István Balassa - Tokaj

Tokaj 2015 vintage report

"Only 2013 was even better than this”


I regard it as an outstanding vintage, similar to 2011 – only 2013 was even better than this. The time of the harvest comes earlier every year. Ten years ago, we started picking the grapes a month later than now – and we have to be prepared for further warming. By altering yield control, we can somewhat influence the ripening process of the grapes. I’m going to have nine dry wines from 2015: the Bomboly, the Nyúlászó, the Thurzó, the Mézesmály, the Betsek trilogy and the two Betsek Hárslevelűs. And for a sweet there is the Villő.


Bomboly and Balassa – the east side. Why exactly this vineyard, what does the Bomboly know?

With its 120 hectares, this is the largest vineyard in Tokaj-hegyalja. Earlier, the plan was that by swelling up the Mály stream, they would create an artificial lake here, thus inducing botrytis in the region. The whole of Bomboly can be split into three parts, out of which I have 2.7 hectares on its eastern side. It’s on the eastern side but it’s exposed to the west, it’s a strongly mineral plot: andesite, quartz, rhyolite and zeolite. The reason I fell for it was because this is the place from where I can get such homogenous raw material, which is perfect for producing dry wines from. Together with this, the Balassa estate grew to 10 hectares, out of which seven are producing.