry wine.
Maurus – Chardonnay
Elegant wine with some oaky vanilla and appealing bitter acidity and a tobacco-like undertone.
Score: 6 points
I fell for the hype. Having read the enthousiastic review few days ago on amuva.hu, I did not hesitate too much and I eventually ended up buying the 2 last bottles in the shop. Because this wine is not widely available in Budapest and I bought these two in a bookstore (well, I bought 2 other bottles in their other store a bit farther the same day).
According to a short self-introduction in a hidden corner of the web, Zoltán Szabó is an experimental winemaker currently owning only 2 hectars having mainly Chardonnay, Riesling and Zöldveltelini, plus 10 (!) local varietals from the Kárpát-bassin. He even made Aszú from Riesling for a try.
I couldn’t say I did not have high expectations.
Bright lively hay color and lively moves in the glass.
It’s intense smell is an exotic mixture of fresh grass, minerals and flowers with a hint of tropical fruits, camilla and citrus. It’s almost like not only made of Riesling.
The taste is in sync with the smell but very quickly the acids wash away all other tastes. You have to wait more than an hour to enjoy more the taste and the wine to become a round, full-bodied (for a white) wine. But first citrus and peppermint are dominantand the acids provide a long finish. It also comes with a little bit of bubble sparkling.
Later the minerals become more palpable, almost dominant. At this moment it reminds me of Mandolás Furmint in style but wit more acid of course. Unfortunately the wine’s building blocks start to fall apart after only about 2 hours, but it’s still enjoyable.
For EUR 6, it’s a best buy. For those who like nice acids, this wine scores 0,5-1 points higher than for those who like a more balanced, round wine.
Price: EUR 6