Sweet dreams from the corner of Balaton
Feind Choice – a botrytized dessert wine from Zeus
Choice by Feind – it sounds like the name of a perfume and actually this small bottle is like a perfume. ‘Édes’ means sweet, we use it for wine, for cakes and for our loved ones (something like ‘honey’ in English). Tamlyn Currin, wine writer of JancisRobinson.com has recently published a collection of reviews of sweet wines of Central Europe. Tokaj takes the lead obviously, some Croatian and Slovenian sweet wines are featured as well. But also from Hungary you can find great sweet wines in other wine regions – for example in the “corner of Lake Balaton”.
Cover photo is by Norbert Varga. His stunning photos are available in printed calendar format as well. Contact Norbert here. See more photos here.
Feind – a key player nationwide, newcomer worldwide
Feind is a family winery situated in the east edge of Lake Balaton, in a village called Balatonfőkajár, which belongs to Balatonfüred wine region. The winery is well established in Hungary, it has a wide audience, thousands of regular customers, however, until now it has not stepped onto the stage of international wine market. They wanted to make a proper antré, and for this they needed some development, renovation and reconstruction. By now most of the work has been done, and Feind Winery is ready to introduce itself to the word.
Tamlyn Currin is really positive about the dessert wine of the estate: “Golden. Smells like golden syrup on the nose. Koeksisters and konfyt and ginger root cooked and drenched in syrup. Clove spice. Instant-coffee note. This is very, very sweet. An interesting planed sandalwood lift to the finish.” 16 points out of 20. (Koeksisters is an African type of sweets.)
“Choice” made of 100% Zeus
Zeus is a rare grape variety grown in less than 20 hectares, mostly in Badacsony wine region. Feind “Choice” is made from Zeus grapes. “In 2018 the circumstances were perfect for the Noble Rot (botrytis cinerea). Strict hand picking was followed by sorting by hand, the grapes were soaked for two weeks and then aged in a barrel for 15 months. Citrus flavours along with candied apricot, honey, spices and a little mint appear in both its taste and aroma; all this with elegant acidity. With 175 g/l naturally residual sugar this wine is a dessert in itself!”
The price is moderate: only 5699 HUF / bottle (0.375 L), which is around 7 euros.
Read the full article by Tamlyn Currin (you need a subscription)
More about Feind Winery
Feind is looking for importers!
More about Zeus variety
Zeus (or Zeusz) is a crossing between Ezerjó and Bouvier, introduced by Ferenc Király at the University of Pécs, Hungary in 1951. Its other name is Badacsony 10 (Zengő, another crossing made by him is called Badacsony 8, and Zenit is also a Ferenc Király crossing, so he seem to like the letter Z…)
Zeus has quite high yields, and it gives a white wine with relatively high acidity – thanks to one of the parents, the Ezerjó. If harvested late, amazing dessert wines can be made of Zeus (like Choice by Feind). Moderately susceptible to botrytis bunch rot and some tolerance of cold winter temperatures.