Füligér – winemaker Csaba Miklós from Mór

Fifteen years ago, we got a phone call from a friend, Géza Ipacs, a graphic artist from Eger, who suggested that together we should go to Verona, to Vinitaly, to taste wine, to check out the labels and get some inspiration. One of his friends, a really cool flower merchant, who had a tiny cellar in Mór, also came along. When we were about to leave, a huge smile and a pair of black-framed glasses welcomed us in the car: he was Csabi Miklós, and his smile lasted for three days. And still it lasts, even though we are quizzing him in the sun, in front of the cellar.

Swabian grape tales from Mór

Where we stand now stood the first cellar in Mór, which was built in 1696 when the first seven Swabian families arrived in Moor, meaning the moor. This is because back then a swampy valley stretched out here under Vénhegy, from the west of the Vértes and the east of the Bakony. The real development then started with Maria Teresa: the monarch guaranteed to buy up the wines for the royal court from the Germans who were settled here. Thus, our white wines became more famous on the ‘other side’ than on this side. I’m happy that we can still make our wines here in these limestone cellars.

 

Dad, Zsolti and me

Essentially, there are three of us: my dad, who is still a fireman but also looks after the grapes on our seven hectares; my colleague Zsolti Eisenberger, who is responsible for the cellar; and I’m in charge of everything, I try to do my best with unceasing enthusiasm with everything from the grapes and the wines to the catering. If the work gets too much, then my sister Kata helps out. She’s a teacher but she’s also really good at catering and we really need that here: 1,500 people visited our wine bar last year and luckily a good chunk of them are locals.


 

 

Hard-hearted and more trust

When I bought the cellar, old Trostmehr, whose name in Swabian means literally ‘more trust’, didn’t ask me who I was but what my grandmother’s name was. When he heard the name Ágnes Schweighardt [hard-hearted], he was already smiling. He let me in to take a look. People from here laughed at me behind my back for buying the tiny, wet, old cellar. I think it was a good idea because everything started from here.

 

Seven hectares, eight varieties

When we talk about grapes, then it’s Ezerjó for me, because it’s diverse, exciting and it’s ours. After phylloxera, the Swabian farmers in Mór chose this variety for themselves. And if we talk about vineyards, it’s the Kőhalmi, where I’m just planting Riesling now, under the old limestone mine. Since I bought the nicest plot next to the ‘exploding house’ as they call it here, nobody laughs at me in the pub, they only nod in the Swabian way. The soil is pure dolomite and limestone, close to the surface. The sun shines on it, it has perfect water retention capacity, and it’s windy and open, though still protected by the hill. But what’s even more important is that it’s stunningly beautiful. I’ll build my house here sometime, if the opportunity rises. It’s a place to raise kids, not just grapes. I grew up in the vineyard. In California, I learnt how to work and also how to be happy. I drove a crappy, old and beautiful Ford tractor, but I did it on the coast, next to the ocean. It was such a great feeling that I brought back my smile from there to here.


 

 

There is also enough love

The grapes, the flowers, my partner and catering. And also two Vizslas. Life is good for them. I’m not just a bartender at home, I also have to give my best at DiVino. I commute a lot between Budapest, Mór and Székesfehérvár, but I don’t mind. Our ancestors chose a beautiful place here at the foot of the Vértes to find their home. It’s good to come home here. I studied viticulture and oenology, flowers were just a diversion. We’ve been bottling wine since 2004. In 2007, Bortársaság bought the first Nirvana. In fact, I was still a flower merchant in Eger back then, but since 2009 I’ve been living in Mór again.

 

I should be a grown-up by now

… but I think I might never be. Especially as long as I have friends like Géza Ipacs, with whom I created our labels and the image. Some of the names still work both ways: Ezerjó for example is a miracle for me. First, it was called Csoda [miracle] because me and my dad said it was a miracle that we didn’t blow it. Today, with every move and every decision we make, we seek to make a miracle out of our Ezerjó. Depending on the vintage, it ferments spontaneously or with wild yeast culture in barrels, in order to make it as rich as possible. The Füligér should always put a smile on our faces. It’s pure fruit, pure joy – that’s the most important thing about it. The Riesling is a real spaceship wine: it can take you anywhere. But my favourite this year is the Zöldveltelini [Grüner Veltliner]. It’s taut, zesty, distinctive and pristinely pure, and most importantly it shows where we come from and where we’re heading to.