“Crispy white wines rule!”
Interview with Dr. Árpád Erdélyi, the estate manager of the Hungarian Antinori estate
The interview is based on that of Pécsi Borozó online wine magazin.
We asked Dr. Erdélyi Árpád about the year 2020, which did not lack challenges and which happens to be one of the best recent vintages. The estate in the commune of Bátaapáti (Tolna wine region) belongs to Marchese Piero Antinori‘s “empire”, and it gives fresh white wines, crispy roses and recently more and more serious red wines.
– How would you evaluate vintage 2020?
– In viticultural point of view 2020 was not an easy vintage at all. Budding took place later and longer, plus the cooler spring and the drought in summer meant serious challenge in the vineyards. Fortunately August brought some rainfall, which was cruicial to achieve juicy berries for the time of the harvest. From the winemakers’ aspect it was immensely important to obtain fully ripened and healthy grape. As for white wines and roses we can confidently state right now, that 2020 is one of the best vintages of many past vintages: sufficient acidity and full body, varietal characteristics and easy-to-drink wines. The red wines are also promising, but at the moment they are not matured enough to enjoy them in their full glamour.
– Which new wine is the best in your opinion?
– Personally I am a white wine lover, my favourite varietals are Rhine Rhiesling and Zöld Veltelini (aka Grüner Veltliner). Both of them are wonderful, and it is not only my interpretation, the market agrees with me. We have already sold more than 90% of our Rhine Riesling, which means almost 150.000 bottles, mostly in our export markets. The rest will get to the basket of Hungarian winelovers.
– Did the pandemic affect the life of the winery significantly? Regarding off or on trade?
– Undoubtedly, since HORECA suffered seriously due to lockdown measures. Plus the vines are growing, they cannot be cultivated from “home office”, therefore we needed to implement precautions in the vineyards – a full stop of work was obviously not an option. The situation was similar in the processing plant. As for sales, lots which were meant to be sold in HORECA could be successfully rearranged to be sold in chain stores and in new export markets. Thus I can say with relief that after the first shock we could fruitfully survive the first two waves of the pandemic.
– How about this year?
– I am optimistic about the new vintage, but of course we cannot influence nature. Work in the vineyard and in the cellar is given, it has to be done, like always. I am really positive about the third wave of the pandemic, hoping that it won’t last long.
– Are you planning any development?
– Well, in the past 10 years we planted 120 hectares of vineyard, our processing plant has been fully renovated and modernized, our vineyards have been equipped with state-of-art machinery and tools, therefore this year we might need only some new barrels, nothing else.
– Export or domestic sales dominate at Tűzkő Wine Estate?
For us export has been more significant since the beginnings. At the moment more than 80% of our full production is sold in our export markets.
Certainly it does not mean that our Hungarian customers do not get the same attention and quality. We make Hungarian wines made of Hungarian grapes, and yes, most of the fruit of our work travels abroad – to increase the reputation of Hungarian wines –, but of course we want to satisfy our local fans as well by giving them the best of Tűzkő Wine Estate. Including those who do not know us yet.
– Which Tűzkő wine proved to be the most popular last year?
– The most favoured wines were the fresh, crispy, aromatic (but not Muscat type) white wines like Zöld Veltelini (Grüner Veltliner), Pinot Grigio, Rhine Riesling. Rosé made of Kékfrankos (Blaufrankisch) was also tremendously popular. Our experience is that more and more winelovers prefer fresh white wines, especially in a hot day, but in the winter period as well – also paired with light, healthy dishes.
Tűzkő wine importers around the world: The Netherlands (Activin B.V.), Belgium (Drankenservice Vandermolen – Vanko bvba), Germany (Xaver Troiber e.k. ; Weinland Ariane Abayan GmbH ), Poland (LAUBEL – Peter Illesy), Switzerland (Globalwein AG – Philipp Reher), Taiwan (European Consumer Product Trading Co. Ltd.), Canada (Mark Anthony Brands), USA (Hemispheres LLC), Israel (Havit Hungarit), Italy (Marchesi Antinori S.p.A)