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Laposa Winery - FRISS 2015
The Laposa team and FRISS probably need no introduction; the wine, which is one of the hit products of the winemaker family, is sold everywhere from corner shops, supermarkets, and beach buffets to wine bars and restaurants. It’s created from Welschriesling, the primary variety of Badacsony and the entire Balaton region, which is equally suitable for making light and summery fröccs wines and real heavyweights that are matured for years deep in the cellar.
Price: 1,590 forints
Funnily enough, this was the first wine we tasted, and it ended up being the winning item as well. A possible explanation is that this is a simple, but fantastic fruity vintage; some of us identified notes of pineapple and apricot during the tasting. All of us had only nice things to say about FRISS, which also became the best-buy item of the whole selection. These mild acids could definitely bring some sunshine into the rainy spring we’re having: we wouldn’t mind drinking this Riesling while enjoying the stunning (but so far rainy) panorama.
Gilvesy Winery - BOHÉM Cuvée 2015
Gilvesy Winery is the new shooting star of Szent György Hill and the Hungarian winemaking scene. Their assortment is quite small, currently comprising a mere five items. With Sauvignon blanc and Rheinriesling being the most important varieties, the selection has been designed to showcase the typical mineral-rich character of Szent György Hill. This time we sampled one of their blends featuring the above two varieties as well as Pinot gris and Welschriesling.
Price: 1,950 forints
Many of us noted the intense acids of Bohém (as a positive feature!); we though the fragrance was understated, and the taste had traces of both grapes and citrus fruits. The fruity notes earned this wine a shared third place in our test, and we agreed that (even though it’s probably great for fröccs as well) if you have it undiluted, it would be a nice complement to any fish dish. We’re not talking about overcomplicated creations: fried bream in flour and paprika or crucian carp would do just fine.
Béla és Bandi Cellar - Rozé 2015
Wine fans familiar with the Béla és Bandi brand will immediately think of two things upon hearing the name: the red tractor adorning all of their labels and the chilled-out atmosphere of drinking fröccs with your friends by Lake Balaton on a warm summer evening. All of their wines exude the laid-back feeling that is so very typical of fröccs (but we definitely recommend trying them on their own first): no worries, kick off your shoes, relax, smile, everything’s all right.
Price: 1,690 forints
We managed to keep our shoes on, but we said things like this wine is “ostentatious”, “sensual”, and “girly”. Someone said it had a “slightly bitter” “grapefruity” aftertaste, while another member of our team pointed out the wine’s freshness, but despite all of these unique qualities, this item was not the most successful in a strong competition like this.
Skizo Winehouse - Rozé 2015
Our selection included two rosés: the one directly above from Béla és Bandi and this wine by Skizo. Skizo is the joint project of two winemakers from Badacsony, who worked in large-scale production, but decided to launch their own artisanal winery on the side. In the past few years, they’ve become particularly popular, not least because of their creative wine labels.
Price: 1,300 forints
One of our testers made a surprising remark about this wine: he said he would pair it with a dish that has mayo in it, later adding that he’d want to have it with chili mayonnaise; fried meat was also mentioned as a possible pairing. In the end (after several more rounds) we came up with the ultimate idea: it would probably go best with a homemade burger, fries, and coleslaw.
Villa Tolnay - Zöldveltelini Tavasz 2015
The name says everything about what to expect after you pop the bottle open. This was the only wine with a traditional cork stopper; all the others had a screw cap. Villa Tolnay believes very much in preserving traditions, but it’s also known for its exceptional willingness to experiment, come up with new ideas, and enrich its arsenal with knowledge borrowed from other schools of winemaking. Zöldveltelini Tavasz was also the only one matured in an oak barrel.
Price: 1,790 forints
We don’t know if it’s the oak barrel and the classic cork stopper or something else, but this wine was different from all the others. Our team described it as “thick and oily”, “exciting”, “salty”, “limey”, and “smoky”. This orgy of flavors and the element of surprise propelled this wine to second place. What else is there to add? Perhaps a few paper-thin slices of mangalica ham with green asparagus and a poached egg.
Konyári Wine Cellar - Lyra Cuvée 2015
We couldn’t not include one of the most beloved blends and most important ingredients of summertime fröccs sessions. Made from Muscat ottonel, Zenit, Sauvignon blanc, Gohér, Welschriesling, and Semillon, Lyra by Konyári was the only contestant we had from the south shore. Based in Balatonboglár, the Konyári team is famous for its reds, so we were curious to see what they can do with a summery white.
Price: 1,990 forints
Lyra has a wonderful diversity of aromas, but our tasting team though the price was a little bit high. “Cantaloupe”, “elderflower”, and “apricot” were some of the descriptive words that came to mind, and one tester mentioned a kind of “bubbliness”. Wines that are chilled and closed off from air during fermentation are sometimes enhanced with a touch of carbon dioxide before the bottling process, which gives them a sparkly, fresh quality. That is probably what happened to this item as well, which came in third at the end of our tasting.