Zelna Winery in Balatonfüred, the enterprise of the young couple Lilla Lukács and Barna Barabás, opened last January, meaning that they only have one vintage on the market so far. We visited the winery’s booth during the Balatonfüred Wine Weeks, and found out that their guest house and wine terrace are already under construction, and that they’ll soon release a red wine aged in new oak barrels.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Zelna, whose vineyards are located in the Balatonfüred-Csopak Wine Region, in Balatonfüred and Balatonszőlős to be more exact, is one of this year’s biggest surprises in the whole country and, more specifically, around Lake Balaton. It was only last year that owners Lilla Lukács, who previously worked in communications and marketing, and Barna Barabás, who has an academic background in viticulture and oenology, started building the family winery and buying land for the venture; nevertheless, their 2014 wines quickly became the talk of the industry despite the adverse weather conditions of the year.
What’s worth knowing about 2014 vintages in the Carpathian Basin is that a lot of the wines – that is, if any kind of wine could be made at all – came out watery and had undeveloped acids thanks to the abundant rain and the relatively few hours of sunshine. To minimise expected losses and to avoid putting out products not worthy of the brand’s fame and standards, many Hungarian wineries used their red wine grapes to make rosés, which are usually more acidic nowadays in line with current fashions.
Many other wines were made from grapes grown in regions with a more favourable climate, and these defied the harsh circumstances, yielding everyday and bigger, more complex wines that were able to live up to both their own reputation and the industry’s standards.
Well, Zelna chose both routes. Lilla and the team made a rosé from their Zweigelt and Merlot grapes, which was fuller and more diversely aromatic compared to other Hungarian rosé wines, but used the Pinot gris and the Welschriesling to create ripe and nicely structured wines unlike most of the 2014 vintages. Last year, they produced exactly 9,800 bottles from grapes grown on 8 hectares, and we also need to add that their new oak barrel red, which is a Merlot-Cabernet sauvignon blend, will appear on the market really soon.
We would definitely urge you all to try their available items, especially as the Balatonfüred Wine Weeks are on until August 29 with Zelna Winery among the exhibitors. The winery’s guest house on Farkó-kő-dűlő is currently under construction, and the owners hope it will be completed by autumn, becoming another one of Balaton’s breathtakingly scenic wine terraces not to miss.