Attila’s vines

A curious title – but, no, it’s not some bushes planted many centuries ago by the infamous Hun. My Attila is a young Hungarian wine-maker, a relative of a work colleague, who recently spent a few days in Birmingham. Richard and I spent 90 minutes talking to him last Sunday morning; he gave us a fascinating insight into Hungary’s vineyards and wines. Attila spoke about technical details in good English (certainly better than my Magyar).

He bought with him a bottle of Pinot Noir made from grapes grown on his, and friends’, private smallholdings. I thought you’d like the provenance and analysis of the wine.

Vintage 2012 picked at the end of September, the wine was made from 100% Pinot Noir grown on vines between 10 and 12 years old.  The soil is described as ‘brown forest’ but could be limestone or sandstone based. The region is Neszmely, close to the Danube and overlooks Slovakia. The area is more noted for its whites so, as Attila confirmed, the red Pinot was a challenge. It was stored in a barrel (225 litres) prior to being moved into a tank which was to happen soon. He couldn’t be precise about the alcohol level but its tasting suggested quite a high level; he thought it might be 14%

To the tasting. The colour was a light red, with a purple edge (indicating its youth) and it had a slight haze – not surprisingly, as it was poured straight from the barrel. There wasn’t a strong presence of ‘legs’. It had a sweet fruit, but not obvious, nose and there was a very slight whiff of alcohol spirit. The palate was rich and sweet, smooth rather than acidic or tannic but it had a full-bodied, medium weight feel in the mouth. It wasn’t a light wine and the long flavours were overladen with a slight spicy quality. It suggested that it would benefit from keeping a year or so.

For a privately made, non-commercial wine it was very good. It was fuller and richer than the Pinots we had in Alsace. I’m tempted to try and grow Pinot Noir in Sutton Coldfield. What are the rules about growing produce on an allotment?

Sok koszonet, Attila

[Richard, fascinating wine, albeit without much pinot character and a rare chance to try a cask sample. Attila, didn’t actually bring a barrel over of course but decanted a sample into an old chardonnay bottle, hence no photograph.]

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