Happy 30th birthday, Vylyan!
The “love mark” of Villány – my personal love story
Do you know what a love mark is? Apple, VW, Starbucks are good examples of brands which mean more than a brand to their followers. Using Apple products is a religion, VW owners gather together every year and Starbucks lovers feel at home at their favourite café. I have some similar relationship with Vylyan Vineyards and Winery, and I will tell you why. (Cover photo: Vylyan Kakas Rozé 2022, the latest release made of Pinot Noir and Merlot.)
First, let me pinpoint some of the latest extravaganzas from Vylyan, to make you understand the greatness of this estate:
– Vylyan Franc Variations
Vylyan launched a new wine family in May 2021 called Vylyan Variations. Members of this family reflect the creativity of the winemaker, the passion of experimenting, the energy of the team. The first member was a barrel aged rosé followed by an amphora aged Syrah and now a duo pack of two bottles await winelovers of experimental spirit.The grape for both bottles came from the same vintage, the same vineyard, the same variety (Cabernet Franc), harvested at the same time, the only difference is the ageing vessel, the way the “wine was breathing“. The amphora aged wine mirrors Villány terroir without any mask, while the barrel aged wine is enhanced with the notes of the new wood. To compare the two bottles, the spot the tiny nuances, to realize and identify the differences is the ultimate experience for the advanced wine connoisseurs.
– Vylyan Pét-Nat
The first vintage of the ancient method sparkling wine was released last year and now the 2021 vintage is available – though only 700 bottles. The Villány estate creates something exciting from time to time with only one negative attribute – the quantity. Vylyan Pét-Nat is available only at Vylyan Depó (in the centre of Villány) and at Vylyan Terrace, on the site of the wine estate itself. Vylyan Vineyard and Winery is situated in Kisharsány, only a few minutes’ drive from Villány.
– Vylyan depó – a new cool place in Villány
Vylyan Vineyard and Winery and its Terrace is a favourite meeting spot for many of us, especially in the summer. However, to enjoy the breathtaking view, the relaxing atmosphere and the creatures of the chef – we need a car or at least some good bicycles (and muscles). With public transport or with no willingness to drive, well, we had to omit the pleasures of Vylyan. Until now. Because Vylyan Depó, the “little sister” of Vylyan Terrace has just opened in the very centre of the town of Villány!
Disclaimer: Before writing this post, I was hesitating for a while. Will it be too cheesy? As a wine writer, am I allowed to express my feelings towards a winery? Then I came to a decision: I haven’t written anything like this to Vylyan’s 25th birthday, I am 50 now, there is no guarantee that I will be alive at the 50th anniversary of the winery, so it is a now or never for my confession:)
The very first wine article
Vylyan celebrated the 30th anniversary of its foundation on the 17th of September. I could not be with them to celebrate, so my recent post is a kind of birthday greeting. When did I first come across the name Vylyan? At the moment when I started my wine career. It was by accident that I had been employed as the editor in chief of a wine magazine (I was bold, impudent and smart enough to persuade my would be bosses, plus I guess I asked much less than many other applicants…). So I found myself in a crucial position without the necessary knowledge. I started to read like hell to overcome the lack of my knowledge. The first piece was in a wine magazine called Borbarát (‘Wine Friend’), it does not exist any more. There was a long article about Vylyan’s founder’s death and the courage of Mónika Debreczeni, the wife, who decided to take over. I also remember the author of the article, József Kling, later we became good friends. The first serious “wine reading experience” of mine was about a great estate led by a great woman, and the story was written by one of my idols. It was in 2004, the same year, when Vylyan made its first Decanter Regional Trophy winner Pinot Noir, they received the Trophy in 2006. I happened to be the editor in chief of the Hungarian edition of Decanter magazine.
When you can’t help admiring something
During the following years I had the chance to visit the estate several times. I was fascinated by the inspiring atmosphere: art was deeply woven into the life of Vylyan. The first thing a visitor encounters is the row of the astonishing artistic barrels decorated by contemporary artists. The estate has a buzzing life with events all around the year from January (Vince day) to the cross cultural summer festival called Ördögkatlan. If you visit Vylyan, you are quite likely to bump into someone famous, someone important. But if you don’t it is just great to relax and enjoy the stunnng view.
Even my father became a Vylyan fan, it was when he read the story of Montenuovo blend, a flagship wine of the estate. The wine is named after Duke Montenuovo Nándor, who owned parts of their vineyards at the beginning of the 20th century. He was a great supporter of the local agriculture and his activity was immensely useful for the whole community, yet he died in prison due to the cruel treatment of the Communist oppressors.
When the estate celebrated its 25th anniversary, they came out with a set of new, artistic labels. But just simply with labels designed by an artist (they also do that, every year they organize a label contest for young artists). Mónika Debreczeni made it more complex: contemporary poets and writers wrote shorts stories and poems inspired by a given wine, and then the graphic artist designed the label inspired by the story or the poem. To read to stories and see the labels click here. Yes, the stories are all translated into English by a professional artistic translator.