Frigyes Bott 2011

Frigyes Bott and his family live next door and we sometimes drop in to visit them. We only have to drive to the other side, over the green Mária Valéria bridge at Esztergom, then turn right at the first hill. Anyone who does it once will long to go back. “Gentle hills, honest people, beautiful rivers, and in a dry year ‘may green’ grapes even when October is approaching. With the only exception being kadarka”, a smiling Frigyes shows us, “because that’s rumpled and gets rusty. But we also need one like this for Muzsla.

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Let’s make it clear for once and all: what’s the name of the wine region we are standing in?

Earlier it belonged to Ászár-Neszmély, officially it’s South-Slovakia but we prefer to call it the Garam-menti (next to the Garam) wine region. That most eloquently describes this small region, which is dissected by rivers.


You’re a practical man, yet you always speak with emotion…

Look around here. Not just at my place, but across the landscape and the surrounding villages. We are standing in a place with a great past, on the grape estate of the archbishop of Esztergom. It’s a beautiful area with good people living here. It’s impossible not to fall in love with this region.


You often talk about Wachau and Alsace…

Because that’s the goal. Their togetherness, professional standards, the quality of their Riesling (Rajnai Rizling), and the incredible conscientiousness that comes across from these regions sets an example for us to follow. I would like to create something similar here regarding wine, gastronomy, and maybe also in relation to the standard of living. The basics are given, though what are also required are wisdom and patience.


You work with 9.5 hectares…

We farm as well, which is very important, but what we do is rather about trying to live together with the place. We get to know the parcels and the varieties. We’ve been attempting to find synergies from choosing the grape varieties to the way of producing, to choosing the mangalica pigs from my friend at Ipolyszalka and the pumpkins that provide our pumpkinseed oil.


What are the main indications concerning 2011?

We’ve found our style and now we’re only carrying out the fine tuning. Everything depends on the harvest: 20 to 21 must degrees, 13% alcohol, ripe but not overripe fruit, and tight acids. We ferment spontaneously in used 5-hectolitre barrels, which means for 3-4 months in the case of Riesling, while at other times it’s 3-4 weeks. That’s where we age them too. It’s all done simply, traditionally and purely in small quantities, with 2-3,000 bottles made.


It’s the end of September now, and the harvest will soon be finished.

Riesling and the Kékfrankos this morning at dawn in the cold. That’s why my hands are so black now. We will press the grapes in whole bunches at Révkomárom at noon. After the 2011, the 2012 vintage will also be an incredibly good vintage.