Tag Archives: Tokaj

Laszlo Meszaros and Christian Seely

Bringing the Hangács vineyard back to life at Disznókő

Bookmark and Share

I was in Hungary on Monday tasting the outstanding Aszú wines of the 2016 harvest with László Mészáros. Tokaj at this time of the year can be either extremely cold, or enveloped in thick mist, or both. But just occasionally there are days of early winter brilliant sunshine that reveal the full splendour of this wonderful wine region, and Monday was one of those.

View from Szt Tomas outside the village of Mád of the vineyard of Disznókő (centre right) and of the Mount of Tokaj in the distance
View from Szt Tomas outside the village of Mád of the vineyard of Disznókő (centre right) and of the Mount of Tokaj in the distance

One of the main reasons for my visit was to visit the site of Hangács on the slopes above the main vineyard of Disznókő, which we are in the process of replanting. This is a very exciting project for us. Hangács has not been planted with vines since the 1960s, when it was abandoned by the then state farm which favoured plantings lower down the slopes, because easier to work with large tractors. But this hilltop site is unquestionably among the greatest terroirs in the whole of the Tokaj region, and was cultivated for many centuries before the 1960s. In the 16th century there are records showing that this particular vineyard belonged to the Balassi family, in particular to the poet and soldier Bálint Balassi.


László Mészáros, the talented director of Disznókő, clearly feeling rather good about the project, standing in the cleared hilltop site of Hangács, with the Mount of Tokaj and the Terézia chapel in the background.

The soil is clearly well drained, as it was quite dry, whereas most of the surrounding land further down the hill with heavier soil, was still heavy from recent rains. This close up shows the distinctive volcanic soil of the Hangács parcel.

the distinctive volcanic soil of the Hangács parcel

We shall be planting 22 hectares in total here, mostly with Furmint. It is a substantial declaration of faith in the long term future of the great Aszú wines of Tokaj and a deeply satisfying project for us to be undertaking. Something which was dying and had been abandoned will live again and in years to come once again produce great wines, as it did for many centuries.

Toasting the future of Hangács with a glass of Disznókő Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos 2008
Toasting the future of Hangács with a glass of Disznókő Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos 2008

Over the years we have increasingly focussed on the individual characteristics of the various terroirs that exist within the great vineyard of Disznókő. The Kapi parcel, not too far from Hangács, has notably produced some of the more remarkable Aszú wines that we have produced at Disznókő. We have every reason to believe that in future years Hangács will be among the greatest of Disznókő’s terroirs, and it is thrilling for us to be setting in motion the process of replanting this parcel and bringing it back to life.

The afternoon finished with a glorious sunset over the Hungarian plain. This is a special place.

sunset on hangacs vineyard

To know more in details about the replanting of Hangács vineyard, visit the website of Disznókő: http://disznoko.hu/disznoko-experience/replanting-hangacs-vineyard-the-next-big-project/


New look for Disznókő Dry Furmint

Bookmark and Share

We have just released the 2015 dry Furmint from Disznókő, in an entirely new presentation.

Disznoko_Dry Furmint_2015_bouteille_verre_light_h800_300dpi

As you can see, the bottle takes its form from that of the classic, smaller, Tokaji Aszú bottle, reinforcing clearly the message that our dry Furmint is from the great region of Tokaj, and in fact in our case from the vineyard of Disznókő itself. The label has also been much improved, and it is the first time that we have used glass stoppers, as a more elegant alternative to screw cap. I like this new presentation very much, as it has a quality and style that are harmonious with the wine.

There has been considerable development of the dry whites of Tokaj in recent years, and there are some excellent dry wines now being produced from the region, of varying styles. Our wine is vinified in stainless steel tanks, and sees no oak, our aim being to preserve the freshness and minerality that are natural to the furmint grape. It is a wonderful accompaniment to seafood, and a wine that is capable of astonishing people in a blind tasting.

Of course, the primary focus of all our efforts at Disznókő is on the production of the great rich Aszú wines, but we are very proud of our dry Furmint and I invite you to discover it.

2014 Harvest Report – Disznókő (Tokaj)

Bookmark and Share

After the news from Bordeaux and Burgundy, here are the reports on 2014 from Quinta do Noval, Disznókő and Mas Belles Eaux.

László Mészarós of Disznókő, Tokaj:

« We finished the harvests on the 30th October. We have never finished so early: we have never finished before in October.

Because of the pressure of humidity, we were not able to wait any longer.

The volume produced was very small. We managed a global yield of only 5 hectolitres per hectare. We will have around 500 hl of wines. Only ten days earlier we would not have thought to have produced so little. It is about half of what I would have estimated at the beginning of the harvest.

Fortunately, the majority of the harvest will be made up of Aszú wines, very good, much more marked by Botrytis than usual, and less passerillés.

We have been working with them above all by maceration in made base wines, wines that have finished their fermentation.

It was a very difficult vintage in Tokaj, with a strong Oidium pressure in the summer, and above all an attack of rot (the wrong kind) from the end of August that gave us a lot of trouble. We have to acknowledge that we had too much rain also this autumn.

We began the maceration of the Aszús on the 29th October. After ten days of maceration, we obtained 14 lots in total.

I think we have after all some lovely Aszú wines this year, not very rich, but with a good acidity and freshness and some lovely aromas.”

Read the 2014 Harvest Reports of the other properties :

Harvest Time at Château Pichon Baron

2014 Harvest Report – Château Suduiraut (Sauternes)

2014 Harvest Report – Château Petit-Village (Pomerol)

2014 Harvest Report – Domaine de l’Arlot (Bourgogne)

2014 Harvest Report – Quinta do Noval (Douro)

2014 Harvest Report – Mas Belles Eaux (Languedoc)

2014 Harvest in our properties: Conclusion

Selection and Blending Tokaj Disznókő 2011 (Video)

Bookmark and Share

In February, I spent a few days in Disznókő, our hungarian vineyard, for blending session with the local team. It is a crucial moment to define the style we want in our wines. I really like this 2011 vintage and I think it is one of the greatest vintage we have ever made at Disznókő.

If you have trouble watching this video, view the web version here

Disznókő vineyard
Disznókő vineyard

The vintage of 2012 at Disznókő – Tokaj

Bookmark and Share

Start of botrytisation, September 17th

Here in Bordeaux harvest has just begun. We will speak further about the potential of the reds next week. The subject today is the great “vins liquoreux” of Sauternes and Tokaj. At Château Suduiraut we are waiting for the arrival of the Botrytis, with an excellent quality potential on the vines. The absence of Botrytis so far is actually quite positive in Bordeaux: it means we have been able to take our time with the reds and give them some extra days ripening before beginning the harvest. So I am sure the team at Château Suduiraut will understand if I say that we can still wait a few more days before Botrytis conditions arrive, so that we can bring in what looks like an excellent red wine harvest before beginning in Sauternes.

However, in Tokaj, they have already begun, and have harvested some seriously good aszú berries. László Mészáros, the talented Director of Disznókő, has matters well in hand, and sent me over the attached analysis of the harvest until today, which I hope will give you a picture of how the year has been in Tokaj, and how things are going so far. All the signs are encouraging!

Christian Seely

The situation for the vintage 2012 is, at the moment, very similar to that of 2011. There has been:

- an extremely hot and dry summer

- early ripening, but a very slow settling of Botrytis and development of botrytised berries.

Winter was mild but it lasted for a relatively long time. Bud break was late, starting on 23rd April but, because of the hot and dry late spring, blossoming was earlier than usual, at the end of May.

The summer was extremely hot and dry, reaching nearly 40 ˚C several times.
By the end of August the grapes were almost already ripe.

The first day of the harvest for Dry Furmint, September 10th

The grapes for dry wines were harvested from the 10th to the 13th of September, earlier than ever. We picked very ripe and healthy grapes, with still remarkably fresh acidity. Most have just completed their fermentation, producing well-balanced and fresh wines with good acidity.

The Botrytis arrived very slowly on the Furmint grapes and resulted in the first aszú grapes being ready to pick by the 11th of September.

Furmint Aszu grapes, September 13th

These bunches are the result of a particularly fine botrysation along with intense shriveling, or passerillage, of the Furmint grapes.

Zéta on 28th August

Oddly, the Zeta vines, always the first to provide remarkable quantity of aszú grapes, have remained healthy till today (beginning of October).

Botrytisation develops, September 27th

The rains that arrived in mid-September have intensified the development of Botrytis on the Furmint.

Aszu grape picking, September 13th

The harvesting of aszú grapes is underway. We are collecting aszú berries that are particularly fine and concentrated in the central slopes on the west side.

László Mészáros

Muscat aszu grapes, September 11thFurmint aszu grapes, September  11th