Balázs Káli – Szentbékálla

We are making our way to Szentbékálla, the route is winding upwards from Road 77: in front of us is the highest volcanic peak, Feketehegy; on the right is the Árpád-era Töttöskál church; on the left a sea of rocks with the bluish green of the Balaton behind.
It’s springtime, and even if it’s still raining in Balatonfüred, Szentbékálla remains true to itself: the sun shines here for 2,000 hours annually. We are in the right place, at the right time. In front of one of the last houses, Balázs Káli is waving at us to come this way. This is when we are truly in our best spirits, and when we enter the cellar, we know we are not mistaken. Balázs is composed, calm and smiley and from tank to tank, we taste the Tramini, the Olaszrizling and the Chardonnay.

Káli Balázs Káli Balázs Káli Balázs

Out of nothing…
“I started with my dad in 2009. We converted the two small stables into the winery. We built a double wall for it. We have no technology, only a few ideas of our own that can fit into such a small cellar.”

 

Terroir
“Above us, Fekete-hegy protects the village and the vineyard. Pure basalt. We have old vine plots that we nicely restored. Now, we’re starting to work on the small cellars next to the Töttöskál church.”

 

Handyman
“The more natural, the better. As I’ve mentioned I have no technology, I only use clean plastic tanks in the cellar. Now, I can even cool them. I constantly ponder how I can make the wines pure. I’m developing but everything is on a small scale, so that I still have enough room. My father drives the tractor, my wife helps in the cellar, and I’m the grape grower, the winemaker and the cellar worker as well.”

 

Yesterday
“Our family has been living in this house in Szentbékkála since 1830, even the coat of arms is a big cluster of grapes that is carried by two vine-dressers. I’m a winemaker for a living; this is the profession I learnt at home and at school as well.”

 

Tomorrow
“I’m open to new things – now for example, an orange wine is fermenting in one of the tanks. I use screw caps, and I seek new plots around the village but only those with healthy, old vines.”

 

Patent
We came out of the cellar with this word. In Hungarian it means that it’s small yet everything still fits into it. You can make a virtue out of your limitations. The wines are really okay, too. We are introducing three now, then we will have a think about the packaging of two with Kriszta, our graphic designer, and those will arrive at the beginning of the summer, too.