Hungary, Day 3, and a visit to lake Balaton

Tara Q Thomas and Wojciech Boknowski taking snaps of winning bottles

It is a measure, perhaps, of how good some of the wines in the Pannon Wine Challenge were that when the winners were unveiled at the end of tasting, the judges all crowded round with cameras and iPhones in order to photograph the winning bottles.

Some of the star wines

The best wines in the challenge were superb. It has made me determined to follow what is going on in Hungary with a close eye in the future. Yes, there are some problems with high-end reds that are picked too late and subjected to an oxidative winemaking regime. But there are also lovely complex wines with great definition, and superb local grape varieties.

Vineyards on the shores of lake Balaton

After judging was complete, we left Pannonhalm for lake Balaton, where we visited Istvan Jásdi. He’s been making wine here, in the Csopak region on the shores of the lake, since 1999.

He caught the wine bug during 5 years spent in Paris, and when he sold his company, aged 50, he sunk his money into this small domaine that was established by 1853 and which had, at one stage, been owned by a local bishop.

Istvan Jasdi

He specializes in Olaszrizling (Welscher Riesling), which does good things here, acting as an interpreter of terroir. Two vineyards, just a couple of metres apart, produce very distinctive and different expressions, and the only difference is the soil.

Jásdi took us to his atmospheric cellar, and showed us some cask samples. We also tried some bottled wines, and the remarkable thing is the positive way his wines develop with age, as 2002 and 2004 vintage wines showed. ‘It is not acidity but the minerality that gives this ageing potential,’ says Jásdi. He cites a friend who has loess soils, and whose wines have half the ageing potential. ‘He is a much better winemaker than me but my wines age better.’

2 comments to Hungary, Day 3, and a visit to lake Balaton

  • europai

    Noticed that 2009 Kreinbacher Syrah last July when visited Somlo Hill. Excellent, Rhone style with superb balance and definition. Also liked the 2010 Syrah Rose. Looking forward to that Hangacs this summer. I also like Jasdi, great site and dedication. Best positioned (scenic) Hungarian winery ever!

  • As a Hungarian drinking wine count as a daily routine. We drink wine not for the taste but it is also considered very healthy. Of course, in a small amount. Our personal favourite is from one of the cellars around Lake Balaton: Konyári. As we get older we appreciate Rosé. Konyári has great Rosé. I would definetely recommend it.

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