Happy 25th birthday, Etyeki Kúria!
A wine writer’s best memories from the past quarter of a century
Etyeki Kúria has created a special méthode traditionnelle sparkling wine to commemorate the 25th anniversary. 25 months on the lees and only 2500 bottles were made – magic numbers on the fact sheet to toast on the past 25 years in the most stylish way. The birthday party took place two weeks ago, and since I am thousands of kilometres away, I could not participate. I would have loved to, first because Etyeki Kúria is a fabulous estate with trustworthy wines and character, secondly because my wine career is almost as old as this state-of-the-art winery. Therefore I want to wish happy birthday by recalling some of my best memories of Etyeki Kúria.
1. The founding couple, Mr and Mrs Ottrubay bought the first few hectares from the late Tibor Báthori (Winemaker of the Year 1992) in 1996. I graduated from college at that time, moved to Budapest and started to taste wines regularly. A few years later I went to Etyek Wine festival, which was a “beginner” event back then. I heard about Etyeki Kúria, but I was on foot and could not find it – so my first memory is just the desire to visit the cellar…
2. I became the editor in chief of the Hungarian edition of Decanter magazine in 2004. In the very first issue we published a group interview with some important wine women of Hungary. It was obvious to include Sára Matolcsy, Mrs Ottrubay’s sister in this article, since she was the manager of the estate. Great women, great wines, great discussion – I was lucky to debut with such a great “raw material”.
3. Meanwhile Etyeki Kúria increased the number of hectares from the very few to 50, and now they have vineyards in two wine regions, Etyek and Sopron. I took foreign guests to the winery several times, and we were among the first to see the new, indeed state-of-art building. It was amazing to walk from past (the old, underground, original rustic cellar) to future (the new, glass floor and glass wall modern estate building), just by crossing the little path. Etyeki Kúria was among the first ones to offer a bit more creative cellar tours, for example by offering wine blending activities.
4. As the editor in chief of a wine magazine, I wanted to train my less lucky colleagues. I received invitations day by day, but how about the graphic designer or the accountant? How can they be enthusiastic about the magazine, if they don’t even have the chance to taste wines? So I took them to a harvest trip every year, to some team building and to immerse them in wine… One year we went to Etyeki Kúria to help in the harvest. Well, it was not all laughter and joy, it was hard work, and Sára was so strict, we could not even use our mobile phones out in the vineyard. She wanted us to dedicate our full attention to the grapes – and so we did. At the end of the day we were tired, but happy.
5. Etyeki Kúria was the first to plant Pinot Noir in Etyek wine region, and ever since they produce one of the most beautiful Pinot Noir wines of Hungary. I remember, once, in a tasting (if I am not mistaken it was a tasting for the Hungarian Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs in 2015) I gave the most scores to a Pinot Noir, and I was sure that it had come from Etyeki Kúria. I was right!
6. When I started Hungarianwines.eu in 2016, Etyeki Kúria was among the first ones to join the project. Meanwhile the number of bottles / year increased as well – now with some hundreds of thousand bottles Etyeki Kúria is an estate worth considering for foreign wine importers. It was obvious to include Etyeki Kúria in our first study tour organized for the winners of the 1st Hungarian WebWineWriting competition.
7. Before COVID we tried to participate in international wine events and exhibitions, Wine Paris was one of them. I was standing for three days behind the counter, introducing Hungarian wines made of indigenous grape varieties. I was happy to show MSP Zenit – MSP refers to the chief winemaker, Sándor Mérész and his own project with experimental wines. The wine was outstanding, no wonder an Italian importer fell in love with it – and he still keeps ordering the wine.
And these are just some of the memories, there are many more – for example the glass of Pláne Frizzante White at our last Hungarian Gettogether just a month ago. And I hope, there will be many more to come! Happy birthday, Etyeki Kúria!
Jubilee Day – 2nd October
Do you want to raise your glass to the 25 year old estate? Join them on 2nd October. Remember, Etyek is just a stone throw’s away from Budapest.
– Afternoon tasting, 14.00–17.00, 8325 HUF (23.5 euros) – unlimited tasting of Etyeki Kúria wines with cheese and salty pastries, transfer from and to Budapest. Members of Fine Wine Association will also be present.
– Evening tasting, 17.00–21.00, 8325 HUF (23.5 euros) – includes three glasses of wine, a pizza and an artisan doughnut, transfer from and to Budapest.
– Combined ticket, 14:00–21:00, 12.525 HUF (35 euros) – includes all the above.
For more information contact the winery