What’s on your mind?

We always spend the first few months of the year making plans. We ask ourselves which wines, regions and varieties we ought to explore in more depth. We work out what should happen in our wine shops, as well as the subjects that are exciting for ourselves, our customers and which ones we should therefore focus on. Among these topics there is one that especially occupies us: how is a wine made from pruning through to bottling. Our winemakers make their plans in a similar way, although the next year starts slightly earlier for them – right after the harvest in fact.

Still, their aspirations are very close to ours: developing technology, cultivating the grapes in a more natural way, further refining their methods based on the experiences of the previous vintage, experimenting and most importantly – to make even better wines. We asked six of our winemakers about their plans for 2016. 

We are praying for an average year at the Abbey

Zsolt Liptai – Pannonhalmi Apátság (Pannonhalma Abbey)

 

Based on our previous experience, which now amounts to more than a decade, we try to put something on the table that’s even nicer and more colourful in terms of quality, preciseness or selection. One of the most important aspects of this is that based on our exiting experiences, we select from conventional and the so-called organic or natural grape growing principles. The reason why we are hoping for an average year, from the point of view of the weather, is because that gives the greatest possibilities for experimenting, learning and finding the right proportions even more precisely. Therefore, in 2016, we are refining…

 

 

Already in our own vineyard, organically

Gyula Szabó, Káli Kövek – Köveskál

 

This year, we are going to develop in everything. Beside the village wines made from bought in grapes and following an extensive search, we are concentrating on our own parcels on the Fekete-hegy, on this enormous, volcanic basalt plateau. On top of that, we are also trying out the wines organically cultivated grapes give. When it comes to winemaking, we keep cutting down on the nomadic conditions. Those who have visited our small cellar in Köveskál know what I’m talking about. A new fermenting and ageing space is being built – a superb one that can be cooled. The garden with the mignonettes is open to everyone from the spring to the autumn and we’ve also refined the catering, and if the neighbours allow us, the parties will also go on.

 

 

I’m going to make even better rosé

Tamás Dúzsi – Szekszárd

 

The most important thing for me in 2016 is to make even better rosé. A lot of people say that it’s the easiest style but I don’t share their point of view. A good rosé is like a strong and lively young man and the grapes should be the same: big, green foliage, dynamic character, no restriction but only healthy control. As I say, like a young man. A rosé is not especially about the age of the vines. However, young vines up until 10 years of age from nutrient-rich soil are the best for more basic rosé. From the bigger raw material that comes from older vines, we make the selections: Cabernet, Pinot, Syrah – which I’m going to pay even more attention to in 2016.

 

 

Balance in the vineyard and the wine

Gábor Rakaczki, Sauska – Tokaj

 

The Medve and Padi-hegy are two very important vineyards where we are mostly our own neighbours. This is where the danger of getting infections from somewhere else has the lowest possibility, so in these two vineyards we try to use the smallest possible amount of chemicals and the most natural materials. We are experimenting, as well as reading up on organic and biodynamic cultivation, and also seeking our path in this field. The goal in 2016 is to find the balance, since from the production side it is both an enormous challenge and opportunity at the same time, while it is also risky. Just like my favourite hobby: rock climbing. I have major goals in front of me in that discipline too, in 2016.

 

 

It’s schooling that occupies me

Franz Weninger, Sopron

 

As far as my private life is concerned, my bigger son Paul will start school soon, which Petra and I look forward to with excitement. Grapes and wines are like the raising of a child. It’s naturally cultivated vines and the healthiness of the soil that ensures the immune system of the plants. Fermentation is almost like birth. It can happen naturally or artificially. And ageing is like education and schooling. Now, it’s schooling that occupies me: I’m not bringing in any more 500-litre barrels as I prefer big barrels, of a more homogenous age and type. That makes one less variable so that the real notes of the varieties and vineyards are able to prevail during ageing. The other thing that excites me is the 2015 vintage. It’s amazing to follow the development of natural wines in a great year like this.

 

 

In 2016, we are grafting the wild ones

János Márkvárt, Szekszárd

 

Miután kipótoltuk a két öreg, gyalogtőkés kadarka területet Heimann Ágiék sikeres szekszárdi klónkísérleteiből származó P147-es kadarkával, 2016-ben az átoltás foglalkoztat. Hiszek az öreg tőkék erejében, ezért a drágább megoldást választottam: nem vágok ki szőlőt, nem telepítek újra, hanem az olaszrizling tőkék nemes részét levágva a vad gyökérre oltom a bodzási kékfrankosból válogatott vesszőket. Az öreg tőkék vad gyökerébe oltva újul meg két terület. Hiszek benne, hogy Szekszárd erről a két fajtáról, a kadarkáról és a kékfrankosról kell, hogy szóljon. Egyre több időt töltünk kislányaimmal, és a párommal a szőlőben. Most még csak nyáron, egy lakókocsiban, pár év múlva talán végleg ott lesz az otthonunk. Pár kilométer a szekszárdi city a zsigulival, de mintha a paradicsomban lennénk.