István Balassa – Tokaj

“I’m going to have seven szamorodnis from 2017. Nobody has ever done such a thing.”

We meet at an unusual place, on the edge of Tokaj, next to the main road. “I thought I’d show you. This is my new project,” starts István. A shiny floor, fermentation tanks, immaculate cleanliness, strong aromas – but no, this isn’t István’s cellar. It’s not that easy to get in there. We’re standing in a brewery, currently trial brewing is going on and we’re chewing on hops and malt. István doesn’t talk much, and we don’t spend much time in there, since we came because of the wine. We sit on the plateau and then we’re off to István’s open-air office, on the Szent-Tamás.   

 

2017

I’m enthusiastic. The vintage gave lively wines and we have serious aromas. Of course, it’s a question how long these aromas will stay with us for, but if we look at the acid content, they will be long-lived wines. In the case of the sweets, there’s a hunch that it is reminiscent of the 2003 vintage, both in aszú and szamorodni. In 2017, I made eight single-vineyard dry wines, one late harvest, seven szamorodni and two aszú wines. If we’re talking about sweet wines, I’d without question choose the Betsek Vineyard. However, according to my current knowledge, no vineyard knows more that the Szent Tamás in terms of dry wine.