Volume 37: The Hungary Edition

Illustration by Anna Vu (@goodwinecrapdrawing)
Hummel Winery
Pét Nat Rosa Karašica Sis
Villány, Hungary

This Pet Nat shows how an uncontrolled bottle fermentation can go. It has very little carbonation; nevertheless, with 2 bar pressure, you will still get a very subtle fizz. Even without the bubbles, it would be an outstanding Blaufränkisch rosé (the grape variety name you probably know). After the harvest, it was destemmed and directly pressed and did the initial fermentation in a stainless steel tank. After bottling it with a little sugar left, it continued fermentation and spent another 3 years in the bottle. Horst left it sitting to lose some residual sugar; while still slightly sweet, the aging did some magic to the juice. With strawberry and licorice, it says hello and continues to impress with rhubarb and cranberries in the mouth. This should be good with middle eastern food or on its own as a nightcap.

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Grand Vin de Barnag
Cabernet Franc
Balaton, Hungary

How did Cabernet Franc get to Hungary? Usually a popular grape for Bordeaux-style wines. Our guess is because everybody in the 90s wanted to make this style of wine. Fortunately, Bence had different plans for this grape. He switched to carbonic maceration, a kind of fermentation where grapes ferment without oxygen in whole bunches. This brings out the fruitiness and makes them more stable without any additives. After 10 days, they were mechanically pressed and aged in old Hungarian oak barrels for another 10 months. It greets with loads of red berries and pepper. In the mouth are sour cherries, light tobacco, and silky tannins. Bence says you should drink it cool and with no food. I think the well-integrated acidity makes it a perfect food companion with sugo and pasta or maybe even a Hungarian Goulash.

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Balaton, Hungary

Riesling is one of the grape varieties which expresses the terroir the best. And this is no exception. Part of the grapes come from a unique plot named 'Templomdombi' and are a blend of different single-vineyard leftovers. After the harvest, they are foot stomped and then pressed as whole clusters. Fermentation happened in various amphoras and a big Slavonian oak barrel. This Riesling was allowed to undergo complete malolactic conversion for a rounder and more textural iteration of the variety than what one might know from Germany. It aged in those vessels for 10 months on the lees (deposits of dead yeast or residual yeast and other particles that precipitate). This wine hits you with a Jura kind of nose, slightly smoky, and lemon zest aromas. In the mouth, you get unripe peach and more lemon juice. This pairs well with Vietnamese food or a seasonal mushroom risotto.

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