On September 7, we were standing in the vineyard with Frigyes, and he had been walking through the rows with us, for the last time before the first days of the harvest. There was an optimistic semi-smile on his face and momentum in his footsteps.
The grapes were really beautiful with explosively tasty berries, because by this time what was possible had already been channelled into the bunches by the vines. Despite the sweet flavours, we could taste the enormous difference between the varieties: the Pinot Noir and the Kékfrankos were almost two separate worlds; the aromatic Tramini and the tauter Furmint even more so.
We sat down to taste all the wines of the 2020 vintage with such flavours in our mouths, and Frigyes took a deeper breath at two junctures within the flight – that was when he had the most to say. It was about Furmint and Kékfrankos, two local varieties that he’s refined to become really delicious in the last few years. That day, those two varieties stuck in our minds too, and we left thinking that we would return to those during the year. What’s more, Frigyes’ first single-vineyard wines are also made from these two varieties. In December, we’re showing the two together and the winemaker tells us what he thinks of them.
It was a really nice autumn. Over the course of the year almost anything can happen, because the grapes during this time can still compensate. At ours it’s only September that matters, because by then the grapes cannot protect themselves. And, in 2020, there was a really nice September. The harvest was long, so we could enjoy it. There was no pressure on us, we picked everything when we felt the time was right, and by that time we already knew that we wanted to bottle everything unfiltered. The wines are now a step closer to our expectations. Now, everything has a richer taste, the Furmint and the Kékfrankos – the varieties we build on in the long-term – became outstandingly distinctive. If I had to show two wines to anyone, it would be these two.
We use the skins with some of our wines but in the case of Furmint we avoid skin contact, because we seriously think that this is the variety which can show the most of ourselves and the place we work with. That’s the reason we avoid anything that would take anything away from it. These vines truly yield less than a kilo each, which we press immediately on arrival to the cellar. We carefully select the barrels, age for a minimum of 8 to 10 months, then bottle it without filtering or fining.
It was clear from the beginning that besides Pinot Noir, we’d by all means plant Kékfrankos from among the local varieties, which was a big love because of Burgundy. Its role has strengthened with us during the past 15 years. Following the even more precise selection of the low-yield grapes, the process has hardly changed for years: almost two-thirds of it remains in whole bunches, and we ferment it that way in open vats.
Just 0.7 hectares out of the total of 10 are of Furmint (planted in 2013) and Kékfrankos (planted in 2016). I do everything in these few rows. We first harvested the Furmint in 2017, and it was fermented in a separate barrel. There was a strong message in the wine, we could already feel that this parcel was different, and eventually, the complete amount was booked by our Swedish distributor. Then, in 2018, when the adjacent Kékfrankos plantation started yielding, we started paying real attention to it, and since 2020, we have been producing separate wines from both varieties. Without exaggeration we can say that we have our hearts and souls in these two wines, and no matter what the weather has been like, we’ve gone to work in this vineyard.
We left a few more lees in the Furmint at the time of bottling as the wine has a longer life ahead of it. Indeed, we cannot even estimate now when it will reach its peak. With the ageing of the Kékfrankos, we again used new barrels in 2019, which interestingly doesn’t untune it but brings out its character even more.