Among the six certified Tokaj grape types, much like the Zéta, the Kabar is one subtype that is also created by cross-breeding other grapes. Let’s take a look at the events surrounding its birth!
In the Tokaj wine region, summer is mostly about tourism since local catering businesses go best from June to August. Many people visit our little town in this period of the year. Besides sightseeing and visiting wine cellars, lots of activities and sports can be done on the rivers, form which I believe fishing is the most popular one.
After two pandemic-filled, quarantined and lockdown years, we haven’t changed course in 2022 or diverted onto weird pathways either. We’re still doing what we did four decades ago: a bit of winemaking, vineyard tending and of course, receiving guests.
We could simplify it down like this but in reality our three main tasks are built up of many small pieces – we sometimes have trouble putting them all together but we’ve never given up on the puzzle yet, as the game is always quite exciting!
Let’s take a look at last year’s accolades from a closer perspective.
What will this year’s yield look like? I often receive the question at the start of January already, and as I diplomatically like to answer it: we’ll see after we’ve picked it. Keep reading our harvest report – constantly being updated with the most recent news!
The dry szamorodni is a wine type currently catering to a narrow target audience. How did it become such an acquired taste? What are the prerequisites, what kind of ingredients are in it and how do the winemakers age it? How do the consumers relate to it? We try to answer these questions in the following article.
On our last walk, we got from St. John to St. John. Since then, a great many things have happened – the main square, officially called the Kossuth square is being reconstructed. According to current plans, the renovation is to be completed by the end of April and I promise to tell you what the final result will be like.
Many people think of winter as an unavoidable bad period, which we just have to survive. We cannot do anything against it, we cannot avoid it, thus we just have to get through this dark, grim and depressive season quietly, so we can be grateful for spring to come. But this is not true for the fanatic spin fishing anglers. December, January and February are the best months for aiming at one of the noblest fish of our domestic waters; this is the best time for fishing for zander with soft lures.
Only a handful of ethnic groups, the Hungarians, the eastern Slovakians, and a few dialects of Ruthenes use the „Karácsony” expression when referring to the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. Some theories claim that the word originates from incarnation, others say that the slavic „korcun” meaning „to turn, step” (winter solstice) is the root of the expression. Whichever theory holds true, it is surely a holiday that is the closest to our hearts.
What happened then?
Tokaj is a special wine region from several aspects. Unique areas, local grape varieties, particular wine categories and of course, a rich history. One thing that separates it from any other region in the world is the fact that every single year shows us just how different they can be in terms of the qualities and characteristics of the wine produced here. A favourite endeavour of everyday wine manners is the so-called „vintaging”, where the worldy and less informed consumers can’t always orient themselves easily, especially with so many years to consider. Fear not, this article will answer some questions like: what makes a year good or bad? What were the best years of the past decade? Is it worth to save these wines for my kid’s 18th birthday or not?
Autumn represents the end of something in public consciousness; it brings along the twilight of the summer holiday and summer itself. But a new era starts on the rivers too just like at school, since the first cool nights, and the rapidly falling water temperature entail the explosive uptrend of predatory fish’s appetite as well. Most fish consciously prepare for winter, and parallel with the changing weather, a change gets started in the mood and appetite of fish too. For the anglers who arrive to Tokaj in this period of the year, it is not worth missing those unique opportunities that the Tisza and Bodrog rivers can offer.
Much like the furmint, this one is an old Hungarian grape type most likely created via natural breeding processes. According to one of several genetics-based analyses, one of the grape’s parents is the Furmint. It was first mentioned in texts originating from the Tokaj region, in 1723. The name is probably derived from its leaves being slightly similar to that of a linden tree’s, as this is also the case in other languages as well (french „Feuille de Tilleul" german „Lindenblättrige") Funnily enough, its wine frequently reminds one of linden honey when it comes to its fragrance. Traditionally, it was planted in conjunction with Furmint in order to maintain the latter grapes’ tough, more acidic characteristics and balance these out, softening and enriching the aroma.
Although its origin hasn’t been confirmed via genetic research, most ampelographers have come to the consensus that the Romanian “Grasă” (Romanian for “fat”), or “Grasă de Cotnari”, and Kövérszőlő are one and the same grape variety. Altought this title has only been apparent since the 19th century and onwards among the Tokaj grapes.
The three most popular grapes of the Tokaj Wine Region, the Furmint, Hárslevelű and Sárgamuskotály, are all products of natural hybridization, could have happened hundreds, or even a thousand year ago. The potential ancestors of these grapes can nowadays be pinpointed via the assistance of modern genetic research. The origins of Zéta, a grape variety that is grown in the smaller area, are known to us, however: Dr. Ferenc Király and his colleagues created Zéta by crossing Furmint and Bouvier in 1951, in Pécs. It’s a sort of „half-sibling” to the Zengő, Zenit and Zeusz.
Although there are more than 200 grape varieties called Muscat, a majority of them aren’t actually related to Sárgamuskotály or the Muscats of Alexandria or Ottonel. When it comes to the ancient origin, popularity and intense smell of a grape, Sárgamuskotály is and always will be the absolute winner.
Events in Tokaj and Hímesudvar
We have long been dreaming about a wine festival in Tokaj which doesn’t pull people into the city’s main square among wooden sheds, continuously supported by large-stage shows and concerts which all make real and authentic interaction with the guests and the winemakers almost impossible. Instead, like many other settlements (Etyek, Mád, Erdőbénye), we’d prefer to invite lovers of wine from around the world into cellars, gardens and wineries where they may taste the delicacies of the region in a friendly and, most of all, genuine environment, while enjoying the local cuisine in the middle of a more personal, smaller concert.
The decision makers here in Tokaj have yet to make this a reality.
Surprisingly, it was actually the Covid-19 situation that helped the locals open up a little bit, and in contrast to the original plans, the festival will take place in multiple locations and span across multiple events this time – almost every winery and restaurant has planned some programme or idea.
We hope that everyone can find their favourite places and their favourite tastes here – this involves musical taste as well!
Come visit, explore a bit, and above all, have a great time!
We’ve invited József Csurkulya dulcimer (cimbalon) player to treat us to a little show on Saturday afternoon of the festival. It won’t be his first time here at Hímesudvar, as he has visited us before.
Having graduated at Franz Liszt Academy of Music, he incorporates several genres into his style, becoming unique and easily enjoyable for everyone – not to mention he plays on a one-of-a-kind instrument with an extreme demonstration of skill and talent.
According to current regulations, a proof of vaccination is not needed while residing in the garden. However, if bad weather decides to greet us, we will be forced to move inside the store, therefore requiring a proof of vaccination from everyone who wishes to stay for the concert.
For the duration of Saturday – during the show as well – Kisfalucska Mansion and Bistro will provide us the gastronomic part of our day with the following: mangalica ham, salami, different sausages, local cheese types, kápia paprika, cornichon and fresh loaves of bread straight from the oven.
We look forward to seeing you!
translated by Áron Várhelyi