How to raise a grape to heaven?
Tamás Frittmann about Irsai Olivér
“If someone is not drinking soda or beer, he must be drinking Irsai Olivér” – said Tamás Frittmann winemaker in a recent interview by VinCE Magazine. The above statement refers to the recent success of Irsai Olivér, an indigenous aromatic grape. It was not always popular, the Frittmanns contributed to its fame with hard work and constant attention. The reward is obvious: now they sell more of Irsai Olivér than of the three rosé wines of the estate together.
Easy to make decent one, hard to make great one
It is indeed easy to work with Irsai Olivér, says Tamás, but he adds that for a great Irsai you need serious professional background. When Irsai became popular, a huge amount of Irsai got on the shelves, but – according to Tamás – many of them “lacked the heart”. The Frittmanns respect these easy-to-make varieties as well, even though it hard to achieve accolades with them at wine competitions. They are not meant to win gold medals, however, they are still celebrated – by the consumers. “A full bodied red wine is more likely to win even if it is not outstanding in its flight, while for a light white wine it is not enough to be great, it must be unforgettable as well” – says Tamás. And what’s the secret of the great aromatic wines? Visit the Frittmanns and they will explain. Just some hints: canopy management meaning not thinning the leaves, early harvest to retain acidity – and many others.
A playground with the finest scents
The Frittmann family pays extra attention to the aromatic varieties, not only to Irsai, but to Cserszegi Fűszeres and Generosa as well – this latter one also became famous due to the estate. Now the second generation runs the winery, Tamás and Péter, and they love experimenting. Two new wines are the result of their experimenting habit: Olívia and Hajnal. We introduced Olívia earlier, and now let us introduce Hajnal. The name means “Sunrise” or “Dawn” and it is a blend of Cserszegi Fűszeres and Hibernal. Hibernal is a resistant variety, which needs much less or nearly no pesticides in the vineyard – and the crispy, juicy wine is ideal when wine tasting (or rather drinking) lasts until dawn…
The original interview is made by Sára Megyeri and was published in VinCE Magazine, July issue.