Szent György-hegy is one of Balaton’s fastest developing areas. It has its own festival, Szent György-hegy Until Dawn, a renovated landmark in the Tarányi Cellar and a new wine bar opened this year, Murci. Here are six wines from the best-known local producers, proving that the hill is slowly stepping out of the shadow of its big sister, Badacsony.
The hills of Lake Balaton are popular for different reasons and Szent György-hegy has its own followers. Anyone who ever climbed to the top to see the view will never forget it. Wine lovers now feel the same way. If you like Riesling or Hárslevelű, this is the perfect place. Other varieties found here include Sangiovese and Kék Bakator, the former a popular variety in Tuscany, the latter only found here as far as Hungary is concerned.
These six selected wines are of different varieties and styles, but what they have in common is that they are all perfect companions for sunset over the summit.
The only red wine of this selection is well above the norm: it’s made from the native Tuscan Sangiovese Grosso variety. According to owner Csaba Török, Szent György-hegy is a great place for this thanks to its sub-Mediterranean micro-climate. 2017 was an especially good year, and it spent 13 months in barrels after the late September harvest. Barrel herbs dominate its scent, and the fruit will only become more pronounced later. It’s a well-proportioned wine, with crisp acids. Its flavour is mostly fruity, the cherry meeting with the vanilla and herbs from the barrel. Make sure to try it while it’s still available!
Price: 7,500 HUF
Winemaker István Bencze’s interest in biodynamics and natural wines deepens every year. This wine is unfiltered and contains no added sulphur. The variety, Kék Bakator, is a rare one in Hungary. István believes that the old Hungarian varieties truly show what Szent György-hegy is all about. The scent has a cool elegance to it, as well as notes of flowers and fruit. Its taste is vibrantly exciting with great proportions. It’s a multi-layered wine that’s hard to categorise, requiring an open mind and, in return, providing an unforgettable experience.
Price: 8,000 HUF
Róbert Gilvesy returned from Canada back to his roots at Szent György-hegy. He then brought the former Esterházy estate to life, creating a modern and contemporary building while also respecting its original proportions. The Riesling variety is also at home here and the Tarányi Vineyards of the Gilvesy family contain plants dating back 50 years. This wine was made from the younger ones, aged in tanks, in both a controlled and spontaneous way. It has a deep scent with sweet fruit, peach and honey. It’s a balanced wine with a crisp fruitiness. This is what a modern Riesling tastes like at Szent György-hegy.
Price: 2,950 HUF
A known face on Szent György-hegy, Ödön Nyári makes bread and wine. The bakery is in Pomáz, so when he’s away, his daughter, Emese helps out with the vineyards. They have one of the most beautifully situated terraces on the hill, perfect for enjoying a glass. They mostly make whites, with Hárslevelű in the spotlight. The 2012 vintage won the Piarist Wine of the Year award. Honey and pollen rule its scent, with hints of tropical fruit, while its subtle spiciness is a result of it being aged in barrels. It tastes soft and rounded, with flavours of fruit and herbs. It’s perfect for cooler nights and with more serious dishes.
Price: 2,800 HUF
Even the smallest of Szent György-hegy’s wineries produce great Olaszrieslings. The organic vineyard of the Szászi family usually produces three kinds of wine over the course of a year. Endre Szászi is always happy to talk shop if you find him on the terrace. This wine is how it should be: a light floral and fruity scent, great acids, the flavours of peach and apples with the subtle sourness of almonds. It’s a rich wine that goes well with roast pheasant or rabbit.
Price: 4,500 HUF
This item by Bálint Földi, who makes wines under the name of Két jóbarát meg az Anti, easily wins the best label award. This wine is further proof of how well Riesling works on the Szent György-hegy terroir. This whole-cluster pressed wine was spontaneously aged in steel tanks. Its sweet scent has notes of peach and a hint of spices. Its taste is tight, with notes of citrus, herbs, green apples and peach, ending in a slight sourness.
Price: 2,980 HUF