New vintage Vylyan Mandulás
Wine of the Weekend: Villányi Franc with a slightly new name
Vince Day (22 January), the day of Saint Vincent, patron of the vineyards is celebrated every year at Vylyan Vineyard and Winery. Now we celebrate the day with one of the most beautiful fruit of Vylyan vineyards: a barrel selection Cabernet Franc, as it is called in Villány, a Villányi Franc.
My one my best vineyard memories is a Vince Day at Vylyan. I remember walking among the frosty vines and searching for some hidden bottles, which was a kind of warming up exercise. We enjoyed the mulled wine, listened to the musicians and even there was a priest, blessing the vines. According to the belief, if the vine branch sprouts, the crop will be nice that year. Then we had a memorable winery visit with tasting and a dinner in the cellar.
Mandolás becomes Mandulás
Mandolás has been a flagship, single vineyard wine of the estate with grapes harvested in Mandolás vineyard. However, Gombás vineyard also gives outstanding fruit, thus in the 2017 vintage they blended the wines of the best Cabernet Franc from Mandolás and Gombás vineyards. Since the wine is not a single vineyard wine any more, but a barrel selection, they changed the name, just a little bit, so that for customers it could be clear that the wine was the same style and quality. ‘Mandolás’ is the archaic version of the word ‘mandulás’ and it means (a vineyard) ‘with almond trees’.
2017 – a memorable vintage
2017 was a good year with cold winter and hot summer. Fortunately the vineyards did not summer frost damage unlike many other vineyards in Europe. Summer was hot with a good amount of rainfall and as a consequence harvest took place record early as well, it began on 17 August and Vylyan team picked Cabernet Franc on 12 October.
Mandulás vineyard has southern exposure to the sun, while Gombás vineyard is cooler with eastern exposure. The soil is limestone base with loess and clay. As for the vinification: fermentation was slow and even, it took two weeks followed by one week more on the skin. The aged in barrique for 18 months with the team closely monitoring all the barrels. After continuous tasting they have selected the barrels with the most beautiful wines, and the bottled outcome is the blend of these selected barrels. Bottling took place on 10 September 2019.
Pleasure for a decade
Mandulás falls into the super premium category of Villány Franc. Serious structure, great wine with masculine tannins. The fruits are reminiscent of blackberry, ripe cherry and sour cherry. Elegant palate with a touch of dark chocolate bitterness. Decent length with some cinnamon and spiciness of cider. It is ready to enjoy, but we can safely keep it for 10 more years, it will develop and be enhanced with more layers.
The recommended drinking temperature of Mandulás is 15–16 °C, decanting makes it shine even more. It pairs well with dishes made of noble venison and roasted meat plates with forest fruit reduction. It is more than worth trying with dark chocolate desserts