Champagne & Sparkling Wine World Championships
The competition has been organised for the ninth year, and this year a record number of almost a thousand sparkling wines from 21 countries were entered. During the 12-day blind tasting and evaluation process, 147 gold and 249 silver medals were awarded, with several sparklers from Sauska, Carassia and Kreinbacher among the recipients.
Blanc de Blancs Brut
When it comes to traditional method sparkling wine, it’s entirely evident that inspiration comes from Champagne. It starts with the varieties, then continues with the technology, the pressing, and continues with the blending. And there are only a few wine styles in which blending plays such a key role. Finding the best balance between the two Pinot varieties and the Chardonnay is a nice task. It’s even nicer if this balance is found with only one variety by the winemaker. That’s what a fine Blanc de Blancs is like.
Egri Csillag 2021
When the wine is worth more by itself than the seven varieties that it was made from. Tibor Gál has been thinking in terms of blends instead of single-varietal wines for a long time, and in the case of the Egri Csillag the aim is an elegant, fruit-forward world.
St. George Cuvée 2020
George, Robert Gilvesy’s well-conceived blend, takes you closer to the essence of Szent György Hill. This is the second vintage, with the same base: organic grapes, 100% from Szent György Hill, with varieties that are typical of the place of growth. Riesling, Olaszrizling and Furmint, with the latter two harvested and spontaneously fermented together.
Ezerötös Cuvée 2020
Vibrant, no-frills, infinitely original. That's what Jani Márkvárt is like – a real local force from Szekszárd, far from the bustling world of wine festivals and Instagram, close to the everyday work in the vineyard, to the tangible things. In the cellar, above all, he is driven by real solutions and tried-and-tested methods, he works among walls hollowed by his own hands, with old barrels and distinctive wines.
Szél Rosé 2021
The brightest among the new wines of the Sebestyéns is the rosé called Szél (i.e. wind), which has been built on Bikavér components. “This wine stirred up our usual rosé world,” says Csilla Sebestyén. Experimentation started with tasting fuller, more complex Provence rosés, which was followed by a three-year long trial, and eventually, the estate’s first more seriously-toned rosé was made in 2021.
Vespres and La Florens
Last year, for the first time, we wrote about the Catalan winemaker, who swept us off our feet with a bottle sent anonymously. The label and the shape of the bottle were both indicative of the sophistication, but on tasting the wine we clearly felt that whoever made it takes their work seriously.
New arrivals from Chablis
It’s the time of these taut, citrusy acidity rarities. The close neighbour of Champagne and Burgundy’s furthest outpost is Chablis – a tiny and frosty region with stubborn French winemakers. The defining basis of the vineyards here is the Kimmeridge limestone, a compact mixture made up by clay and oyster fossils, which is one of the most valuable soils on which Chardonnay grows.
Short drinks that are easy to get excited about
Secret spices and organic fruits. Unique procedures and special, long ageing techniques. Old stories and new trends – sealed in the spirits. As with the wines, we look for something extra when tasting gins, vodkas, rums or other spirits. Now we have found some again, in which the engaging story meets a unique character.
In the right place at the right time
Every year, we first taste Gyula Szabó’s new wines at the end of January or at the beginning of February. This is when the big table of the Köveskál wine bar is packed with unlabelled bottles containing barrel and tank samples.