Sauska Cuvée 11 2012

“Climate change is seemingly reaching us too. 2012 was an exciting year full of menacing twist and turns, the end of the world seemed upon us, like a proper Scandinavian crime story. Up until March, our hearts stopped beating once or twice because of shocks in the vineyard: the extremely mild January weather was followed by such a severe freeze in February that in the Kopár we had to nurse the stems back to health as the parts of the stems not covered by the snow were completely frozen. Despite this, the start of spring went well and there were no delays with only a few wet days to report. However, right at the time of bud burst, exactly on Easter Monday, sub-zero temperatures caused considerable damage in several locations. Then, the rainy and cool May was accompanied by strong winds precisely at the time of flowering, which was subsequently extended. In the case of sensitive varieties, things were worse than anticipated. However, things continued nicely afterwards; from the end of May, warm summer days followed.

Then, for a change, summer didn’t want to cease, not even ease off a bit in the form of some soothing summer rain. And when it did come, it brought hail. Of course, we also got some of it, on the Villány vineyards. Indeed, how great it is to have some smaller parcels dotted around the wine region. However, we also know in these cases that nature adjusts and makes up for the shortfall. That’s how it happened. Development proceeded evenly with the mid- and late- ripening varieties. We also managed to control the prevalent fungal diseases.

Unfortunately, the early-ripening varieties were damaged by the shortage of water in the hot summer period, which brought about a very early harvest. Contrary to 2011, we didn’t have to wait 15-17 days between the pre- and main harvests. The base wines for the big wines also arrived earlier since wherever we looked we found grapes that were ready to be picked. Even so, we did our best to define the optimal picking times. Nevertheless, we had harvested all our plots by October 5. Despite the slightly difficult start, in the cellar we consider the quality of the new vintage as optimal.”

László Latorczai, winemaker, Villány

Varieties: Kékfrankos (32%); Syrah (22%); Cabernet Sauvignon (20%); Merlot (15%); Cabernet Franc (11%).

Areas:  Siklós (Diósviszló and Zuhánya) 65%, Villány (Ördögárok and Kopár, plus the plots around the winery) 35%.

Wine making:

- Hand selection of the pre-chilled bunches followed by selection of the berries by machine and hand.
- The clean and healthy berries were macerated separately by variety for three days in cooled fermenting tanks and then inoculated yeast was added.
- The whole contact time with the skins was 25 to 30 days, during that time punch-down and pump over was carried out.
- After pressing, complete malolactic fermentation occurred in the barrels.
- Aged for 13 months, 70% in used, 30% in new French barrels.

Now it’s like this:

Dark claret colour with purple tints. Spices, violet, plum, fig, lemongrass and mint on the layered nose with discreet cocoa and even more discreet oak. We love the simultaneous coolness and spiciness on the palate. A nicely structured and velvety palate that’s playful, vibrant and not at all exhausting. Owing to the vintage, it’s more airy than its predecessor, so there is a lot more pleasure to be found in it already as a young wine.