Being on the road is happiness – Dániel ‘Kerouac’ Konyári

February felt horribly long, and then one day we went to Balatonlelle where the temperature was 16 degrees Celcius. There was snow in Pest, but there we found snowdrops growing. We talked to Dani Konyári on the terrace about Kékfrankos, travelling and family. No big stories or far-fetched ideologies. Just Kékfrankos, Malbec, Syrah and Páva. 

The Team

We are a family winery; dad and myself. We are not an average winery with an average way of operating: I’m the estate manager and cellar worker rolled into one, here in Lelle, which is possibly one of the most beautiful places on earth. I talk a lot about our wines with dad these days. We argue, make it up and develop. In the meantime, me and my colleague, Lehel, do all the work together, from the point that the grapes arrive from the neighbouring hills to the new wine being bottled. 

The varieties

Most wineries strive to have a smaller selection. We have a wide one, which is entirely deliberate. We are a family winery; it’s only natural that we don’t always agree about everything, which is also shown in the diversity of our wines. We work with 20 varieties, out of which 15 are there just to add spice or are experiments, while five are our real loves. A mix of international and Carpathian Basin varieties, even varieties such as Carménère, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Syrah, or for white, dad’s favourite – Semillon. I’m more into red wine. I like Cabernet Sauvignon a lot, but Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Kékfrankos are also important. We’ve been working with our German Kékfrankos (Blaufränkish or Lemberger) clone since 2006; I brought the first grafts here in the boot of the car. We love that variety. Malbec and Syrah were more dad’s idea. Here, we have a smaller plot of about half a hectare and they’ve been made as blends before, but now we’ve separated the two French varieties. Currently, the Syrah is showing its nicest side, but of course opinions also differ regarding this within the family. 

The labels

We are the same with the labels: everybody has their own opinion and almost every wine has its own label. Their vibe and colour schemes characterise the wine; they are in harmony. I’m not sure if they are with each other. We are cool about it.

Facebook

We were probably born at the wrong time. We are not active electronically. Instead of the expressions, ‘post’ and ‘upload’, words like pressing, fining and tasting are the words we use, even around the table. A bigger news imprint won’t make a wine better. It has to stand its ground by itself. If people like it, it’s good. It won’t be any better just for being posted online.

Páva

Páva is the dearest for us at the moment. It’s a beautiful, full-bodied red wine with spicy, rich aromas. The Cabernet Sauvignon elegantly dominates it. Dad and I travel abroad a lot – we taste, we learn, we get to know stuff. Bordeaux had a great impact on me during my work period abroad and I really like this region. I would be really happy if someone said that our Páva is a nice Bordeaux.     

Being on the road

As I said, we live and work in one of the nicest places in the world. It’s a natural reserve. When I look around, I can see birds everywhere. During such a cold winter they eat as many as 120 to 150 kilos of sunflower seeds on the terrace of the cellar. Nevertheless, dad and I always long to be away. If I could, I’d travel all the time and it’s almost irrelevant to where. Being on the road is happiness. 

 

It remains in the family

1 family, 3 wineries: we drew up who makes the wine with whom and what the connections are between the 3 South Balaton wineries.

 1. Favourite variety as a grape? 

Bori: Riesling from old vines.

Dani: The two Sauvignons – the Blanc and the Cabernet.

János: Olaszrizling.

 

2. Favourite variety in wine?

Bori: The Bordeaux blend varieties.

Dani: The same as with grapes.

János: Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

3. A memorable wine that springs to mind?

Bori: Pintia 2011. Sometimes we do wine tastings in our guesthouse, which are always organised around a theme. Even though we do these with friends, we seriously taste the complete line-up blind. These bring me memories for life.

Dani: Three. Chateau Lafite 2005, Pintia 2011, Cos d’Estournel Blanc 2015.

János: Pintia 2011, Vega Sicilia. Valbuena 2010.

 

4. Favourite area?

Bori: Kishegy, mostly Késa’s new plantation.

Dani: János-hegy, because of the Kékfrankos.

János: Kishegy.

 

5. Which Konyári wine would you take home today?

Bori: Loliense.

Dani: Páva.

János: Madonna.

 

6. Favourite pastime?

Bori: Horse riding or going to Kishegy with the family and the horses.

Dani: Travelling.

János: Travelling.

 

7. A film, the first that comes into your mind?

Bori: Gran Torino.

Dani: O Brother, Where Art Thou? – by the Coen brothers.

János: Amélie.

 

8. Best music?

Bori: I love everything but if I have to choose then genuine southern blues.

Dani: I went with Bori’s husband, Emil, to Kiev by train to see the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and to see the Beastie Boys in Zamárdi.

János: Szalonna és bandája and Chuck Berry.

 

9. Best place on Earth?

Bori: Andalúzia, Jerez de la Frontera.

Dani: There are heaps of best places on earth and that’s why one has to travel.

János: Nyíracsád.

 

10. Where would you like to be now the most?

Bori: I wouldn’t be anywhere else.

Dani: Anywhere where the sun shines and the typical vegetation is not made up of frost flowers. Please drop me of at Ferihegy airport on your way back.

János: Anywhere where you can be in swimming trunks.