You turn around smiling
Turning over a new leaf has its advantages – Krisztián Sauska and his company arrived with the Sauvignon Blanc grape in Tokaj-Hegyalja in the 90s. They didn’t instinctively feel the Sárgamuskotály, the Furmint and the Hárslevelű, there were no noble rot covered bottles or guiding principles from grandad.
Yet, there was freedom. In one of the most special wine regions in the world, they stood in front of the varieties and wine with complete openness.
Tokaj is a complex wine region with its own rules.
It gives its legitimate children –
Furmint, Hárslevelű and Sárgamuskotály – unmistakable character, while its love- children like Sauvignon Blanc, can be freely and impudently beautiful. They don’t convey the variety in exactly the same way as they do in the rest of the world –
self-assuredly but with a Tokaj backbone.
“We got a lot from the international varieties in the last couple of decades. They help us in getting to know our vineyards, in connecting to the rest of the world, and for a good couple of years, they defined the vision of our future in traditional method sparkling wine. For us, Tokaj is the John Malkovich of the wine world, it filters all its roles through itself, while in the end, it still gives itself,” says Tokaj winemaker Gábor Rakaczki.”
It’s an aroma bomb.
When fermentation starts, you go past the tanks and turn around smiling to see what this aroma is. You can truly fall for it. I did fall in love with its wine. Every year I make a barrel separately, whereby I work with another yeast and we make it fuller bodied. The basis is a good French barrel, longer skin contact and keeping it on the lees. It’s also interesting because even though it’s extremely aromatic, stoniness and minerality still colour it.
It’s stubborn, but it can also be gentle, and when it’s gentle, it very much is. That’s what it was like in 2018. Maybe because we harvested more from the north, from Sárospatak, or maybe because that little rain came at the right time, or because we caught the harvest at the right time. I don’t know. The constellation was good.”