Last week we reported the announcement of the 21st VinAgora International Wine Competition of Hungary and we introduced some champions, then we also presented 7 gold medal winner white wines. Now we will present 10 of the gold winners, this time only red wines. These wines are more than worth buying and some of them are also worth keeping – with time these fine wines will be worth more gold…
Syrah 2015 – The Best Hungarian Syrah
Syrah is not among the most planted grapes, but this Rhone variety is more and more popular, and in southern regions like Villány it can fully ripen and give great examples of the variety. Heumann Winery pays extra attention to the vineyard, and it is obviously rewarding. The German–Swiss couple has won numerous gold medals in several international competitions, the quality of their wines is always very high – you can trust them and age them for a long time. This 2015 vintage wine has not only won a gold, but it was also selected to be the Best Hungarian Syrah. “Dark purple with violet rim. In the nose red berries with a whiff of barrique; spicy on the palate, pepper, taste of sour cherries, great structurewith well integrated tannins, long lasting.”
‘Eszterbauer Frankos’ Prémium Kékfrankos, 2017
Kékfrankos (aka Blaufrankisch) is the most widely planted black grape in Hungary, and it has a special importance in Szekszárd wine region. Eszterbauer is a family winery with deep roots in winemaking, but the estate in its present form was founded by János Eszterbauer, who manages the winery, and his daughter, Ildikó also participates in the family business. The wine is made of vineyard selected Kékfrankos (‘Bodzás’ vineyard), and it reflects the greatness of the vintage. The label features the owner’s grandfather. The winery received another gold medal for Mesterünk, a Bordeaux blend also from 2017 vintage.
The flagship wine of Vesztergombi Cellar in Szekszárd wine region was named after a bird of prey. The wine is powerful – just like the mythological bird – and complex. It is made of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, was fermented in stainless steel and matured in new oak barrels for 15 months. “The Cabernet Franc’s heavy and often coarse style is excellently complemented and smoothed out by the lightness and kindness of the Merlot.“ The previous vintage of this wine won a gold medal at Mundus Vini.
Bikavér Grand Superior (Nagy-Eged), 2016
Thummerer Winery is a true expert of Bikavér wines. In Hungary two wine regions are allowed to make Bikavér (aka ‘Bull’s blood’), Eger and Szekszárd. They will never agree on whose Bikavér is the older, but this competition is a healthy rivalry. Thummerer Winery has been releasing great Bikavér wines for more than three decades, there are hardly any important contests without Thummerer gold medals. Bikavér is always a blend, and the majority of the wine should be produced from indigenous grapes. This Bikavér is made of Kékfrankos (40%), Cabernet Franc (25%), Merlot (15%) and Syrah (10%) and the wine was matured in used oak barrels for 12 months. The grapes came from Nagy-Eged, a unique terroir, at the highest altitude in Hungary. An entry level Bikavér of the estate, Bikavér Superior 2016 also received a gold medal along with Thummerer Cabernet Franc Selection 2016 and Thummerer Cabernet Sauvignon Selection 2016 and
Cabernet Franc 2018
This wine is a special label wine made by Csányi Winery, Villány for Lidl supermarket chain. Another good example to prove that great wines can be produced in larger quantities as well. This wine is under 4 euros, fruity, refreshing and balanced and shows an easy drinking face of Cabernet Franc. The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks and 50.000 bottles were released. Another red wine of the winery at the far end of the scale, a super premium red blend, Chateau Teleki Villányi Alex Cuvée 2015 has also won gold medal. The blend is made of Cabernet franc (37%), Kékfrankos (32%) and Cabernet sauvignon (31%) and was matured in used oak barrels for 18 months. Villányi Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, another Csányi wine made for Lidl received gold medal as well.
Lidl spermarket chain must have a good team to select wines. Just like the above mentioned Csányi Cabernet Franc, this wine is also sold on the shelves of Lidl. Cultus Cuvée is made in Bock Cellar, Villány, and the blend is Merlot (30%), Cabernet Franc (%), Kékfrankos (%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (%). It was mostly aged in stainless steel with a smaller proportion in new oak. Bock wines have their own, well recognizable character: whatever Bock wine you are drinking, the most expensive or the most inexpensive – just like Cultus under 5 euros –, you will know that it is a Bock wine. Powerful, flavourful and complex. Bock Merlot Special Reserve 2015 has also won gold medal!
Egri Bikavér Grand Superior 2016
Another gold winner Bikavér from Eger wine region, this one is made by Tóth Ferenc Winery, another family winery. The blend is Kékfrankos (50%), Cabernet Sauvignon (15%), Cabernet Franc (18%) and Merlot (12%) and it was matured partially in new and used oak barrel. All the grapes came from Síkhegy vineyard with low yield, and all the varieties were vinified and aged separately for 16 months and after blending they spent 3 months together. Only 4400 bottles were made if this wine, which has a special importance: this is the first grand superior wine of the estate.
Pannonhalmi Merlot 2018
It is not the first international prize won by this wine, though the estate, Babarczi Winery in Pannonhalma wine region is relatively a new comer in red wine making. “Deep ruby in colour, a bouquet of full fruit balanced by sweet spices slowly unfurls: ripe plums and mulberries, hints of blueberries followed by cloves, vanilla, cinnamon and cedar layered with cocoa beans and dark chocolate. A mellow ripe grape with smooth tannins and notes of plum jam, chocolate and delicate wood with a lingering gentle woody finish. A young but big wine with serious aging potential, the perfect match for duck, goose and even venison dishes.”
The gold medal of NJK, the flagship wine of Kovács Nimród Winery in Eger wine region is not a surprise. The wine is a blend of Kékfrankos (60%) and Syrah (40%) and it was matured in new oak (French and Hungarian) for 30 months, and before being released it spent 36 more months in the bottle. The grape was harvested in the unique Nagy Eged vineyard, at the highest altitude in Hungary. “It shows aromas of allspice and tobacco that are complimented by concentrated flavors of plum liqueur, smoky raspberry and bramble. These flavors flow into an elegant, long smooth balanced finish.”
Villányi Franc 2017 – The Best Cabernet Franc in Hungary
Cabernet Franc has a special importance in Villány, and thus the wine region is preparing for its own Cabernet Franc international competion in 2021. But meanwhile the variety – which has its own name here, Villányi Franc – shows its greatness. This Franc was made by Koch Winery led by Csaba Koch, Winemaker of the Year (2019). The wine was aged in new oak barrels for 13 months. It has not only won a gold medal, but was selected the Best Cabernet Franc in Hungary – even though Csaba Koch is not from Villány, his “headquarters” are in Hajós–Baja wine region.