The land of over 3,000 extinct volcanos, Hungary once commanded the highest prices for their wines. Often enjoyed by Europe's royalty and elite, King Louis XIV of France called Hungary's Tokaji dessert wines "the King of wines and the wine of Kings."
The unique soil, hundreds of grape varieties and over 22 historic and notable wine growing regions, each with their own micro-climate, makes Hungary one of the wine worlds most undiscovered gems. All of our wine is hand selected from small and medium sized vineyards, many of which are family owned.
Our selections includes some of the rarest natural wines, grape varieties that have an important significance of being cultivated within the Austro-Hungarian Empire and family owned vineyards that do not believe in the use of harsh chemicals. Our natural winemakers practice organic farming, believe in natural yeast and do not use additives, with the exception of low amounts of sulfites for stabilization.
Our ties to wine growing originate with our father, János, who has been spending most of his time in local vineyards since the 1980s. A few decades later, in 2015, we introduced wines of the first vintages to the market after some years of experimenting. We are reflecting to challenges all the time, but have definitely realized we want to work in the vineyard as well as in the cellar as natural as possible. It is simple, we also drink these wines.
Our vineyards are located in Tihany (6 ha.), Balatonfüred (4 ha.) and Csopak (1 ha.). We have 10 hectares of own land mostly planted with old vine plants and with young plantation in some areas. Welschriesling and Blaufränkisch are in the focus of our offer, with some small stocks of Muscat Blanc and Zweigelt.Always proceed from the grapes. After harvest, the best and purest raw material is in the cellar, because we believe most of the work is done on the vine-plant and only very basic bits and pieces are added in the cellar, cleanly, carefully and humbly.
The winemaker, János Bolyki, started working with grapes in 1998, after graduating from the leather department of the Light Industry College. He is a first-generation winemaker in Eger, although his parents always cultivated grapes in their backyard, but primarily as a supplement to his salary by selling the produce. He founded the estate by planting the land he received back from compensation. In 1998, he planted 11 hectares of grapes as a first step on Öreghegy. As a newly graduated light industry engineer, he calculated quite well, calculating that he would snowboard in France from the end of October until the harvest, from the income made from the 1,500 grapes grown in the area. When the area became productive in 2002, new plantings and winemaking took place, so snowboarding took a back seat, but today's 27-hectare Bolyki estate was formed. János is married with 5 children, lives on a ranch type estate and still throws raging parties on the grounds of his modern built winery. He is known for being as charismatic as the designs on his wine labels.
The Etyek hills are characterised by windy plateaus, and despite the abundant sunshine, the average temperature is lower than the country’s average. The limestone-based and deep-layered brown forest soil is perfect for growing grapes with excellent acidity. The conditions of the terroir are usually compared to those of Champagne and Sancerre in France. In line with this, the style of the wine region is marked by acidity-driven white wines, light rosé wines, sparkling wines and, as an exception, red wines made from Pinot Noir.
“We have to make the most of our resources under all circumstances, and there is only one way of achieving this: with decent, persistent and hard work.”
Sándor Mérész, head winemaker
Most of the grapes are harvested in small crates and delivered to the winery as soon as possible. This is when the winemaking, or vinification, begins. For our white wines, we try to protect the bunches, the berries and the must from oxygen, to thus preserve the fruitiness in the wine. This means we generally ferment and mature these in closed stainless steel tanks, using a reductive process. When making red wines we ferment the grapes in open tanks, and then mature the wines for an average of one year in small Hungarian, French and Austrian oak barrels.
Gál Tibor wines were produced with the idea that the best things in life, including wines, need to be enjoyed and appreciated. It is our passion to create wines, with an individual character, harmony and thrill in every drop.
We strive to create innovative wines, but with the traditions in mind. We respect nature, as it provides home to the flora, and thus our purpose is to minimise harmful impacts on the environment. We have embarked on a path leading to organic wine production, which is full of rich new experiences and things to learn. We wish to remain as close to nature as possible without compromising on quality, but we still want to excel. We also want to make sure that the wines we create are expressive, elaborate, exciting and honest.
“Winemaking was my inheritance that I ended up with quite suddenly. I only saw the obligation first, but as time passed, I realised step by step that this is the road I have to travel. This is exactly the kind of life I want. I want to create."
Tibor Gál Jr., winemaker
In the foothills of Mátra, a volcanic wine region, not too far west of Eger, has become an escape from living in the busy city of Budapest. Here we find Páger (pah-ger) winery. A small yet ambitious operation that has embraced natural winemaking since its existence. From the concrete fermentation tanks, to the once abandoned cellars and hand cranked presses, Mátyás Páger is definitely taking part in the Hungarian natural winemaking revolution. A picturesque narrow winding road with 180' turns opens up to a small leveled area, framed by a half dozen wine cellars, built into the hillside of which the road above descends from. Framed also by a small brook with a footbridge that leads to a newer extension of Páger's winery. Mátyás himself is soft spoken. He makes wine with the help of his wife, who lends her feet, and dance moves as she stomps on grapes atop an old wooden framed press. Time stops and slow living seems to consume you when visiting. This is believed to seep into every bottle of wine produced by Páger.
Patricius Winery was created in the Tokaj Wine Region by the Kékessy family’s winemaking commitment that draws from the past and future. It is owned by Dezső Kékessy and his daughter Katinka Kékessy. Ancestors on both the paternal and maternal sides were renowned vineyard owners in Mátraalja and the Tokaj Wine Region from the 18th century. The 85-hectare estate, which has eight historic first-growth vineyards, is based in Bodrogkisfalud, in a press house we renovated that once belonged to nobles. This building is connected to an organic-style, modern winery with gravity-flow system, that perfectly reflects the co-existence of traditions and the state-of-the-art modernity in the world heritage landscape.Patricius Winery has 85 hectares throughout 8 vineyards within 5 villages. The Kékessy family chose the vineyards that had been first growths for several hundred years for their diversity and rich soil qualities. Not only the variety of vineyards are reflected in these wines, but the grape varieties and their age also contribute greatly to the varied world of flavours. The lands is cultivated to offer a home to both young and old vines. It can be said that most of the varieties in the Tokaj Wine Region grow here. Furmint, Hárslevelű, Sárga Muskotály, Zéta and Kövérszőlő are all cultivated. The eight vineyards represent the starting point in which their wine is born. This is why Patricius finds it extremely important to get to know and protect their vineyards.
Oliver is a devoted husband and father, a seasoned winemaker and a man with ambition. Most notably Oliver has spent years in Austria honing his winemaking skills. He believes in natural winemaking and is an important advocate for sustainable and organic farming in Somló. Over the years he has perfected a method of vineyard management called soft pruning, that improves the health of the vines by limiting airborne disease from entering the vines. The attention to detail is felt through the character of his wine. Winemaking is nothing but fun for him. Always smiling and laid back, even when troubles arise. While thinking of a name for one of his newest natural wines, he mockingly called it "Bipolar". This was in spite of the wine changing profiles from day to day while in the tank. "One day it was amazing and the next, I wanted to dump it all out. With so many personalities, I had to call it bipolar." said Oliver. We too agree that it ended up being a very special wine, and imported it.
After moving to the USA from Eger, Hungary in 2015, I noticed it was almost impossible to find quality Hungarian wine. Of Course you can always find a great dessert wine from Tokaj, but Hungarian wine is so much more than just dessert wine. Thats why I've hand selected a portfolio of truly masterful Hungarian wines. Vibrant whites and luscious reds that truly represent Hungary, it's best wine makers and the unique terroir.