Grand Vin de Barnag
Cabernet Franc
Balaton, Hungary

Who would have thought that a wine bar in Berlin would create new winemakers? When Bence Szilágyi first started working in wine bars in Budapest, he did not know yet of the world of natural wines, but around 2015 discovered them during a trip to Berlin at Jaja. Following this initial discovery, he visited more winemakers around Europe and, in 2017, started making his first vintage together with friends. The grapes came from his dad's hobby vineyard, which he farms organically. Together with one hectare, they get from neighbors, they have around three hectares. Also, the 200-year old cellar is below the family house. So last year, they started leaving Sulphur out of the equation and plan to continue growing with an old barn waiting to become the new winery.

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.

This wine is part of
Volume 37: The Hungary Edition