I was reminiscing about my memories of wine lately. I have a lot of it as I helped out in our vineyard quite often when I was a kid. Top and tailing, harvesting, pressing, you name it. It was great fun!
When I was a child, we never got bottled wine if someone came around for a visit. Naturally, we got wines from the visitor’s own cellar in a bottle with sticky label denoting the vintage. That was quite a normal thing if you were to live in a wine region, I suppose. Nobody would have bought wine in a supermarket in our area and there were no wine shops around. You bought wines from cellars in demijohns.
In 1999, when I finished my second year into my MA in university, I went to visit a university friend of mine, who lived in Pápa in the summer. We went to see the the recently released Matrix in Győr, toured around in Veszprém, enjoyed a total eclipse in the main square in Pápa, finally we went down to Balatonfüred for a barbecue with her family. It happened to be the week of the Balatonfüredi Winefestival that I knew nothing about.
At that time, there were no smartphones, the internet was not all around and not everybody had a website. On the other hand, I was from the completely other side of the country, from Tokaj-Hegyalja, I had not much of an inkling about the wines of the Balaton. I knew a little bit more about the fuller-bodied Tokaji, that everybody had at home.
The light, redolent, fresh wines from the Balaton were something of a unique experience to my palate that was honed on heavier wines. As a present I got a bottle of Olaszrizling (Welschriesling) from Figula. That wine happened to be the Wine of the Festival. I took it home to try it with my father. It felt a bit like some exotic speciality. It was in a bottle and it came from a wine shop! My father’s first reaction was ‘It smells so good!’ We enjoyed it very much.
Since then, I got to know many more wines, and got to know many more regions and vineyards. Unfortunately, just as my father, the winemaker Mihály Figula passed away. Still, it is a very fond memory of mine, the tasting of that bottled Olaszrizling, from Balatonfüred, from Figula.
Photographs by The Tannin Addict.