Last Summer I was lucky to have a little tour around the South of Lake Balaton, Balatonlelle, Hungary. I have visited couple of vineyards. One of them was Konyári.
The winery is very much tucked away from the busy holidaymakers. It is outside of Balatonlelle on place called ‘Kishegy’ – ‘Small-hill’. The weather was beautiful, so it seemed we were in Italy - oleanders, lemon and lime trees, pine trees, blue sky, stunning views and coolish breeze from Lake Balaton. Perfect conditions for a good wine tasting.
Konyári is one of the most famous and most successful wineries at the South of Lake Balaton. They have 38 hectares of very good quality and very much fragmented north facing plots to tend to. The soil is limey clay with loess that warms up nicely because of the proximity of the lake.
Founded at 2000 by János Konyári, who was the first winemaker around the Balaton who started using black grape varieties and barrique. Traditionally it was a white wine region, but he was rather fond of Bordeaux and worked in South-Africa and Australia too. That is why they planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc but you can find Syrah, Malbec and Kékfrankos (Blauefrankish) here with whites, such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Welshriesling, Hárslevelű (Lindenleaf), Furmint, Zenit, Semillon, Grüner Veltliner and some experimental medieval whites, such as Csomorika and Gohér. Winemaking is a longstanding tradition around here. The winery owns an 18th century wine-cellar that holds their most special, small oak barrel aged wines. Konyári János sadly passed away recently, so his son Dániel succeeded him.
I tasted Zenit 2016, Sigillum Loliense White 2016, Rose 2016, Malbec 2015, Kékfrankos 2015, Jánoshegyi Kékfrankos 2015.
I had Sigillum Loliense before. It is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Welshriesling. It is still every bit of a very well made, and beautiful, big white.
I have never had balatoni Zenit, so I was interested to try it. It is an unusual, indigenous variety, mostly used in blends because its relatively neutral flavours. It was a good effort, although the lack of acidity and high alcohol suggested that it was slightly overripe. Not the attributes you expect from a reductive summer wine. It would have benefited from earlier picking to retain more acidity and not building up 14.5% alcohol!
My absolute favourite was the last one, the Jánoshegyi Kékfrankos. Smooth, lovely, juicy red wine, with lots of spice.
All the offered wines were well-made and some of them were outstanding. Unfortunately, I could not taste their flagship wines, as being the only taster, they would not open a bottle just for me. Still, if you happen to be around the South of Balaton, do not forget to pay them a visit!
Photographs by The Tannin Addict.