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Janos Eszterbauer is a 10th generation wine maker in the red wine district of Szekszárd. South of Budapest, north of Croatia at a latitude between Bordeaux and the Loire Valley, the ancient loess hills of Szekszárd have been planted to vineyards since before the Celts. This strong connection to the past is depicted by the black and white photo of a harvest in 1935--including Szöszke Sógor, the grandfather of their winemaker, Laci Pálinkás--on the label of this Kadarka. The exact origin of the grape is unknown but it is believed to have been brought to ... Read More »
93 points Wine Spectator: "An unctuous style, this exhibits vanilla, orange, peach and butterscotch aromas and flavors on a creamy texture. Soft for the style, but still vibrant and focused. Excellent length. Drink now through 2028. 480 cases made. (BS, Web-2014)" Wine & Spirits: "This is clean and bright, a fresh style emphasizing high-toned fruit flavors like lemon and crisp peaches...it’s extremely inviting in its juiciness. For fruit desserts, like a marzipan-lined peach tart." (12/2012)
91 points Wine & Spirits: "The cuvée formally known simply as “Dry Furmint,” The Oddity is especially firm and savory in 2013. It feels tightly packed and withheld, the flavors wrapped in stony layers of minerality; the energy it gives off, a rumble of furmint acidity and volcanic stone, suggests there’s lots more to come. Give it another year and decant for pork trotters." (12/2014) Wine Spectator: "Petrol, apple and floral notes combine in a positive way in this elegant, vibrant white, which firms up on the finish. (BS, Web-2015)"
Kékfrankos (a.k.a. Blaufrankisch and Lemberger) is a black-skinned wine grape grown widely in Austria and Hungary, and to a lesser extent in neighboring Germany, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Croatia. Tiny quantities are also grown in the United States. The common feature in Blaufrankisch wines from all of these places is a fruit-forward profile with aromas of spiced black cherries.
Chateau Dereszla enjoys a rich history in the Tokaji region of Hungary, dating back to the 1450s and passing through many hands before seeing it rise to new heights in 2000 by way of the D’Aulan family from Champagne.
96 points Wine Spectator: "*Highly Recommended* Terrific. Floral, quince and apple aromas take on honey, peach and mineral accents in the mouth, all displayed on an ethereal, lighter-than-air frame. Bracing acidity is deftly integrated into the whole, and it ends with a mineral aftertaste. Drink now through 2025. (BS)" (6/2004)
Wine Spectator: "A round, fruity style, with pear, paraffin and spice flavors. The rich texture is underscored by vivid acidity. White pepper and grapefruit peel notes line the finish. Drink now through 2018. (BS)" (12/2015) K&L Notes: This dry wine clearly shows the virtue of the famous terroir of Tokaj and the indigenous grape varietal Furmint. A crisp minerality and the fruitiness of the grapes determine its essential character. A nice body and a long taste on the palate give the wine a lasting quality. Very versatile food wine. Pair this Furmint with fish and poultry, turkey, an... Read More »
The 2014 vintage was a hot, wet year, so the winery didn't produce any cru wines, instead concentrating on Birtok, Tinon's entry level vineyard blend. Wine & Spirits Magazine writes of the winery: "Samuel Tinon grew up in Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, a sweet- wine appellation in Bordeaux, and came to Tokaj in 1991, to work at Oremus. He ended up buying a house and two hectares of 90-year-old vines in Olaszliszka, and started producing his own wines in 2000." (06/2013)
The Heimann Winery is dedicated to preserving the indigenous varieties of Hungary, Kadarka among them. They have invested a great deal of time in identifying the best clones and have wound up with seven on their property that go into this wine. Kadarka has a spicy, fruity character with pronounced acidity. The wine is aged in large, neutral oak barrels for five months to preserve its freshness.
Inventory: San Francisco
J&J Eger Wine Company is the product of an unexpected partnership between Canadian-born Hungarian and Master Sommelier John Szabo and physician, Eger native and winemaker Dr. János Stumpf. Ultimately what brought them together was their shared fascination with the cool North Hungarian terroir of Eger and the exotic mineral-rich reds made from the local variety Kékfrankos (Blaufrankisch). Their tiny 500-case production, more a professionally attended-to hobby than a production, is based around prime parcels of vineyards located on the steepest, most expos... Read More »
From the importer: "The Apátsági Hárslevelu exemplifies what Zoltán admires about the appellation as a whole, 'When you have Somló acid, why not find balance with sugar?' In fact, Somló wines were historically suited for export due to this high acidity. Prior to WWII, there were laws stating that the wines also had to be in barrel for 5 years before sale making them even more stable (and softening said acids). The wine is oily, concentrated, bright, and powerful without losing fruitiness. A very alive wine that can only come from Somló."
94 points Wine Spectator: "Rich and mouthcoating, with apricot, orange and vanilla cream aromas and flavors. The underlying acidity keeps this lively and stretches the flavors out on the long finish. There's a nice salty tang on the aftertaste. Drink now through 2025. 600 cases made. (BS)" (12/2008)
There's a pretty incredible history behind Zwack. Born in 1790, the Zwack family eventually founded their recipe into an official business in 1840 and became Hungary's official beverage of choice.The business thrived into the early 20th century until the Red Army began marching westward. When the communists came to Hungary, the Zwacks fled to the United States, taking their recipe with them and leaving a fake one behind for the new regime that wanted to nationalize the company. It's been said that the recipe itself is what got János and Péter Zwack off o... Read More »
The Southern Hungarian town of Villány has featured a grape-growing and wine culture that pre-dates the Roman empire. This culture was reinvigorated after the fall of communism, and Attila Gere founded his label in the 1990s as the seventh generation winemaker in his family. Portugieser is a specialty of the village, having been brought by German settlers after the occupation of the Ottoman Empire. The Atilla Gere is fermented using natural yeasts in stainless steel. Then wine is then aged in 5000 liter barrels for at least four months. A lighter style o... Read More »
Neal Martin of eRobertParker.com writes: "I must confess that the winery was larger than I had presupposed. Perhaps I have been so bewitched by their aszu wines that I had not paid enough attention to the success of their entry-level dry Furmints. One only needs to look at their advertising campaign or even their permanent booth stationed in Budapest Airport to understand why Royal Tokaji Company is not just for connoisseurs seeking single-vineyard wines, but also caters to those making their first foray into the region’s wines. Of the estate’s 107 hecta... Read More »
Anthony Hwang was born in the Philippines and made his money as a businessman in New York, but it was his passion for wine that led him to buy the Királyudvar estate, a jewel in the Hungarian crown that used to supply wine to the Hapsburgs during the days of the Hungarian Empire. Under Hwang's supervision, and with the help of his partner Noël Pinguet of Vouvray's Domaine Huët, this estate has been revitalized, and the wines being made there today are worthy of Tokaji's legacy.
Inventory: San Francisco
92 points Wine & Spirits: "István Spiegelberg blends Hungary's three greatest white wine grapes—juhfark, hárslevelu, and furmint— for this opulent white. Fermented spontaneously in 500-liter Hungarian oak casks and held in cask for another year or so before bottling, this is rich as marzipan, with hárslevelu's delicate florals playing over top. The light herbal notes and vibrant acidity keep it lifted enough to enjoy on its own, or with fish in a cream sauce." (6/2014) K&L Notes: From the importer: "One of the most unique traditions in Somló is the belief that drinking its wines before copulat... Read More »
95 points Wine Spectator: "*Top 100 Wines of 2013* Ripe, intense and dynamic, with juicy layers of sweet pineapple, apricot and mango puree. Generous yet tightly focused, with an abundance of vanilla bean, mace and other exotic spices that emerge on the long finish. Drink now through 2027." (6/2013)
A blend of Furmint, Hárslevelû and Yellow Muscat, made in the traditional Champagne method. Neal Martin writes in the Wine Advocate on his visit to the estate: "I visited Patricius Winery just as the sun came out from behind the clouds, the tasting room lit up with its vista over the never-ending Great Plain. Here I met with general manager Peter Molnar and proprietor Katinka Kekessy. There was a Germanic aristocratic air about Katinka, so it was unsurprising when she revealed that her ancestors owned important vineyards in the region during the 17th and... Read More »
Inventory: San Francisco
94 points Wine Spectator: "The vivid acidity defines this mineral-laden, sweet Tokaji, which offers a mix of dried citrus, orange peel, antique furniture and smoky mineral flavors wrapped around a tight core. The finish evokes hard citrus candy and baked earth accents. Best from 2012 through 2040. 800 cases made. –BS" (10/2010)
93 points Wine Spectator: "A ripe, lush sweetie, with bright acidity backing notes of golden raisin, dried apricot and pineapple that linger through the spicy finish. Drink now through 2024. 2,500 cases made. –NW" (6/2013)