Located towards the top region of Örsi-hegy, the Csendes Dűlő Estate works with four different varieties of grapes, and they’re doing a pretty good job by the looks of it, as some of the best restaurants in the country are lining up at their door. For now, all visitors can do is marvel at the sensational panorama while tasting the vintages, but a more elaborate catering unit is definitely among the future plans of the owners.
In a quite place
A stone’s throw away from Folly Arboretum and Winery, Csendes-dűlő, the namesake vineyard of the winery can be found on the south side of Örsi-hegy. The family has worked the 3-hectare estate for almost 40 years, and they are not intent on expanding is too extensively in the future. The aim is to continue the clan’s winemaking legacy in a familial, artisanal setting by working with minimally intrusive techniques.
The vines produce Kéknyelű, Pinot gris, Hárslevelű and Welschriesling – varieties that are all characteristic of the Badacsony wine region, and yield exceptionally excellent wines on the local, volcanic soil, which intensively reflect the mineral features of the terroir.
By Hungarian standards, the estate is a long-standing one (remember: 40 years), but it was only recently that they started distributing their products in a wider circle. The estate manager of Csendes – the founder’s granddaughter – is Júlia Dóra Molnár, who sells the wines, but she’s also a photographer and a translator.
She was the one who told us about the estate’s past and early successes on the scenic wine terrace, their unofficial catering location for the time being. The official venue will be established at a later point, in the next development phase, on the lower third of Örsi-hegy.
We ask Dóra to tell us some success stories, and the first thing she mentions is that the 2012 Hárslevelű of the Csendes Dűlő Estate received the maximum number of points in the latest white wine test of Nemzeti Borkiválóság Program (National Programme of Excellence in Winemaking) – a feat only three other whites were capable of in the whole country.
There’s a story that goes with this achievement. One day the family was picking sour cherries on the estate when the head sommelier of the Michelin star-winning Onyx showed up in flip-flops to check out the assortment of the winery. Keeping her Balaton cool, Dóra leapt off the step ladder and told the peculiar stranger to come back in an hour and a half because for one thing, they were not yet done picking the fruit, and for another: “Head sommelier? Here, on Hegyalja Way, in the heat of noon, without a tailcoat?” Let’s slow down just a bit.
The unexpected guest was indeed János Gervai, who’s known for two things. Apart from working with Onyx, he is a winemaker as well, and he doesn’t make empty promises. After the tasting at Dóra’s family vineyard, all he said in his polite way was: don’t sell all the ‘12 Hárslevelű and the ’06 Kéknyelű because, well, you can never know.
Since then these items have been staples on the wine list of Onyx, and they have been also added to the wine selection of Costes, another Michelin star-holding restaurant. Dóra thinks it’s equally important that catering establishments around Balaton should carry their wines too: their products can be found at several locations in Badacsony, Szigliget and Tapolca. The complete list is available on their website.
Their wines are sold on the Hegyalja Way estate as well: visitors can choose from four varieties produced in four years and a special cuvée at an ex-cellar price of 1,300-3,000 HUF per bottle. If you’re interested in paying them a visit and sampling their wines on the terrace with a breathtaking view, it’s worth making an appointment. Coming by bike? Prepare yourselves for a steep climb!
Which are their must-try vintages?
"Csendes Dűlő Szőlőbirtok - Hárslevelű 2013"
Even though in our article we praised Csendes’ Hárslevelű, Dóra and her crew have already brought out a new vintage wine. Have no fear: you won’t need to run if you’re faced with this 2013 item. This is an excellent “gastro wine” with fine acids, and when you try it you’ll know why a Balaton dish with butternut squash goes better with it than the typical combination of fried hake and gherkins.
"Csendes Dűlő Szőlőbirtok - Kéknyelű 2013"
Kéknyelű is not a genre you’ll instantly get the hang of, especially when there’s also a Krúdy quote on the bottle. Made without barrel fermentation, Csendes Dűlő’s Kéknyelű reflects almost exactly the mineral features of the soil due to the characteristics of the grape variety – sipping on this wine is like tasting Örsi-hegy itself. Of course, this is a much more satisfying experience in real life than on the screen.