Desperate gambler or respected professor? The real story of Irsai Olivér
Irsai Olivér is a crossing between Pozsonyi Fehér and Csabagyöngye created by Pál Kocsis in 1930. There are several legends of the naming of the grape, one says that Kocsis was a passionate gambler and he gave away the name of the crossing due to his massive debt.
Another story – similar to the previous one – is that Kocsis had habits of that of a rich nobleman, spent a lot of money in pubs, drank till dawn – and his faithful carter took him home after the whole night drinking session. And he was so grateful to him, that he named his grape after his servant. Well, this story is probably a misunderstanding of Pál Kocsis’s name – Kocsis literally means carter / driver, and maybe the confusion is the lack of proper information.
The truth is none of the above stories: Irsai Olivér was of the son of a respected wine merchant, and the wine merchant was a good friend of Kocsis. Kocsis did not want to give his rather simple name name to the new grape – which is aromatic, even flamboyant, so it has nothing to do with simplicity. Kocsis showed a great respect towards his wine merchant friend, who happened to have a lovely son with a fairly interesting name – so that was it! The grandson of Irsai Olivér is a university student now in Szeged. Ripening early, Irsai Olivér gives a very aromatic, intense wine with grapey aromas, delicate spices. Easy drinking wine with medium-low acidity and alcohol, almost always vinified reductively for instant consumption. Irsai is planted widely in Hungary due to its popularity. Wonderful examples of the grape are produced in Kunság region, where the best winemakers can keep the aromatic character of the variety under control: not too perfume-like, aromatic, but still elegant. Also popular in Mátra, Balaton, Pannonhalma, Etyek–Buda, Neszmély, Sopron.
3 lovely examples of Irsai Oliver to celebrate and enjoy this wonderful, light-hearted, easy drinking grape variety
BABARCZI ESTATE, PANNONHALMI WINE REGION
PANNONHALMI IRSAI OLIVÉR 2015
Pale golden in colour with a floral bouquet of elderberry with hints of white flowers as well as citrus notes. Its gentle acidity gives refreshment, combined with a light body with a balanced palate of spices and citrus aromas. It is a characteristic, crispy, elegant light wine.
FRITTMANN WINERY, KUNSÁG WINE REGION
IRSAI OLIVÉR 2016
Straw yellow colour. Intense nose with flowers, citrus fruits, green apple and peach. The zest of crispy acidity gives the first impression followed by light body low alcohol content. The palate has the same flavours as on the nose. Pleasant finish with green spices and lime. A pronounced, aromatic wine and still great thirst-quenching.
KOCH WINERY, HAJÓS–BAJAI WINE REGION
HAJÓS–BAJAI IRSAI OLIVÉR 2015
The fabulous scent of a flowery spring meadow, bright sunshine and the the crispy freshness of the fruits are captured in the bottle. Open it and let them entertain you, enjoy the feeling!