Under transformation – Kristinus Estate, Kéthely

 

 

Florian Zaruba took over the management of Kristinus Birtok in 2015, and with it a complete transformation started. Following a few years of preparation, he switched to biodynamic cultivation on the complete area of the estate, on 62 hectares of vineyards and 30 hectares of pastureland and orchard. It’s exceptional (while typical of much smaller-scale producers) to step out on this path with such a great volume of vineyard as it requires constant presence and work among the vines. This was the change that captured our attention, together with a lot of other people, and accepting Florian’s invitation – we first tasted at the cellar last December.

 

 

The southwest corner of Lake Balaton is unusually quiet, we’re still well within Somogy County but the flora and the landscape already suggest the ambience of Zala – while from Parapli, the estate’s highest-situated vineyard, Lake Balaton can be seen in its full length, along with the volcanic mesas of the northern side. There is a detectable transformation going on in the vineyards and in the cellar, and with the new cultivation method, the roles have also shifted. Winemaking and grape growing are becoming intertwined, and instead of the classic arrangement of chief winemaker and grape grower, world-travelled and open colleagues work together and the whole process is held together in one hand, by Florian. The new values are seeing returns in a lot of areas – from the packaging of the wine to the maintenance of the livestock, everything is going in the same direction: from 2022, the complete estate will be *Demeter certified.

 

*Demeter certified is a recognized trademark through which the Demeter International world organization certifies biodynamic farms and their products, which by the end of the three-year transition period have to meet the industry’s strictest set of conditions.

 

 

From the 2020 vintage, such lively and light, hand-made wines with vivid flavours were made from the biodynamically cultivated grapes, spontaneously fermented mainly in tanks, without filtering and fining and with the addition of a little sulphur.

We have already selected from the March bottlings: we are showing the two latest wines now and we will be coming up with the others soon.