From Greco-Roman wrestling to free-style
Kékajtó Winery - Kőröshegy
Everybody imagines an ideal activity for themselves whereby they feel that they can reach their pinnacle and be happy. Then there are those who also accomplish it. This was the thought that occurred to us when we met up with Miklós Németh and his wife, Gyöngyi, on a beautiful day in May.
When we arrive in the village, a tall, strong man welcomes us in front of the small, pretty house. A firm handshake, tranquillity, a kind of ‘everything is ok, I know what I’m doing’ message is conveyed in all his moves.
“Following a wrestling career and many years in the hospitality industry, we took a deep breath and packing up our previous life, we moved here, to Kőröshegy. I’ve been tasting for 20 years, I’ve always been really interested in wine, but the idea that I shouldn’t just consume it but also produce it was conceived here. In March 2015, walking in the vineyard on the top of the Boroc, we met an old woman who was pruning her vines. We started talking and she asked us if we wanted to grow grapes. When we answered yes, she regarded her work complete, handed over the shears and the plot, then left. So, we started with a pair of shears and a book entitled Grape Pruning and Vineyard Work. Today we work 3.5 hectares, the maximum aim is 10.
I could talk about the winery without end, but if I have to be brief, then the subsoil is loess, marl and marine sediment with a reading of 40 on the Hungarian lime measuring system*. We use organic cultivation, orange oil, copper, and yield of a kilo and a half.
There should be life in the soil, we don’t disturb it, we don’t want to bring up what is below and take down what lives on the surface. We need to control the vines because this hill spoils the farmers, a lot of grapes can grow here but it always has a price in the flavours and structure.
The best thing is to be in the vineyard – that’s where the wine is truly made, in the blue-doored cellar we just have to finish what we started on the Kőröshegy. We wish to have fruity, taut wines, which is why we have small, looser bunches on the vines. Now we have Olaszrizling and Kékfrankos but we’ll definitely have Riesling and Kadarka as well.”
*The Hungarian lime-measuring system is an internationally recognised measuring method, which instead of the complete lime content of the soil shows the quantity of the active lime content that affects the grapes. The method was elaborated by viticulturist János Szilágyi in 1908.