Tuscan passion among Hungarian hills
Marchese Piero Antinori, the pioneer of Super Tuscan wines has a marvellous estate in a tiny village in the southern Hungarian wine region called Tolna. Have you heard about it? And have you tasted its stunning Tűzkő Domb red blend? Let me tell you a personal story about how I met Tűzkő wines.
A gentleman at Four Seasons Hotel
At the beginning of my career there was a special wine dinner at Páva restaurant, the luxurious dining place of Four Seasons Budapest. Everyone was excited, Marchese Piero Antinori participated in the wine dinner himself! My heart was beating like a tribal drum and my legs were trembling, when it turned out that I would sit next to him at the main table! I was the editor-in-chief of the market leading wine magazine, but in wine I was a beginner. Course after course I could ask more and the conversation got better and better – not because I drank a lot to get courage, but because the Marchese was a gentleman. Modest, intelligent, tactful, helpful, ready to answer my not-so-intelligent questions.
A brilliant estate where you would not expect it
Years later I participated in a press tour to the tiny village of Bátaapáti (less than 500 inhabitants). The surrounding hills welcomed us with a heart warming scenery, and our hosts offered a memorable all day program as well. The estate manager, dr. Árpád Erdélyi impressed me with his open personality and intelligence (guess in what field he got his degree – psychology!). I had a chance to talk to Albiera Antinori, daughter of the Marchese, (who has taken over leading of Antinori wineries since then, and is named one of the most influental wine women according to The Drinks Business). Albiera agreed to discuss the possibility of a masterclass in Budapest conducted by Mr Antinori himself. And it happened! In 2010, at the very first VinCE Budapest wine event 200 wine enthusisasts filled the grandiose ballroom of Corinthia Hotel and the applause seemed never to cease after the tasting. He presented some wines from Tuscany along with some wines from his Hungarian estate.
Red, white & rosé – silver and gold
Though the neighboring Villány wine region is specified in red wines, Tolna is more a white wine region with remarkable red and rosé wines as well. In tandem with the deep, serious and world-famous Tuscan reds, Marchese Piero Antinori also needed some good quality, fragrant and crisp whites, which he could manage to find at Tűzkő Estate. “Amazingly elegant Italian restaurants have inquired about our Traminer, which they recommend as an aperitif, or serve as a welcome drink for honourable guests”– claimed Mr Antinori.
The estate can boast several prestigious and shiny medals from international competitions to prove the careful production. Just a few examples:
- Les Citadelles du Vin 2017, gold medal for Tűzkő Chardonnay Barrique 2014
- Decanter World Wine Awards 2017, silver medal for Tűzkő Merlot Premium 2013
- Falstaff magazine, Best Buy, 2016 for Tűzkő Kékfrankos 2013
- Mundus Vini 2016, gold medal for Tűzkő Domb 2009
- Le Mondial Du Rosé 2018, gold medal for Tűzkő Kékfrankos Rosé 2017
- Vinalies Internationales 2018, silver medal for Tűzkő Cabernet Franc 2015
Awaiting visitors in the picturesque cellars
The ancient, 300 year old cellar labyrinth speaks about the past, a walk under the ground is an unforgettable experience. The estate is open for visitors and the staff is happy to conduct a winetasting of 5, 7 or 9 wines served with some cold food. Bookings are available for groups up to 40 people, and providing hot meals is also possible upon request. What’s more, the estate owns a cooperage called European Coopers, which can also be visited upon request. Bátaapáti and its neighbourhood is a heaven for hunters and fishers, and an ideal place for all nature lovers and hikers. I have been there several times, and I cherish the memories of that adorable place.