In memoriam Zoltán Sánta WSET CE, Dip WSET
The news came on Monday, it took a week for us to decide whether to write this kind-of necrology or not. Because the moral question is always hanging in the air: are we writing about the death of our friend to generate readership? Finally we came to the conclusion, that since Zoltán was a real world citizen with many friends all around the globe, being the only English language news site of Hungarian wines, it is our duty to report this sorrowful event. We assume many fellow wine experts of Zoltán wonder if the news of his death is really true or not, having difficulties to google translate posts on Facebook.
I was in China when my husband texted this short message: „Zoli Sánta???”. What, did Zoli comment again one of our posts? – occured to me, since he usually did this. He was always keen on being precise with data, he insisted on being accurate. Then I was informed, that he cannot correct me any more. On this average Monday he went to teach, then to the swimming pool to keep fit, but suddenly he felt sick, and the ambulance could not save his life. At the age of 60, Zoltán Sánta passed away, suddenly, tragically, leaving a huge space after him. He was healthy, he ate healthy food, did exercises regularly, had environmental friendly daily habit and drank wine moderately. His only „sin” was to work a lot, and besides his commitments, he was thisrty for knowledge. Whenever he had time, he participated in tastings and wine trips to gain more information about wines. He was teacher, he organized wine contests, he jugded at several national and international wine competitions and he wrote numerous articles, and also a course book for WSET students. („Bortankönyv” = „Wine Course Book” is the only comprehensive course book on the wines of the world in Hungarian.)
A man of words
We had known him for almost 15 years. Our first long lasting memory of Zoli is from a trip to Bordeaux. About the 10 of us headed for Vinexpo in two cars with a stop in Trento on or way there, and in Beaune, Burgundy on our way back. It was a long drive, and Zoli was able to talk without stop! He opened his mouth in Beaune and closed when he said good bye in Budapest – it was funny end pleasant, since he was most intelligent and he was never short on stories. Last May he came to stay with us for a couple of days in our Catalan house, we had a really good time. My kids got to like him so much as well, he was naturally good with both the teenagers and the little one. In summer we asked him to be one of the members of the jury of our wine writing contest. He refused politely, because he already had more commitment than he could handle.
Last spring he did me a favour, we agreed on having a special wine in return, but we could not find the time during the summer. And now, it seems that I have to sprinkle that wine in the soil.