Konyári: “I trust the Szerecsen”

We tasted the new Konyári wines: the 2012 Szerecsen, the new Jánoshegy Kékfrankos and the Syrah, at the beginning of February. János is in South Africa with the grandkids, Dani and his two colleagues are fining the wines in the cellar while outside winter is still in full throttle on Kishegy. No wonder the dog wants to come in, but Dani doesn’t let him. Things are getting serious in Balatonlelle, from every aspect.

Konyári Dániel Konyári Dániel Konyári Dániel Konyári Dániel Konyári Dániel Konyári Dániel

We started with one and a half hectares in 1999, and we’ve been trying to catch up with ourselves ever since. We came up with the idea of the winery from out of the blue and at that time we saw 18 hectares as the top of the ceiling. Within a few years we went up to 40 hectares but the cellar didn’t expand. Accordingly, we can only work efficiently if we keep great order in the cellar.

The wine is made in inspirational surroundings in this beautiful region. The garden of the press house and guesthouse has just been made a local environmental protection area, with bee-eater nests occupying the loess walls of the road leading up to Kishegy. I argue quite a lot with dad, but in the meantime we get the maximum out of each other. The life experience and energy of a 62-year-old and a 36-year-old man challenges each other. Different stages of life, different ways of thinking but a mutual aim. It works surprisingly efficiently.


The good thing about it is that everything changes around us, and we try to adapt to it with loads of conscious effort. 2011 was very hot but the grapes could live healthily from the previous year’s rain. In 2012 we needed to counterbalance the lack of water. In both years we started picking the grapes very early on, in August, harvesting and selected the grapes in many stages.


Other people talk so much about wine that it often gets boring. We don’t produce ideologies alongside the wine, we don’t want to be the ones who tell you the secret. We just want to make proper wine according to the best of our knowledge. And we do it while constantly learning and adapting to the nuances of the vintages, to the old experiences and contemporary ideas. When we have time we visit the wine regions of the world, keeping an eye on developments but avoiding trendy fads when we can. We try to build our own style from values.


For me Bordeaux has always been the benchmark. I was 16 when I went there for the first time. Not a single day goes by without me thinking about it, even though since then I’ve been to, studied and worked in several wine regions. Bordeaux is my real first love. The way of thinking there, the style there is part of my every day work.


Then there is Szerecsen. It started out as a Balaton red in my head. Dad came up with the name. We said if we’re going to have a fruity ‘entry’ wine, then let’s make it in the most proper way. The majority of it is Kékfrankos with a bit of Merlot, aged in big ászok barrels for four months. It became a wine of longevity and we managed to keep the good acid spine beside the flavoursome, juicy fruits even in this crazily hot year.


The grapes grow on a low cordon – we’ve returned to this from stake cultivation on Jánoshegy as well. Of course, it’s a less romantic approach but what is more important is to make sure we get the best wine from our knowledge, from the place of growth.


The Jánoshegyi Kékfrankos was made in line with the same approach from our most exciting plot. Jánoshegy looks exactly how a grape hill should look, just like in the aforementioned Bordeaux. When I grow old, I’m going to build a wooden hut there, next to the forest, and I’m going to fry bacon in front of it. It’s a joy to go out to that place, which is looked after so nicely together with the Léglis. Our Kékfrankos, which was planted from German clones, grows on the southern end of the slope, at the end of the forest in diverse sandstone and clay soils. We select the bunches from the vines and then on the selecting table. This is followed by crushing and destemming, and then soaking on the skins for two weeks. The wine ferments in big wooden “kácis” [large wooden tanks that look like half a barrel], then ages in 5-hectolitre barrels for 11 months.


The most favoured is Syrah now. It’s the yield of a tiny, altogether 1.4 hectare plot on Öreghegy. We really fell for this variety: during the last six years, it has proven that it also has a place in the region. The warm years like ’09 and 11 suit it perfectly.