The Muzsla artisan – Bott Frigyes
On the last Monday of August, we drove in the drizzling rain to Dunaradvány. We’d been invited to the Botts' house, next to the Danube, where unusually, we tasted the wines of the fresh vintage not just with our colleagues but with more than a hundred wine lovers.
And we started chatting. We asked writers, wine merchants and sommeliers about the wines that are made from next to the River Hron (in Hungarian Garam) and their experiences about the winemaker who produces them.
Frigyes has good taste, we often taste together. One of my great wine experiences is also linked to him: half a year ago, he called me on one Friday afternoon and said that he’d got a bottle of Chenin from Richard Leroy, and asked if I felt like coming over to the Bottéka to taste it together. Coming over meant an hour drive for me from Budapest, but I knew that it was something I shouldn’t miss out on. And of course, it was worth it. And not just because of the Chenin but also because it was a good feeling to realise that what we tasted of his own wines were somehow very close to this unobtainable Loire wine. And this similarity doesn’t depend on actual aroma notes or the fruit, it’s a lot more about structure, the delicate energies of the wine and balance. These are values that can be found at every house in Burgundy but outside it, very rarely. And from the hills where Frigyes has his grapes, such value is really scarce. In the cellar, there are few unnecessary movements, no space-age technology, only a smart press, used barrels and slow winemaking. And this whole thing is really just an hour away by car.”
Bence Zsizmadia, Bortársaság procurement.
“I’ve been working with Frigyes’ wines since 2013. First, a Swedish wine writer told me about him, then not long after that, when I was around because of Zsolt Sütő, we met up. I like the Burgundian elegance in his wines, I’d never tasted such a thing from this region before. I was immediately taken by his wines, and I fell in love the Kadarka straight away. The majority of my assortment is based on the wines of artisanal wineries and small batches made from local varieties. And Frigyes is almost the only one whose wines I can take to natural wine places and also to Michelin-star restaurants working with classical wines. Everybody appreciates that he makes such pure and expressive wines.”
Pontus Lindqvist, Swedish wine merchant/importer
“I’ve been a sommelier at Mák for five years. Our concept for years has been that there can be a maximum of three wines from one winery on the wine list, but with the wines of Frigyes Bott, we simply cannot go under four wines. We offer his unfiltered wine in a separate section, but for the degustation menu, we also choose from Carpathian Basin producers and varieties."
Imre Rácz, Mák Bistro
“Usually I just pour out a glass, let the wine talk and show itself. When the guests are open-minded, we like experimenting. Alongside the varietal character, one can learn such a face of the given wine, that makes it worth waiting. This whole thing is an exciting game.”
Balázs Hacker, Mák Bistro
“I think one of my favourite things in Frigyes Bott’s wines is diversity. You can always find some surprise in them, there’s a bit of finesse, something new, a twist. That’s also a reason why it’s exciting working with them, I can recommend their wines to those who know them well, or to people who are just flirting with them – they will both find an extra story in them that they will want to tell the others.”
Szonja Novák, Bortársaság – Lánchíd wine shop.
“I can say on behalf of the whole family that we looked forward to this day with excitement. This was the first occasion and it’s not easy to get the target group out here. But we managed, and in the end, more than a hundred people came. When we finished furnishing the house, had the terrace done and sorted the river bank out, we decided that if we had a ‘picnic’ like this, then this should be the place for it. It couldn’t get more authentic than this. That’s where our life is, we are linked to the place in many ways. Everybody who added to the occasion is close to us for some reason: Sanyi Tóth from the Kávé Háza, Robi Góra from the Szalka mangalica pig farm and the team of the Patak restaurant. They also helped in making it so cosy. It was laborious to organise but we decided to continue it on that night. To make a tradition that once a year, on the last Monday of August, we get together. With those who work with our wines, who sell them and who write about them.”