Best Sustainable, Best Merlot, Best Sauv Blanc and Best Syrah of VinAgora 2023
VinAgora, the “Wine Compass of Central Europe” international wine competition is held annually in Hungary. This year a total of 916 samples were registered, representing 15 wine producing countries. The international rules of the competition’s patrons (OIV) stipulate that only the top 30% in each main category can be awarded. According to the final score limits 15 Grand Gold, 156 Gold and 110 Silver medals and a further 30 special prizes found their owner in the competition. Let us introduce 4 special prize winners! The first is a special prize sponsored by Chef Market, and we are glad to see that producers with sustainable approach get special attention.
The most deserving wine from environmentally conscious production: Dominium Adél 2021, Mátra
As we keep saying, the volcanic Mátra, the largest mountainous wine region of Hungary deserves more attentions, miracles come from there. Dániel Orbán is one of the devoted winemakers who creates wonders after wonders. We have recently posted about Dominium Tempranillo, a rarity in Hungary, and now this prestigious acknowledgement goes to an exciting white blend of the estate called Adél. Furmint is known as the flagship wine of Tokaj, but it is grown in many other wine regions as well, for example in Mátra at Dominium estate.
Adél is made of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Furmint. The varieties aged separately in new oak for 8 months and after blending the wines matured in stainless steel for 4 more months. Only 1200 bottles were made and the indicative retailed price is around 23 euros. The jury at VinAgora mentions the following adjectives: rich, elegant, long finish, complex, fiery, concentrated. And the following notes: dried figs, quince, walnut, pistachio, tropical fruits, juniper, pine, lemongrass, toffee, gingerbread, brioche (and many more).
Best Hungarian Sauvignon blanc: Garamvári Premium Sauvignon Blanc 2022, Balatonlelle
Garamvári Vinayards is a “usual” protagonist of the top of the tops at VinAgora. Two years ago Péter Baranyai, the winemaker of the estate was selected The Most Successful Winemaker of VinAgora. This year again 3 of the VinAgora medals went to this winery, and their Premium Sauvignon Blanc proved to be the best among all submitted Hungarian Sauvignon Blanc wines. The grape comes from the slopes of Balatonlelle, a town on the south bank of Lake Balaton. The wine aged in stainless steel tank for 4 months to capture the fruity, grassy, fresh aromas of the grape variety. The jury at VinAgora mentions the following adjectives: crispy, elegant, fresh, balanced, long finish. And the following notes: lemon, lemongrass, white pepper, gooseberry, green apple, quince, thyme, lemon zest, linden blossom
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Best Hungarian Merlot: Babarczi Pannonhalmi Merlot 2020, Pannonhalma
Babarczi Vineyard and Winery is situated in Pannonhalma wine region in the north-west part of Hungary. The climate is quite cool thus the region is ideal for crispy, fruity white wines. Babarczi is famous for its decent Sauvignon Blanc and its aromatic wines like Irsai Olivér – they are never overwhelming, always refreshing and balanced. To this white empire arrived the first red wine, a Kékfrankos in 2017 and soon a Merlot from the same vintage. Babarczi Merlot 2017 was listed in Michelin star Borkonyha restaurant, and as the sommelier commented, the wine soon became one of the favourite wines of the guests. Babarczi Marianum, a varietal Cabernet Franc continued the series of success: Berliner Wine Trophy gold for both 2019 and 2020 vintages. Babarczi Merlot aged in used oak barrels for 10 months. Elegant, fruit driven, velvety Merlot – a great example of the variety. Only 1400 botles were made and the retails price is only around 18 euros!
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Best Hungarian Syrah: Bock BV Syrah Extreme 2020, Villány
The crop of Bocor vineyard was so great, extremely great that it was obvious: this Syrah should become a varietal, single vineyard wine. Short after being released, it was selected the best red wine in Vince magazine, February issue. “Layered, refined, fruity, spicy, velvety, rich, long, full bodied”. Then the wine collected two medals: Gold medal Berliner Wine Trophy and Great Gold medal at Citadelles du Vin.
Crystal clear, deep purple colour. The “legs” on the inside of the glass move slowly, evenly anticipating that our wine is not an everyday wine here. The nose is youthful, developing, as we pour into the glass it changes every minute. More and more layers are revealed, it begins with a cavalcade of red and black berry fruits and goes on with exciting, luscious barrel spices, and it does not stop. The scale of aromas is immensely wide from santal through blood orange and pepper to tobacco leaf. The palate justifies the promise of the nose: dry, full mouthfeel, firm, balanced acidity, really soft tannin structure. Medium plus body and endless aftertaste. It is worth decanting one or one and a half hours before drinking. Recommended serving temperature: 16–18 C. Ideal pairing with venison stew or steak garnished with spicy steak potato or grilled vegetables and green pepper sauce.
Only 1500 bottles were made, so you had better hurry! You can read about the vintage and can see all the technical details here.
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