1758 and Instagram

We are standing in the Baranya-völgy with Zoltán Heimann Jnr., on the beautiful plateau of red clay and loess terraces, and everybody is speaking in superlatives. And then what does Zoli, who has been travelling around the world for nine years working around and learning about wine, then go and say? “In our wines, the style is not so much about the vineyards but the quality of the vineyards. With this terroir, the human factor is the most important aspect. Sorry, I’ve got a cold. I have a quad bike and I took mum to the vineyard to taste the ripening grapes, without a hat on…,” is how Zoli starts the conversation. With a nasal twang.

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Is Szekszárd love?

Yes. We’re not blessed with perfect endowments, but we have endowments that are great to live with. What this wine region is about is shaping up here and now. It’s an exciting place where among my family and the other winemakers, I can be part of the reinterpretation. For many years, I was learning what it was like living everywhere else. Now I’m learning what it’s like to live in Szekszárd.

 

The 1758 traditions?

They are important. Dad built everything on them here, on the top of Iván-völgy. He reformulated our family’s German-Swabian traditions. That’s how he built up this estate with granddad and mum. I’ve been lucky to have been able to show this tradition through our wines in several places around the world and could build up self confidence similar to that of my Swabian granddad. It’s great to be proud of “Heimann-ness”.

 

Inspiration?

Roland Velich in the Burgenland and his Blaufrankish wines, Dirk Niepoort’s wines and those of several other idols who I’ve had the opportunity to get to know. However, it was actually Roland Velich who once said that everyone should do their own homework. That’s why it’s great to be in Szekszárd. I’m new here, trying to figure out things and coming up with new ideas. My mum, our “main winemaker” and my dad “the strategist” cool me down when I get carried away a bit. In the morning over coffee, we already talk about wine, and in the evening, along with dinner we open a bottle of wine. Sometimes it’s our own, but nowadays we’re trying more of other people’s. That’s where we get inspiration from. My respect towards my parents is followed by a series of conflicts, and eventually there’s the making up when a wine is created out of the three of us working together.

 

Kadarka? Kékfrankos? Bikavér?

In this order. Kadarka and Kékfrankos represent the greatest challenges but also provide the largest space for creation. Many people have made their big wines from international varieties. However, it’s incredible what people make from Kékrankos a few hundred kilometres away from here, in Burgenland. Here, it also has value which we should endeavour to show day after day. On top of that, it’s a perfect ingredient for blending: Kékfrankos adds a lot to our Barbár for example. There’s a lot more to it than we think of today. Kadarka is a different question: I wouldn’t say that it runs through our veins, as many people seem to believe, although based on my experiences until now, it’s the most exciting game with its own set of difficulties. It’s a game into which my parents, for example, have put a lot of energy via variety experiments. In short, I returned to inspirational surroundings beside the inspirational wines, and it’s this to which I try to add what I learnt in Geisenheim, Montpellier, Bordeaux, Udine and at the foreign harvests.

 

Are you driving them nuts?

Sometimes. The toolkit is different, but by now we share a calendar, mum is on Instagram and she’s doing it fine. I put our barrels into a system which they already use. I learn a lot from their knowledge, from that of our viticulturist, even though I only spend a fraction of the time in the vineyard that I would love to. I have a quad bike that fits between the rows perfectly. But I’ve already told you that. I got a cold on that.