It's not often one gets to taste Hungarian wines, though we in Toronto have had the chance at least once a year for the last 4 years. It does help when the wine maker is Robert Gilvesy of Hungarian birth, he after establishing roots in Canada, returned to his homeland of Hungary to build his winery 'Gilvesy Pincészet'. The winery is located on the vast plains of a greater wine region called the 'Highlands' the appellation is called 'Badacsony' direclty located on the north shore of Lake Balaton in South-East Hungary. The subregion and the multiple vineyards specific location is identified as Szent György-Hegy.
Robert was in town late August for an annual visit to family to meet up with agent Nicholas Pearce of NP Wines. They arranged a small tasting at the current hot spot for informative yet informal wine tastings Archive 909.
My recent trips to Austria last summer and more recently participation in the Vienna- VieVinum wine fair has certainly conditioned my palette in what to expect from Eastern European wines. The wines are well crafted and certainly fit for our dining tables and wine bars. Here are my notes.
Robert works primarily with white grape varieties, those being Riesling Italico, Pinot Gris, Rhine Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and more recently Furmint. It is interesting to note that the soil in this region is primarily volcanic with tufa and sandy loam, giving way to great freshness and mineral tones throughout all wines.
The entry level wines that he presented were:
Bohém Riesling Cuvée 2015. The Bohém is a cuvée of Riesling Italico, Rhine Riesling with a dash of Pinot Gris for good measure. The wine is fresh, clean and lean as one would expect. Continuing with nice tart and sweet orchard fruit, think green apple, apple skin, and citrus. Overall the wine is nicely concentrated and balanced as an easy and gently way to introduce a drinker to the world of Hungarian wines.
Kaçer Rhine Riesling 2015. Here we jump to 100% Rhine Riesling presented with a pure aroma of apple, pear, and a touch of pine layered with an essential oil of mountain flowers. This wine had a more subtle and complex nose with some creamy notes indicating work with lees. Now moving to the palate the Kaçer is off dry but dry in that fantastic Riesling way, with a gentle weight and nice viscous mouth feel with a fresh apple and pear nectar flavour.
The following wines are labeled under the 'Gilvesy' brand banner for the 2nd and 3rd tier Rhine Riesling and his two (2) Sauvignon Blanc.
Rajnai Rizling (Rhine Riesling) 2015. This wine is made from primarily 45 years old vines and a small component of younger vines and if my notes are correct this wine sees 50% stainless steel ageing with 50% in 2-3year old Hungarian 500 litre barrel. As a tasting note the barrel elements on this wine are well integrated and very little is perceived in the nose and on the palate. The wine presents itself with lively lemon and lime to apple/orchard fruit aroma and flavour with a well rounded weight and mouthfeel. Acid is moderate with a gentle citrus pith bitterness. I would say a very complex wine for the price point at $19.95 and being the 2nd tier of the Rizling offerings. I would enjoy having this wine with food or on a tasting menu...
Tarányi Rajnai Rizling Reserve (single block barrel aged Rhine Riesling) 2015. Here we have complex aroma of stone fruit and citrus, from orange and candy lemon to slighty sweet fuzzy peach. This wine is many levels richer than the previous Rizling examples and is well textured on palate though it maintains the Riesling bright floral elements on the nose and gently on the palate.
Sauvignon Blanc 2015: The Sauvignon Blanc is made with 35 year old vines from the Mogyoros vineyard. This is a good and classic cool climate example of Sauvignon Blanc with gentle tones of grassy and green peppers aroma, with savoury herbed aroma, though bright with ripe citrus - lemon and lime. I would say a very pleasing wine.
Mogyoros Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (single block barrel aged) 2015: with classic sauvignon blanc aroma of lemon, lime, some tropical white fruit with spice one could denote some earth and mushroom. Certainly a richer and creamier textured wine, multilayered with nice acid and a salty, mineral finish.
Pröba Üzem Furmint 2015: This was the final wine of the tasting and it was certainly fun and interesting to taste. In the same breath it is floral and pretty layered over rich and creamed fruit notes with caramel and a touch of vanilla as the wine sees some barrel, though the palate remained fresh clean and interesting with lemon and orchard fruit dominating. Overall it was clean, acid was moderate and balanced.