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Winemakers Blog

Update: December 15th, 2016
We hope that you are well and that you are enjoying the holiday season as winter nears! The cold weather is now upon us in Hungary and the vineyards are covered in a layer of frost and snow as the frigid weather creeps in from across the country side.

Peter and his team have been staying busy at the winery, barreling our many red wines that have now undergone malolactic fermentation. These wines will now progress onto the next step in the winemaking process, where they will undergo barrel aging in our cellars over the next 18 to 24 months. In addition to barreling some of our wines, others have now completed this step in their evolution and are ready for bottling. From here the wines are transferred into our stainless steel tanks and then into bottles, in which they will rest as they recover from this very agitative process. Kent, our fly in wine advisor, arrived this past week to help Peter and to provide his expertise in finalizing our various red blends and to help us plan next year’s production roadmap. Since the inception of our winery, Kent has been an invaluable resource for us by acting as our keystone and providing our operations with consistency and a longterm vision and plan.

In addition to the hard work that our winemaking team has been doing, our winery recently participated in a joint marketing effort with the other wineries that own land on Nagy Eged hill. Together our three wineries held a press conference and media event that showcased Nagy Eged, the wines from it, and the people behind them.

This event was a great success for all three of our wineries and showed how Nagy Eged produces unique wines that are characterized by distinct minerality. We are very proud to be one of the three vineyard owners with access to this desirable location and it was wonderful to show the many journalists in attendance how even wines from the same geographical area can be stylistically different. These differences in our wine's and those of our neighbors are a result of our winemaker and theirs, as each winemaker puts their own unique signature characteristics on every vintage they produce.

To followup our Nagy Eged media event, we recently released a new video with stunning ariel views of Nagy Eged hill that was filmed during this years harvest! Be sure to check it out here or by clicking on the picture below.

In Budapest, Nimrod has been promoting his biography, "I was a good waiter" that was recently published through various promotional events. At these gatherings he has been meeting with people and discussing his life story and rise through corporate America, starting with his first job in the US as a waiter and finishing with him as a cable executive.

Back stateside we have been helping our distributors keep up with the annual holiday rush so that liquor store shelves stay stocked. Additionally we have been looking for new distribution partners in markets that we have not entered yet so that we can expand our reach. With our current distribution partners we have been working to find ways to better promote and ensure a greater variety of our wines are available at each location that sells them.

With the holidays nearly upon us, we want to provide you with a fun recipe that pairs well with our 2011 Grand Bleu, so check out this fun venison dish that is sure to impress your friends and try it over the coming celebrations! [link] Additionally, our 2011 Grand Bleu is on sale now through the Holidays for a limited time [link].

Update: November 17th, 2016

We hope that you are well and that you are enjoying the change of seasons as winter nears. Over in Hungary the vineyards have been picked and their fruits have all been pressed, leaving the remaining work for the year to be carried out within the winery. The resulting juices from pressings are now young wines and are sitting in a combination of steel tanks and barrels. As a bit of a surprise, this year's better than expected growing conditions led to an increased quantity of grapes, causing us to have to purchase more barrels! Not a bad problem to have, especially when you consider that the quality of our grapes improved too.

This year we gave Peter complete discretion over barrel purchases and as a result he added quite a few new brands of barrels to our assortment, these include: Francois Freres, Billon, Nadalie, and Mercurey, all of which are in different toast levels and types. This diversity should allow him to better pair our wines and barrels together, resulting in even high quality wines.

Within the winery we recently finished cleaning, winterizing, and putting away all of our harvesting equipment and now we are focusing on barreling the remaining wines that are in our steel tanks. So far we have finished barreling our Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah varietals and the remaining wines will be barreled in the coming weeks.

Our Battonage Chardonnay has finished its primary fermentation and is now undergoing malolactic fermentation. During this stage we will stir up the lees three times per week in order to promote the buttery and creamy characteristics of the wine and to help with the secondary fermentation. This process is where the Battonage gets its name from and the practice originally comes from France.

Lastly as the holiday season nears we are preparing for the rest of the year by getting the 2013 NJK, 2013 Grand Bleu, 2014 Blues, and 2015 Furmint ready for bottling, which will take place in the coming weeks. Once this process is complete the wines will then undergo bottle aging in our cellars before their market releases.

Back stateside we just wrapped up the Denver International Wine Festival and our first ever US portfolio tasting, both of which were great successes. The Denver International Wine Festival paired us with Scott Snodell, the executive chef at the Westin DIA restaurant, and his pork belly dish complented our Battonage Chardonnay 2013 perfectly. For the grand tasting event we had a large number of connoisseurs who came by to learn about and try our wines. Overall we are very pleased with how the event went.

Our first ever portfolio tasting went great as well and a number of restaurant buyers in the Denver metro area put down orders for our various wines, so keep your eyes open when dining out in Denver for our wines!

With the holidays nearly upon us, we want to provide you with a fun recipe that pairs well with our 2009 NJK. So check out this fun duck dish that is sure to impress your friends that pairs it with lamb! [link] Additionally, our 2009 NJK is on sale now through the Holidays at $44.90 a bottle!

Update: October 20th, 2016

Over in Eger the harvest has wrapped up and Peter and his team have been busy working around the clock to process all of the crushed grapes and their juices so that they can begin the transformative process of turning juice into wine. This years harvest looked great and we believe that the 2016 vintage could be truly exceptional, but it will be a few years before any of these soon to be wines see the light of day again!

Back stateside we just returned from a portfolio tasting in the Houston area with our distributor, Chameleon, and we had a great showing. Many restaurants and liquor stores were interested in our offerings and voiced intent to bring our wines onto their menus and store shelves.

In Colorado we are putting together the final details of our November outreach festivities.  This will include a portfolio tasting, a winemaker dinner, and attendance at the Denver International Wine Festival. Our portfolio tasting will be open to the public on November 1st and will take place at Bittersweet restaurant, located at 500 East Alameda Avenue, Denver 80209, from noon to 4pm and will feature a library tasting format of our entire portfolio! We hope you can attend and please spread the word to your friends and family. You can RSVP for this tasting on our Facebook page.

Update: September 27th, 2016

Over in Eger the harvest has begun and Peter and his team have been busy working away around the clock! Recently they harvested and crushed our Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Furmint grapes, all of which looked exceptional. The crushed grapes and juices then underwent a fermentation process and were pressed once this completed. Next Peter racked each of the wines to remove the lees and solids from them and now they are all bubbling happily, which is caused by the residual sugars in them being consumed and converted into alcohol. (Our Chardonnay grapes are pictured below)

Our Furmint grapes (pictured below) developed Aszu berries this year, which will add a unique twist to the 2016 vintage. Aszu berries are traditionally used in Hungary's revered Tokaji dessert wines and are the result botrytis, which occurs when the grapes shrivel and  their sugars concentrate. In Eger botrytis is rare and our last vintage that experienced it was our 2010 Furmint, which was a truly special release. We saved a few cases of this wine to age and now are re-releasing it for the upcoming holiday season. Click here to purchase it while limited supplies last.

In addition to the harvest our new bottling machine arrived two weeks ago and Peter is excited to do a trial run this week so that he can ensure its functionality. The new machine is expected to allow us to bottle more efficiently and we can not wait to use it once our wines that are barrel aging are ready to be bottled!

Back stateside we are busy preparing for the month of November, which is going to be an exciting month for us in Colorado. We will be hosting a portfolio tasting, several winemaker dinners, and be a featured attendee at the Denver International Wine Festival. Our portfolio tasting will be open to the public and will feature all of our current vintages, plus the exclusive opportunity for you to try both our future and past vintages with them side by side. This flight through our vintages will provide you with the unique opportunity to compare our wines and see how they have both evolved and aged with time. This event will go from noon to 4pm on November 1st at the Bittersweet retaurant in Denver, which is located at 500 East Alameda Avenue 80209.

We will also be hosting several wine pairing dinners that Nimrod will guide attendees through, which the dates are still being finalized for. To RSVP to either of our dinners in advanced or to inquire about our portfolio tasting, please do not hesistate to call us at 720-636-6511 or email us at: info@nimrodwines.com.

In addition to our portfolio tasting and winemaker dinners, you will also have the opportunity to try our wines and meet with Nimrod at the Denver International Wine Festival. The festival is being hosted at the Westin Hotel, which is attached to the Denver International Airport, and goes from November 2nd through the 4th. During the festival, Nimrod will be teaching a course on Hungarian wines and meeting with festival goers during the multiple Grand Tasting events. Be sure to visit the festival website so that you can get your tickets in advanced and see us there!

Update: August 15th, 2016

Over in Eger, our winemaker Peter has finished blending together and putting the final touches on the last of our wines that are to be bottled over the remainder of this summer. These wines are now ready for bottling and once this step is complete they will then be transferred to our cellars below the winery so that they can rest and age. During the resting period, these wines go through an essential "cool down" stage where they recover from the agitative process of being racked from their barrels, blended, and bottled. Once these wines have recovered from bottle shock, they will remain in our cellars for an additional period of time so that they can undergo bottle aging before their market debut. We are excited for this last stage to be completed so that we can show you our latest masterpieces that our winemaker and his team have crafted!

Out on our vineyards, our highly skilled team has been busy and recently fought off a wave of botrytis that came after a heavy monsoon, which poured on our vineyards for two days. Thanks to our vineyard team's fast response and their hard work all growing season, we are expecting a great harvest in nearly 30 days time. Currently the nights are starting to get surprisingly cool, around 50˚F, while the days have remained near the 90˚F mark. With this large temperature fluctuation that we are currently experiencing each night, we might be able to expect the development of rich fruit flavors in our 2016 vintage, but only time will tell and we will have to wait and see!

Back stateside things are great and we are preparing for this year's Denver International Wine Festival, which we will be exhibiting at. We have received 6 Gold Medals from the the festival's competition arm that ran earlier this year and we are thrilled with these results! The festival will begin on November 2nd at the Westin Hotel located at the Denver International Airport and will run through the 4th. For more information on the DIWF, please visit the following website: click here. During the festival we are anticipating hosting/teaching a class on Hungarian wines/history, and also presenting our wines during the Grand Tasting events. We are excited for this opportunity and hope to see you there come November!

Update: July 14th, 2016

We hope that you are well and enjoying the summer weather! We have some exciting news here stateside, which is that our newest vintages have arrived. Some notable mentions include our Soul Syrah 2012 and Noir 2012, both of which will be available for sale starting this Friday, July 15th! The 2012 Soul Syrah follows up on our 2011 vintage, which got great ratings from reviewers that included a 93 point score from the Beverage Testing Institute.

Update: July 13th, 2016

Exciting news here in the United States! Recently Nimrod Wines submitted four of our stunning wines to the Wine Enthusiast and the results are in: Our Grand Bleu 2011 scored 91 points and our 2011 Furmint scored 90 points. As these vintages show, 2011 was a great year for us and we are very pleased with these scores. In addition to those two wines, our Syrah 2011 and Battonage Chardonnay 2013, both from our Monopole Estate selection, scored 89 point ratings. In Hungary we have been hard at work over the past few years with the intention of producing world class wines and these scores vindicate our efforts, showing that we have been successful in doing so. To read more about these four wines, please click the following links below and be sure to check out the October issue of the Wine Enthusiast.

Grand Bleu 2011
Furmint 2011
Monopole Battonage Chardonnay 2013
Monopole Syrah 2011

Update: July 1st, 2016

Aspen, CO, the Food & Wine Classic, and the Kovacs Nimrod Winery. What a trio. Our trip to the 2016 annual Food & Wine Classic was a stunning success. We had the chance to meet many of our fans and to make new ones while at this fabulous get together for those interested in fine culinary experiences.

Together with Furmint USA and the Hungarian National Trade House, we represented Hungarian wines for the first time ever at this event. Many of the attendees were blown away by the quality of Hungarian wine, most of which had never even heard of Hungarian wine before.

We were thrilled to be able to light the torch and carry it for our wonderful country of Hungary and hope to see more fans and excited people again next year!

Update: June 25th, 2016

Check out the video of our 2016 portfolio tasting at our Nyalismar estate!

Update: June 15th, 2016

Welcome back vinophiles! We’ve been working like busy bees in the vineyards and cellars during the past couple of months. I think I can say that after a brief spring, summer is in full swing! At KNW, we consider ourselves very fortunate this summer, as our region wasn’t affected by late frost and hail storms that plagued many other European wineries during the spring. Our vines as a result are doing great, so there is no need to stack up on your wine supplies yet (except of course if you are out!).

Recently, we finished shoot thinning – where the grower decides which branch to leave on the vines, by determining which ones are the strongest and best looking. This results in a concentrating of the vines energies and results in maximum growth on the strongest shoots, thus improving overall quality of the vines and the wines. Currently as you read this, the vines are blooming out on our estates. This is one of the most important parts of the growing cycle, where the flowers bind and then turn into actual berries that will soon resemble the grapes we know. This is the first time of the year when we are able to assess what we can expect from the 2016 vintage, and so far we are excited. It‘s important now that the weather stays calm and possibly dry throughout the blooming period, and so far we’ve been lucky!

In the cellar we’ve finished up about 65% of the projected bottling for the year, though now all bottling is on hold as we completely remodel our facility. A brand new floor with sanitary drains, new walls (with even safer electrical outlets) and very practical water hook-ups are currently being put in. In addition to this, we are installing a state of the art water softener and filtration system. All these measures have been taken because we are putting in a brand (spanking) new bottling machine that’s currently under construction in Italy. With this new and more efficient machine, we’ll be able to increase production while at the same time reduce our water and electrical usage. This is really exciting and we cannot wait to reduce our carbon footprint further!

So until next month, don't forget to take some time to enjoy a good bottle of wine on the porch while watching the sunset. I'll be sure do the same! See you next month. Cheers, Peter.

Update: May 1st, 2016

Greetings friends, spring is off to a great start and the vines are looking great at our three estates! What appear to be small green bumps now will become high quality wine making grapes in a few months time. We are excited for this years harvest and are hoping for another great year. Stay tuned for an update soon on the day to day operations of the winery!

Update: April 20th, 2016

Do you ever wonder what happens at a winery after the grapes are crushed? Well, depending what type of wine it is, the fermentation process to turn the grape juice into wine takes place in either stainless steel tanks or in barrels. The only wine we ferment in the barrels is our Chardonnay, which is fermented and made in the Battonage style, hence the name. With this wine, the Chardonnay is left on its lees (the yeast) and the winemaker stirs it a few times a week during the barrel aging process to bring out complex flavors. Once it is done barrel aging, the Chardonnay is processed and blended so that it can be put into bottles. With our other wines, fermentation occurs in large stainless steel tanks and then the young wine is then put into a combination of first fill and second or third fill barrels for aging.

Once the wines have matured in the barrel, some in as short as three months and other upwards of twenty two months, the wines are then blended together in our large stainless steel tanks. The length of the barrel aging varies with each wine and is dependent upon many factors, such as the oak character we want to show. At KNW we fill that oak should only be used as a frame for our art work, not the central piece of it. Next, the bottling process begins and the wine is transferred from our large staging tanks to bottles via tubes and our bottling machine.

Once bottling is complete our wines are then transferred back down into our cellars for hibernation. They will sleep down below in our cellars for several months, or years depending on the wine, where they will undergo a transformation and meld into fully formed and complex wines. This bottle time is important, as the bottling process shocks the wines and they must recover this during their long hibernation.

Once rested, the wines leave our cellars for labeling and then are loaded into boxes and depart across Europe and the Atlantic to reach restaurants and liquor stores near you.

Currently, our 2013 Syrah and 2015 Pinot Gris are ready to be bottled and will soon be loaded in our steel tanks for processing. Next up after these two will be our 2015 Csillag Star and the 2014 Furmint, which are nearly done. We recently blended and bottled our 2013 Noir and 2014 Bulls Blood and now these two wines are resting in our cellars and will make their debut in the coming months!

Update: April 15th, 2016

Long time no see my friends! Many exciting things have happened down in the cellars here in Eger since our last update. Kent Barthman, our flying winemaker, paid us a visit at the end of February. He makes his way from Oregon to Eger about three to four times a year and tastes our wines with us, then helps us by consulting on recommendations for blends, winemaking methods, and even which barrel cooperage to pick for a certain varietals. It is during this spring season when we will decide on and fine tune our premium blends and single varietal wines, like the NJK, Grand Bleu, Soul Syrah, and Battonage Chardonnay. Although Kent and I (Peter) agree on most things, it is quite entertaining to watch the two of us taste and discuss the wines where the "young point of view" in winemaking I bring meets the " 40+ years of experience" that Kent brings to the table. Just like a real management team, you need at least two people to make a good decision, and the two of us work together to make them.

We both believe that wines from our 2013 vintage have great potential and will produce stunning wines if given the care they need. First one on the list to work with this year is our Syrah, and she is a real beauty. This wine is ready to be bottled and already has an amazing depth and structure to it, which is accompanied by the typical Syrah character. In my opinion, the Syrah varietal usually showcases 2 styles: A peppery, spicy character or a blood orange style. At this moment we are headed towards the blood orange direction, but only time will tell…

Once bottled soon, the Syrah will undergo at least 7-8 months of bottle aging and will reach the Hungarian market early 2017 and US market in late 2017/early 2018. Currently we are working on tasting and blending the 2013 Pinot Noir, 2013 Rhapsody, 2013 Superior, 2014 Battonage, 2014 Furmint, and last but not least the 2015 Csillag Star.

As we empty our barrels, the opportunity arrises to re-organize our barrel caves. Old barrels will be removed and thus replaced with new ones. Used barrels are moved outside, pressure washed inside and out, steamed, sanitized, and cared for before being re-filled for one to two more times with new wine. This is what I call the good old school "TLC for barrels.”  By the end of the summer, our cellar will be a beautiful site with newly barreled and aging wines stacked and trailing down our caverns.

This past winter turned out surprisingly mild, which has allowed our vineyard team to work tirelessly for the past couple of months. After this winter's monsoon rains, we were able to finish pruning in all of our vineyards. It's really important since mother nature is about to wake up the vines again. It's amazing to see the little buds on the vines and think that these tiny green bumps will (hopefully) give us a bountiful harvest in 5-6 months. However we have a lot to do until then. Bring on the sunshine and warm temperatures, cheers!

Update: April 8th, 2016

A recent highlight for us at KNW was the winning of the 2016 Best Gastro Winery of the Year Award at the Best of Hungary Award Ceremony. We are honored to be recognized for our hard work and appreciate the continued show of support from our many loyal customers and fans like you!

Update: March 15th, 2016

Ou Syrah 2011 might be gone, but our 2012 vintage of this stunning, gold medal winning wine will be available in the early summer months, as will our new Noir 2012. We are excited to launch our Syrah under the Soul label and stay tuned, as new labels are coming for at least one more wine. Cheers!

Update: March 1st, 2016

Our Syrah 2011, Battonage Chardonnay 2011, and Furmint 2011 are now sold out! Our Battonage Chardonnay 2013 recently won a gold medal at the World Wine Championships, which were hosted by the Beverage Testing Institute, and it is now available. Our Syrah 2011 will not be replaced by the 2012 vintage until later this year, so in the mean time our Rhapsody 2011 is a great alternative and is now available as we sell out of the remaing 250 bottles of the 2009 vintage of Rhapsody. Our Furmint 2012 replaces our highly coveted Furmint 2011 and is the third piece of our Nagy Eged Trio. It is now available and is a delightful and complex white wine that is sure to impress those who appreciate fine wines.

Update: January 25th, 2016

Welcome back folks! After spending a couple of weeks with family and friends, it's time to get back to work. I personally know that it's hard, especially after being on a strict diet of wine, cheese, and steak for almost 3 weeks while on vacation in the US. Something else very exciting happened to me though. During the holidays I volunteered myself to pick grapes for ice wine at my old winery in Erie, Pennsylvania. You probably wonder; why it is exciting to get up at the crack of dawn, get dressed in several layers of clothes and head out to the snowy, breezy vineyard? I don't really know…..yet you should give it a try if you ever get the chance. The berries are frozen into marbles in the 10-15F / -10-12C weather. Since it's late in the season the clusters are de-hydrated - the sugars and aromas are concentrated and you literally press liquid gold out of them. The sugar content of the grape juice is usually somewhere between 38-44 Brix. In other words, out of 100lbs or 100kilos of grape juice, 38-44lbs or kilos is nothing else but sugar. That is one sweet experience.

Well, let's get back to the warm cellar in Eger. I'm delighted to tell that all of our red and white wines have finished with the malolactic fermentation. For those who are not familiar with the process, the wines - if it's desired by the winemaker - go under a secondary fermentation either way during the alcoholic fermentation (called co-inoculation) or after (called sequential inoculation). Both have their pros and cons, but the point is to break down and convert the malic acid found in the wine into lactic acid. Lactic acid is a softer acid, helps to improve mouth feel not mention that by getting rid of malic acid you eliminate a source for spoilage. Back in the days this process usually took place in the spring when the weather warmed up, because warm temperature is key to a successful malolactic fermentation. People probably didn't understand first what was happening but they soon realized that the wines tasted a lot better after "they got a bit fizzy".

We are currently working on racking wines of the 2013 vintage out of barrels and filling them up again with the new, 2015 wines. Now comes the aging phase of winemaking. Besides pulling samples for lab analysis and tastings a few times a year, the wines won't be disturbed for the next 24-36 months. Winemaking certainly does teach one to be patient!
Interested in the aging process? Don't forget to check back soon! Cheers.

Update: January 15th, 2015

Press Release:
Nimrod Wines, LLC on behalf of the Kovacs Nimrod Winery entered five of our flagship wines into the 2015 World Wine Championships, hosted by the Beverage Testing Institute, for review. We are pleased to announce that all five wines, our Battonage Chardonnay 2013, Syrah 2011, Furmint 2011Grand Bleu 2011, and NJK 2009, scored gold medals and were at the top of their respective classes! To read the reviews, please click the hyperlinks for each wine listed above. Cheers!

Update: December 15th, 2015
Winter is here and the holidays are near!

I always wonder what people think winemakers do all year long? Let's see, probably the most common conception would sound something like this:

Winemakers only work two months out of the year during the harvesting season. Of course, they hire skilled laborers to pick the grapes, recruit volunteers to sort the grapes, and hire cellar rats to do all the cleaning and dirty work. As rock music plays in the background, they walk around the winery, ordering punch downs and selecting lab tests that an enologist performs. Overall, they mainly just smile and nod their heads. If a problem arises, there are always the cellar rats to blame. Otherwise, they sit in the office and swirl their glass almost all day long.

Once the wines are barreled-down, winter arrives and the vines become dormant. No reason to spend any time in either the vineyards or winery. It’s time to go on the road, hosting wine dinners where the food is extravagantly prepared, and where they never have to pick up the bill. The consumers who attend these dinners don’t want to offend the winemaker, so they eat and drink joyously, and the winemaker smiles and nods his head, reaping the benefits of generous praise.

Hmmm, is this really true?! No, not really. (Though it would be fun!)

In reality I spend the majority of my time now recording and organizing data, ferment sheets, lab results, government reports and so on. Additionally this year we were in dire straits and had to bottle several of our new wines in a very short window of time. The 2012 Grand Bleu made it to the bottle, along with our 2012 Pinot Noir, 2012 Syrah, 2012 Superior Bikaver, and last but not at least the 2015 Pinot Rose'. One of my personal favorites is the Superior. It is a nice, bold, full bodied red wine with a touch of oak and hints of red berries. I haven't had such a unique and lovely wine for years… It's like going to a high school reunion, where you find out that your crush is still single.

Zoli - my right hand in the cellar - and I have been working on barreling down new wines and re-organizing the old ones. Curious about that? See you in a few weeks then!

I would like to take the opportunity in the name of the entire crew at the Kovacs Nimrod Winery and wish you and your family blessed holidays! Thank you very much for your patronage all year around. We wish good health, happiness and success for the new year. Hope to see you next year again. Cheers!

Update: November 2nd, 2015
Daycare. Probably the best way to describe the winemaker's job through out harvest. The ferments - our babies, have all special needs. Some of them are a little bit cold and must be warmed up or even too hot and need some cooling. Some of them have special nutrient and vitamin needs, while others are very low maintenance. There are many different yeast strains available - for different purposes, just have to pick the right one for your needs. Once the fermentation starts you have no other choice, but "love them" and satisfy their needs, or they will not do the "job" the right way. There is a special term for that: we want to make the yeast happy! I know you are smiling now, but it is true! Also, I counted them the other day: 14. Believe me, having 14 kids at the time is a lot of work. It seems like a never ending job.

After picking the Furmint we put our heads together with our vineyards managers, Peter and Tamas, and decided to take a gamble. We've felt that the Nagy Eged Syrah and Kekfrankos is still not quite there where it could be and we will leave the grapes out before the rain arrives. Well, 70mm of rain and a lot of nervous moments later I'm happy to say that our gamble has paid off. Last week we brought in all of our Syrah, Kekrankos and Cabernet Franc grapes. We were able to pick all of them at optimum maturity, with beautiful fruit flavors and sugar levels topping 14% vol. alcohol at the end of fermentation.

We're still going to work like busy bees in the next couple of weeks to ferment out and press the last of the reds. On the other hand harvest of 2015  is officially over. What a bummer. I would like to take a moment to say thank you to our entire vineyards crew for growing, taking care and hand picking all those beautiful grapes and making this vintage truly a success. Don't forget to check soon for details on the young wines. Cheers!

Update October 31st, 2015
Guess what day it is? It's Groundhog day in the wine industry! Yet we can see the light at the end of tunnel and I'm pretty certain it's not a freight train. This year we decided to put a twist into the story and make our rose out of the Pinot Noir grape. The fermentation is just about done and the pink juice has been turned into an exciting drink with vibrant acids and full of tropical flavors with a bit of spiciness at the end. By using a combination of wild and regular cerevisiae yeast we were able to achieve something extraordinary, something different, something out of the box so to say. Let me tell you; you are in for a real treat. The first bottles will hit the shelves early 2016.

All our Chardonnay's are bubbling happily in barrels and tanks. Mostly done with primary - alcoholic - fermentation and working on the secondary - malolactic fermentation now. At this stage the malic acid will be converted into lactic acid which gives the wine a lot softer, smoother taste.

Mother nature pulled a joke on us this year. With heavy rains in the month of August after a hot and dry summer we see a very decent yields. The 4 different vineyards with slightly different top soils and several different clones yield a very different wine, even tho they are only few hundred yards away from each other.

All of our Pinot Noir's have been pressed of the skins. Some of them remain in tanks for a few more weeks, while other batches, like clone 777, already enjoy the company of fine toasted French and Hungarian oak barrels. Merlot is one of my big favorites. Spend an entire vintage working with Merlot only - back in Napa Valley. Always enjoyed working along our winemaker, tasting barrels or simply listen to stories from his time in France. At this time Merlot is not a varietal yet, we use it in our Bikaver program. Merlot, just like members of the Pinot family is a real pain to grow as a grape and even tougher to make a good wine out of it.

Last Friday we've finished crushing in all of our Syrah. The complexity of the juice is insane. I'm pretty sure we have happy yeast in cellar. Taking a nice, warm, relaxing bath at time of rehydration in that yummy juice….gotta be good. Not the mention the color intensity of the fermenting wine. In case you haven't worked with Syrah yet, you have no idea how purple hands look like. As a side note for those raisin' a brow now; just imagine spilling red wine on your light colored shirt. The exact same thing happens to your skin while in contact with the wine over and over again. We call them harvest hands. It's funny though; you sure get interesting looks in the grocery store, restaurants or simply back home. It's all fun!
See you soon folks! Cheers.

Update: September 1st, 2015

Something is in the air. You can clearly tell by taking a short tour in town. You may get stuck behind a tractor carrying crates full of grapes while driving down the road about 25 mph below the speed limit. Perhaps you may notice otherwise unusual machines  - grape harvesters - popping up here and there. The otherwise quiet wine cellars are full of life this time of year. Like a busy hive of bees people are getting ready for harvest. Pull out the wine presses and crushing equipment after their long winter sleep. Wipe down, clean up, scrub down, hose out and sanitize everything after almost 10 month of hibernation. Raise brow's and scratch heads: "….where did I put this spare part again last year…"?!
Oh yes, grape harvest is in the air.

As a winemaker you probably always ask yourself every year: are we really ready for harvest? Several months in the making; ordering supplies, organizing the cellar, making improvements and maintaining equipment….
We are ready. I'm sure we will run into a surprise here and there but we are good to go!

After a long, very dry and very hot summer we've received 100+ mm of rain in the matter of 2-3 days in the middle of august. For a few days we were afraid that this if going to damage the crop, but our viticulturist Tamas and Peter and their enthusiastic team did an awesome job handling the situation.
For the past 2 weeks we are scouting the vineyards one after the other. Taste grapes, collect samples, do analysis and discuss results. We all agreed that it's time to pick the Pinot Noir for Rose.
Past Friday our vineyard crew hand picked almost 10 tons of Pinot Noir grapes. After careful selection of bunches in the vineyard the process is followed by crushing the berries then selecting them by a sorting table. No stems neither green berries may make their way into the final product. The last step is a quick yet gentle press cycle. After cold settling and racking of lees the pink juice is ready to be turned into a precious liquid. This will be a good one.
Everybody working in the grape and wine industry: have a safe and happy harvest!
Don't forget to check back soon for further details. Cheers!