János Márkvárt 

“Dr Miklós Illyés is my friend. He’s got a vineyard in the Porkolábvölgy of just over three hectares where they organically cultivate the vines perfectly. They don’t train them, they look after them. Miklós has a theory which I more and more tend to believe in, which says that spraying for the vines is just like antibiotics for people. And that’s certainly not beneficial in the long run. I do everything on a small scale, Miklós in the Porkolábvölgy does it on an even smaller scale. They do the punching down in vats, press in a small Kossuth press, then bottle their Kadarkas barrel by barrel by hand – I mean what the deer have left to them. I hope we’ll celebrate next Christmas in the neighbouring Gyűszűvölgy. I won’t spray the grapes there either, because if everything goes well, by then, we’ll have to look after the health of three children under the Christmas tree.”

 

Frigyes Bott

It’s very easy: my favourite variety is Hárslevelű. Stéphanie and Zsolt Berecz have been dealing with this variety like nobody else from the start. The familiarity and success of the variety is due to them. We taste loads of Hárs and the Kikelet wines are always outstanding. We often open them, even on weekdays, with Zsuzsa and my older son, often alongside our own Hárslevelű. Two places of growth, different soils, differing styles. It’s hugely exciting tasting them together. On special occasions, it’s not only their Hárslevelű that flows well but also Stéphanie’s Szamorodni. Now, that’s also an international hit.”

 

Imre Györgykovács

“Twenty plus years ago I went up to a man with big hair and asked him, “Are you Vesztergombi, the Winemaker of the Year? Because I would like to bottle some of my wines and I could do with some help on how to do it.” “No, I’m Mihály Figula,” said the man with big hair and that was the start of a real friendship. He also said that his wife, Edit, works in a lab in Balatonfüred. Since then I’ve taken all my wines to Edit whenever they’re ready and I’ve never had any problems when I did the lab analysis there. Misi has since been charming the angels with his jokes and I’m really glad his two sons carried on the winery. During the festive season Gyöngyi, myself and the family drink the wines of those who are kind and nice to us, and the Figulas are like that. What’s more, they make a very good red wine.”

 

Bálint Losonci 

“The fact that I ended up in Mátraalja is fundamentally thanks to my friend, László Alkonyi. At Borbarát wine magazine, he encouraged me to do winemaking, if possible, in Tokaj. As I was travelling because of the magazine, I fell for the Mátraalja and I got stuck there. I also owe my first ever and still the most determining trip abroad, to Vega Sicilia in Spain, to Laci Alkonyi. The professionalism, respect for tradition and preparedness I experienced there still has an impact on me. Because of this memory I often taste the Vega wines. Pintia is one of my favourites as I can taste a top wine that is affordable even for a small producer. The River Duero, the bush vine cultivation, the old vines are all details that one can easily fall in love with. That’s what a festive wine is for me.”

 

Ottó Légli 

“I really like Zoltán Demeter’s wines. He plays among a serious field but he’s got a good sense of humour. He’s got a serious attitude towards wine and he’s also shown the same seriousness with sparkling wines. The 2013 Brut from Furmint is a hit from several aspects. Those who know me are familiar with the fact that sparkling wine is part of our everyday lives and that Furmint as a variety has also been exciting for me for a long time. As I say, we drink sparkling wine whenever we can, but on Christmas Eve before dinner with my family – when the occasion of giving each other the gifts gives the opportunity for a long and good conversation – alongside Bogi’s avocado sardines and my sliced steak tartar, we open a good few bottles of sparkling wines with the family.”

 

György Lőrincz 

“Zsolt Liptai deals with Pinot Noir in a very sophisticated way – in a detailed, multi-flavoured style. There is a huge difference between their subtle and our sturdier places of growth. Zsolt finishes the wine with shorter ageing in new barrels, we age for longer in used barrels, because our soil is like that. His wine oozes Christmas spices. During festivities and at weekends, our large family gets together. There are at least eight of us, and along with the sacredness, the festivities are also about wine. We taste together and during these times, even the smallest one drinks. What’s more, he drinks the most vehemently. He likes the same as me: Pinot Noir and Riesling.”

 

Zsolt Liptai

“I’m from the Alföld (Great Plain), but besides foreign experiences, it was Eger and Tibor Gál that started me out on my career. I’ve recently had the opportunity to taste with György Lőrincz a couple of times and the Hangács is memorable from several points of view. For one thing, it’s a trip down memory lane as it recalls my years in Eger. Kékfrankos-based Bikavér is my great love. The rum and sour cherry texture, the elegant coolness can only be tasted in this form from there. The other thing is that it always gives me great pleasure to taste pristinely pure Eger wines and Gyuri’s 2013 Hangács is exactly like that. I have a group of friends back from school with whom I taste a lot. Mérész, Rakaczki, Zsurki, Ipacs-Szabó and then there are my colleagues from Pannonhalma. This is the kind of wine that one is happy to open in such company.”

 

Sarolta Bárdos 

“I’m attached to the subject in several ways. Firstly, the way Imre tackles Hárslevelű is exemplary; the way he makes his wines. The second is the terroir: the volcanic soil and certain parts of Somló really resemble Tokaj. The third is the variety: Furmint and Hárslevelű which are for us also the alpha and the omega. Imre’s Hárslevelű is extremely elegant, intelligent, and besides the small winery and the excessive manual work, it is also pristinely pure – that’s what I call exemplary. The Christmas table cannot be imagined without sparkling wine and fish. And if we talk about sparkling wine then once again Somló is one of my favourites and we choose one from the Kreinbachers, and for the fish, it’s a Somló Hárslevelű. Or a Tokaj one.”

 

Balázs Hága 

“I work as winemaker at the Sauskas but I’d worked with József Bock and at Bortársaság before and I also had the opportunity to work in New Zealand for a couple of years. Now, that was also an important experience. Christmas is completely different there too: people kick their boots off and walk down to the beach in their flip-flops. They go fishing, do BBQs, laugh a lot and alongside a couple of bottles of good wine, they stare at the stars. This good wine is most often Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir – not either/or, but rather – and. Christmas Eve is a bit strange to a European eye, but when I think about Christmas that’s the first thing that springs to my mind. The wine was often Matua. Although I worked at Villa Maria, we often tasted and drunk the wines of others. The reason I liked Matua was that it gives a concise picture of the island. They don’t just work in one wine region but in all the important regions in the country, and on top of that, they give the best by using green technology. This brings back the warmth there to the Christmas Eve here.”

 

János Konyári 

“We drink wine whenever we find a nice occasion for it. And alongside the occasion, we find a nice wine. Fortunately ours is a big family, with lots of grandkids, so we often have something to celebrate. With my son, Dani, and with Bori, with my son-in-law, we like lots of different styles, however, there are big favourites: if it’s white then it’s Sancerre, if it’s red, it’s Bordeaux, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Tuscany or Vega Sicilia. We love and seek balanced tannins, the subtleness of tannins, the elegance. Bordeaux is often a good example of it.”

 

Zoltán Heimann 

“I like them. I mean not just their Rieslings but the man and the woman as well. I’m also attached to them as human beings. For me, Riesling is the world’s best white wine and since we cannot make a really good one here in Szekszárd, I’m glad I can drink our friends’ wine. Ági and I like tasting the Pfalz style, which we find richer, fuller bodied, more layered than the wines of other regions along the Rhine, and the Léglis bring out exactly the same thing from Riesling. It’s sharp, but at the same time rich, dense, powerful and full of flavour. Our family works together and still or maybe because of this, we only have time for talking in the evening, during dinner, when the three of us drink Riesling. And if it’s a festive occasion, then it’s Gesztenyés. And something from Pfalz alongside it.” 

 

László Szilágyi 

“Mézes-Mály 2015. This was Pisti’s first plot – an outstanding vineyard that is dealt with more and more sensitively by my friend. Whenever we have time to drink wine together, which alongside our work is rarer these days than we’d like, then this is the wine that gives me the greatest pleasure. I mean when we drink wine. Because if there isn’t any special occasion, then we’d rather drink beer and make lecsó (pepper and tomato stew). That’s the best.”

 

István Balassa 

“For me, a festive wine is the Szil-völgy Furmint-Hárslevelű from Laci. The Szil-völgy vineyard is the Gizella Winery itself – which is Laci Szilágyi. The vineyard is entwined with him. When we started, we spent most of the time there. When he talks, he speaks the most about it. He’s always tried to convince me that because of the loess and dacite soil, the bush vines and the terraces, it’d be a winning place, which I half believed, half doubted. Today, there is no question about it when we taste the Szil-völgy.”

 

András Bacsó 

“By mid-December, as the time spent around new wines decreases, I can pay more and more attention to my passion, to cooking. In the cool weather, I’m a great fan of cream soups like pumpkin soup, celery or penny bun mushroom soup from the Zemplén oak woods. It’s often followed by a fresh pike-perch from the River Bodrog. Alongside the fish, I like tasting the great white wines of our Balaton colleagues, but if I have the opportunity to look further, then the next stop is Burgundy and Chardonnay. Before the soups, the nicest aperitif is Champagne – we do feel like drinking rosé at this time – and Christmas lunch or dinner can only be topped off with an aszú, but this time around not our own.”

RUINART Rosé
21 000 HUF

 

Szabó Gyula

“I met Attila Homonna 20 years ago at a bicycle race in Italy. A friend of mine, who worked at Pesti Est, introduced us to each another. At that time, I had no idea I was going to meet the frogman. Seriously. Me and Attila became really good friends and he got me hooked. It was thanks to him that we moved to Balaton and I became a wine man. I harvested a lot at his place, I drank his wine and loved, and still love, his style. I have since been making wine in a Red Hot Chili Peppers manner, while he remained with the heavier style. That’s what his wine is like for me: hard rock but very enjoyable in the meantime. That kind of wine can come out of such stony, volcanic soil and from such a man. I could spot it out of a thousand wines, even blind. I don’t finish regular weekdays with wine, therefore during the holidays, family and friends create the occasion for me to drink such good wines.”