“Only experience can create tradition”

We learnt this expression from Gyuri Lőrincz, and we use it regularly: only experience can create tradition. That’s how it became a tradition of ours that we ask our colleagues about their greatest experiences during our tastings and travels over the last 12 months. We are sharing ten of these again this year.

Kálmán Gábor Gyana Dániel Hartai Andrea Pihelevics Tibor Csűrös Csongor Belyó Petra Balogh Pisti Tóth Kriszta Rack Peti Reszler Csaba

59/61

Gábor Kálmán, Hegyvidék/MOM Park

2013 was more packed than a daring Géza Ipacs label and finished quicker than any overly short wine. With the latest wave of shop openings, we made the Hegyvidék our new home, we got to know this part of the city, and the customers recognise us on the street. In the morning and in the evening, there are the familiar clattering sounds of the 59 tram if I go to Hegyvidék, or the 61 if I go to Mom Park, and the two shops are already starting to have a history. In the meantime, we rediscovered Burgundy for the third time since the 2009 vintage. Our relationship is getting deeper, although Burgundy gets further and further away as it doesn’t surrender itself easily and every single new experience reinforces how little one knows about it. 2011 delivered excellent Burgundy, and the wines of the vintage are ready to enjoy, and their taste profile is so wide that we could hardly come up with enough adjectives to describe them. So, let’s drink Burgundy, because we mature to do so year after year.

 

Going upwards on the Füred slope
Dániel Gyana, Balatonfüred

In the mornings, I went to work on my father’s old bicycle – whizzing down the slope of the Füred hill. Gleaming sunshine, Balaton and wines. I arrived at the shop. More and more people came to us to buy wine, Nándi and myself wanted to give them experiences. After a long day, we tasted Figula’s 7ha. In every single detail of this wine there was some kind of magic that only Balaton can reveal. Other people have felt it and when they came back to pick up another bottle, they started talking about their summer experiences and about their lives. It has become a mutual memory with many people about the 2013 summer, and even though I rolled downhill every morning, with these stories the road took me higher and higher up.

 

Online winemaker

Andrea Hartai, online shop manager

I had a challenging year. To do well for my family and in my work, to edit a website and monthly newsletters equipped with a winemaking qualification, and to learn a completely new language full of strange characters (like <p>, </style>, <a href=”…>) after the language of winemaking and wine trading, well, that was quite a challenge. So, regardless of the season, nothing felt better than the, ever so fashionable, sparkling wines. My favourites of the year were the Sauska sparkling wines; the rosé and the white, although the order changed at times. A joyful ending to a hard day.

 

About deer and other important things
Tibor Pihelevics, Ráday utca

On the road to the Mátra, a huge billboard reads: Mátraalja is the region of aromatic, light wines. For me, Mátraalja and my year was about something completely different: full Pinot Noirs from Bálint Losonci and Péter Benedek; Bálint’s Furmint, which is an unusual grape variety in the region; and Chardonnay from the Veresföld by Attila Gábor Németh that made me reconsider everything I previously thought about 2010. I’m pretty certain we should keep an eye on Mátraalja, and not just because of the deer and light, fruity wines.

 

Tokaj is doing better

Csongor Csűrös, Lánchíd utca

I was full of anticipation when in October we left for Tokaj, since apart from a trip in secondary school, I’d never been there. We tasted the wines from 11 wineries over three days. As soon as the second day, I came to the conclusion that something enormous is shaping up there. Every winemaker was talking about the vineyards and the wine region passionately and respectfully. Everybody had their own vision about how things could be done even better, and what is evidently visible is that Tokaj really is doing better. One of my greatest experiences was tasting the Sauska 100 cuvée series. I would compare these wines (the 111, the 107 and the 105 cuvées) most readily to music. All of them have classical music in them, which makes them a tiny bit more difficult to digest, alongside modern pop music. These two things make these wines complete for me. Incredibly exciting and serious wines were created. István Szepsy’s 2012 estate wine is even more exciting and mineral than ever, because in 2012 he didn’t make any single-vineyard wines, so everything made it into his estate Furmint.

 

Umami

Petra Belyó, procurement coordinator

Every year, there is a film, a book, a video or a saying that captures our attention throughout the year, which shapes our way of thinking, and becomes part of our everyday life. It comes spontaneously and we don’t look for it, since it just pops up out of nowhere. We watched Jiro Dreams of Sushi together at the beginning of the year. There is a concept behind it: UMAMI, the “fifth flavour”, beside sweet, sour, savoury and bitter. The feeling caused by this flavour is so overwhelming and enchanting. It’s in such harmony that one can only say “aahhh”. It’s like clicking one’s fingers after a cool beer in the middle of the summer. At one of our weekly tastings, a colleague of ours shouted out, “well, this is Umami!” From that moment on, it became a byword of ours and when we feel the umami factor with a given wine, we know without questioning it that we are dealing with something exceptional. And what was the biggest “aaahhh” for me this year? Pannonhalmi Sauvignon Blanc Válogatás 2012: that was the umami of the umamis. It’s explosive, zesty and uplifting. Then there was the 2011 vintage of Franz Weninger’s wines, whereby I started believing that biodynamism truly brings me closer to nature through wine. The Heimanns 2009 Birtokbor (Estate wine) or St. Andrea’s Mythos – I’ve rarely tasted such beautifully bottle-aged, yet lively, flavoursome reds. Tasting Balassa’s Mézes-Mály Furmint 2011, I do believe that Tokaj is among the best. And where not only the wine but also the experience was umami: sampling the base wine for Márkvárt Ezerötös Cuvée 2012 freshly from the tank, right before the “Lada 1500 gorge rally”.

 

The Bocor takes it all

István Balogh, Szeged

This year was about lasting experiences with the Szeged team. We retasted many wines, but even more new and special experiences made it into our glasses. We started the year with Weninger’s Kékfrankos, and we have been offering it with such a warm heart as the wine itself has, ever since. In the summer, Zsuzsa joined our team and at the same time our selection became richer with the addition of several more Balaton wineries. The summer evenings were spent in the name of Olaszrizling and we managed to conjure up a bit of Balaton in Szeged. Gellavilla, Sabar, Káli Kövek – all became favourites, and we also learnt why Ambrus Bakó became the “Count” of Olaszrizlings. We retasted the 2009 cuvées in the autumn – and we valued the vintage even more.  Zoli Günzer’s Bocor was our favourite here, the “one that beats all-comers”. We are looking forward enthusiastically to the winter together, as a team.

 

 

It’s really in the wine

Krisztina Tóth, graphic designer

In 2013, I realised that the soul of the winemaker is really in the wine. Dani Konyári’s sensitivity and depth in the Jánoshegyi Kékfrankos, Imre Györgykovács’s humbleness towards work and unconditional love of the grapes in his Furmint. I really like his label, as well. Based on his rosé, I can believe János Márkvárt is a special man – and so say they who’ve met him – and I feel like getting to know him. In all of Ambrus Bakó’s wines, I can feel his precision and perfectionism, and although I wouldn’t expect it, they always lift me up. From Frigyes Bott’s Granum, it becomes obvious how passionately Frigyes loves what he’s doing. And they are only a few examples. 

 

There are lots of serious wines and more and more good ones

Péter Rack, Parlament

Although I wouldn’t call myself a senior Bortársaság member, even before joining the team I did already have a good idea about Hungarian flavours, styles and this further developed, even if it didn’t change completely. There are lots of serious wines and more and more good ones. 2013 for me was about getting more familiar with foreign wines. You may stumble upon incredible flavours, varieties and styles if you dare to experiment; just take a Rioja or a Rhone blend or – one doesn’t have to go that far – an Austrian Blaufrankish. My experiments were significantly helped by those events, from the Burgundy vintage overview to the New World one, where we could encounter loads of miracles this year. On top of that during the summer, came the southern France (Sacha Lichine) summer contingent, then half a year later, the Chilean rosé pioneer and in November the latest Beaujolais. One should just be able to take so much in.

 

Árkád, I love

Csaba Reszler, Árkád

When I was first asked to join the team of the shop in Árkád, I was slightly apprehensive. OMG I thought, what was I going to do in a shopping mall? Then, after moving and the first few days, I got more and more sucked in by the new shop. So many people were interested in us and so happy for us that the several boxes of grapes we brought from the Mátra to give as a gift, ran out in two days. I became a father of a “big family” in September, and together with the Árkád shop, a fourth kid has joined the family. On top of that, with wines like Weninger’s 2011 Syrah and Frigyes Bott’s Kadarka, child rearing is a true experience. We try about a 100 bottles of wine together every month. We selected the nicest from our November tastings in order to be able to give everyone a colourful offer for the advent and the holidays, from the flavoursome new wines to the limited availability Beaujolais Crus.