The Teddy Boy, the Toff Guy and the Gentleman
As if we met the characters of a Guy Ritchie movie, but these names stand for some cool wines in Villány, made by a young, talented winemaker called Zsolt Gere.
We met Zsolt several times, and soon he always started to talk about his plans passionately. Every sentence of him speaks about ambition, consciously set objectives, serious plans. But he can also be playful, if this is what the situation – or the wines – want, just like in the case of his line of young, playful wines with the names in the title. ‘Jampi’ (Teddy Boy) is 100% Portugieser, a light, spicy wine from a young vineyard with earthy notes and some barrel spices (maturation is large barrel). ‘Ficsúr’ (Toff Guy) is a Cabernet Franc–Merlot blend (60–40%). Like a toff guy, the wine is charming with spiciness from Franc and elegance from Merlot. And the Gentleman? The noble Kékfrankos variety shines in this wine with notes of raspberry, sour cherry, some spiciness and a hint of tobacco.
Back to the future (and the cellar)
So who is this determined, young man? Zsolt Gere was born in a winemaker family, his father Tamás Gere is owner of the prestigious Winemaker of the Year award. Zsolt started to work in the winery right after the school, in spite of his young age he is over his 20th harvest. Since the foundation of the winery 30 years ago, the winery has developed a lot. As it was written in Ervin Gűth’s interwiew (Pécsi Borozó wine magazine 2019/1), one large increase took place in 2008, when the capacity of the vinification plant allowed them to bottle 170.000 bottles, and besides their own grapes they started to buy as well. Many wineries keep grape buying as a secret, but Zsolt is open and logical is this aspect as well: “I always consider it important not have any unsold grapes in the wine region. It is better to help and integrate.” This was the time when they started to export wines, and the hypermarket chains also started to show interest. Now they bottle 400.000 bottles a year, which means more responsibility as well – therefore Zsolt wants to spend more time in the cellar. “It is not about ‘being artisan’, it is more about experimenting, learning, developing.” This size is big, but quality winemaking is still possible. They are also in the middle of the conversion into organic viticulture, but they are not in a hurry, every step is considered carefully.
Increasing but not expanding
It was also a conscious decision to open a pansion – not a large hotel (in Villány there are some 4 star wine hotels, for example Bock Hotel Ermitage or Gere Attila Crocus Hotel). Some other wineries focus on large events, while others open fine dining restaurant. “We have always wanted to open a relaxed wine bar and pansion, because we are a family winery and thus the atmosphere is casual, relaxed. There is always a family member present in the pension, we always introduce our wines personally.” So the size of the pension (9 double rooms) will not be bigger, they only concentrate on increasing the standard of the services. ‘Diófa’ (Walnut Tree) pansion is charming and soothes our stressful life with every piece of wooden furniture, every vase of flowers.
Hopefully life starts again in Hungary, and Villány is an ideal place to celebrate getting back to normal (they have just reopened!)
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