One of the best wine shows I’ve attended in my life.
VinCE Budapest, the biggest wine event in Hungary it is so much more than a regular wine tasting event. There are for example master courses, in these courses Masters of Wine and local wine makers or famous in the wine world people speak about certain topics. I unfortunately made the painful mistake by not attending them, something I will most certainly not miss next year.
The event was organized in the stunning Corinthia hotel of Budapest and was divided in three days, it allowed you to taste as much as your heart desired. The first two days were for professionals only and the third day was for everyone. There were around 160 exhibitors and you could taste over 1000 different wines. I will highlight some of the wines I’ve tasted.
I started off with Kristinus Borbirtok a fairly new winery from the south of the Balaton lake.
As always I try to taste Zweigelt and Kadarka first, it’s a great benchmark for me to try new wineries since both of these grapes are sensitive and can be more complicated to make in a single variety wine.
Kristinus Zweigelt 2011 : A clear purple color with a medium intense nose of strawberries and raspberries. Light to medium tannins with low acids. A bit of spices in the flavor and green bell pepper.
18 months in oak barrel, hand picked grapes. 3 weeks of fermentation on the skin. Great conditions in 2011 for Zweigelt.
Kristinus Birtok Rose 2015 : A cuvée of Pinot Noir and Kékfrankos, fresh and fruity but has a bit more body than most roses. The perfect wine for the spring and summer to come. I will talk more detailed about this wine in a later article.
Kristinus Sas 2012 : A very well balanced Bordeaux cuvée, 67% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Franc and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon. Elegant and ripes fruits. The wine contains 15.5% alcohol but it was so well balanced you could barely feel it. I will talk more detailed about this wine wine in a later article as well.
I would like to do a big shout out to the staff of Kristinus and specially to Péter Gajdics for all the information you gave me. It was a real pleasure talking with all of you, keep up the great work !
Next up was Sauska ! Also the winner of VinCE’s best winery of 2016 ! They also were a great source of information and all the staff members I’ve talked to were very nice and polite but most importantly… informative.
Sauska cuvée 7 Siklós 2012 : The second highest cuvée from Sauska, coming from Siklós which is a village and a sub part in the wine region Villàny. The cuvée is made out of 70% merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, so it could qualify as a Bordeaux blend. The cuvée is still very fresh and could do with at least 2-4 more years of bottle aging. The tannins haven’t really set yet and the wine is still very vibrant, the acids are still very dominant and there is not much space for other flavors other than the regular sour cherry. I am 150% convinced that this wine will be great once it had its aging. This was also told to me by one of the employee’s of Sauska, buy it now and put it away. If you would like to drink one now buy the 2009 vintage, its perfect at the moment.
I’ve decided I wanted some white wine so I went to one of the wineries that I probably know by heart now; Sabar Borház some of you that read my blog recently probably know I write quite a bit about them. You can find more information about them here.
Unfortunately I have no picture due the big amounts of people passing by and running through them.
Sabar – Sauvignon Blanc 2015 : What a great wine ! So fresh and young, very fruity and full of flowers. Definitely one of the beter Sauvignon Blancs I’ve drank. It was only bottle a few weeks ago and will be perfect in a couple of weeks !
After catching the taste for some whites from Badacsony and the terroir I went to look for Káli Kövek. A winery from a town named Köveskál, the town is in the middle of the big Káli basin. The soil gives the wines unique mineral flavors.
My favorite was the Káli Kövek Köveskál Olaszrizling 2014; A good bodied wine with less of the fruity stuff and more of the complex flavors. The wines opens in your mouth and develops into something very nice and elegant. The wine was aged in 500 liter oak barrels for 9 months, was a hand harvested wine and the vines are grown in a volcanic basalt soil structure.
Behind the table of Káli Kövek I met a very kind couple from the winery Heumann. Heumann is located in the Villány wine region they are not from the town Villány however but from Siklós which is a town next to it, and also very famous for wine making.
Eric’s Dream 2014 : A white cuvée made from Olaszrizling, Rajnai rizling and Chardonnay. Fermented only in tanks. An easy drinking wine with a fuller body and structure. Toasty nose and young green fruits.
Syrah 2012 : Dark purple color, mix of matured and young black and red berries. Spicy on the tongue with hints of pepper. Great bodied wine with great tannins. Has a long finish.
Cabernet Franc 2011 : This wine received a 91 point score by A. Larsson MS and M. Del Monego MW in the Tasted Journal February 2015. This is more than well deserved. Deep dark purple color, complex nose with matured red fruits and some vanilla. On the tongue we find hints of black fruits back and some very dark chocolate. The alcohol, acids and tannins are perfectly balanced and the finish is quite long. The wine is great to drink now and will probably develop even more elegance in the next 5-8 years.
At this point I took a little break and had something to eat at the ZING burger stand. Had a great cappuccino and moved on to the section called “Pannon Bormíves Céh” in English the Pannon wine guild.
I started with Vida from Szekszárd, they’ve managed to impress me last week on the Bikavér challenge. They brought four different wines and they are all worth mentioning, unfortunately I did not take any pictures.
KékfraKKos Cuvée 2014 : A light wine for every day, to quote one of the wine makers ” a wine for the young people “. Light structured wine easy to drink. Great for the period to come.
Este Cuvée 2013 : A Cabernet Franc, Kékfrankos, Merlot and Kadarka cuvée, a tiny bit more complex than the KékfraKKos Cuvée and can already fit some light dishes. The Kadarka really made this wine spicy.
Hidaspetre Kékfrankos 2013 : A vineyard selected wine from a great vintage. The vineyard has a small narrow opening and is for the rest completely closed and protected. A lot more complex already and mature, full of fruity flavors and well balanced. Great price for the very high quality wine (3100 forints roughly)
La Vida 2012 : The flagship wine of Vida, only found in exceptional vintages. It’s a cuvée of premium selected Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Kadarka. It aged for 14 months in Hungarian oak barrels and another 10 months in the bottle. It’s a full bodied wine with a well developed fruity nose, some spicy notes from the barrel and hints of vanilla. This wine is very elegant and is well balanced.
After having a great tasting I moved next door to St. Andrea from the wine region Eger.
Here I’ve tasted another 6 great wines and I was very lucky to get a well informed explanation from György Lőrincz jr., he started working in his fathers winery a couple of years ago after studying abroad.
Napbor Egri Cuvée 2014 : A classic “Egri Cillag” cuvée and one of my favorites made by St. Andrea. This one was made by a rich variety of grapes; Olaszrizling, Hárslevelű, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Leányka, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Traminer and Viognier. 60% of the base wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks and the other 40% in barrels. The 2014 will be without a doubt a great vintage although I found it a little to fresh for my personal taste, letting it age a bit more in the bottle will develop a lot more complexity. The flavors are still a bit vibrant but you could already feel the citrus fruit aromas and the pleasant minerals.
Örökké Egri Cuvée Grand Superior 2013 : Another cuvée but made from premium and strictly selected grapes. The Olaszrizling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Pinot Blanc were fermented for 10 months in 5 hecto liter barrels and afterwards the Sauvignon Blanc and Rajnai rizling was blended in. This wine is without a top wine, it will be able to age for even longer and only become more complex. The nose has elegant minerals with citrus fruits like grapefruit and pomelo and tiny hints of spices. The palate is alive and had delicate acids. There was some white pepper, minerals (maybe some limestone) and a bit of grapefruit as well.
Csakegyszóval Pinot Noir 2012 : A house favorite specially by my wife, a somewhat more complex Pinot Noir. Although I say it’s complex you still have those playful sweet red fruit tones in it. It drinks very well and has a medium to long finish. Fermented in open vats and then aged for 19 months in barrel.
Áldás Egri Bikavér 2013 : The standard Bikavér (Bulls Blood) of St. Andrea, made from Kékfrankos, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Menoir. Fruity and elegant already and I expect this wine will do great with another 2-4 years of bottle aging.
Hangács Egri Bikavér Superior 2012 : Another house favorite but this time mine, this and the Áldás are in perfect harmony with a good quality steak. This bikavér is also dominated by Kékfrankos (44%) they also used 25% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot, 8% Pinot Noir and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, fermented in open vats and then aged in 500 liter barrels for 22 months. St. Andreas Hangács represents the Eger terroir 100%, full of red fruits on the nose… cherry and a bit of raspberry with strawberry jam. A complex and very enjoyable pallet with spices, vanilla, plums and raspberry jam. Great balanced acids, tannins and alcohol with a long finish that makes you wanna drink even more !
Merengő Egri Bikavér Superior 2011 : The bikavér flagship wine of St. Andrea, extremely famous across Hungary and other parts of the world. Made of Kékfrankos which is again the dominant grape, Cabernet Franc, merlot, Pinot Noir and Syrah. All grapes were fermented separately by variety and vineyard and aged 16 months in 500 liter barrels. It’s not strange that this is the flagship wine of St. Andrea, only the most premium grapes are picked and it reflects back into the glass and bottle. The wine drinks very easy and has hints of red fruit and spices. The 2011 is still very young and fresh, the tannins still haven’t settled which means the wine still has great potential. I had the luck of drinking a 2009 vintage last year and it only showed what an enormous impact bottle aging had on this wine. Buy it now and store it for later is my opinion !
Other honorable mentions that I’ve tasted but did not write much about in details
VinCE awards of 2016
Best wine card
Best wine hotels
Best wine dinner
Best wine shops
Not updated yet, these are the 2015 winners
The best wine logistics assistants
Not updated yet, these are the 2015 winners
Best wine bars
Best winemaker website
Best wine cellar
Best marketing campaign