The Borsmenta press club recently put 13 wines made from Villány’s favourite grape, Cabernet Franc, to the test, with some surprising results. Five were from its southern stronghold; however, the rest were selected from regions as varied as Szekszárd, Tolna, Balatonfelvidék, Balatonfüred-Csopak and Badacsony. The line up included a range of styles, ranging from bright, light and fruity to more oaky and dense. We even tasted an intriguing white Franc.
The results were reassuring, yet also surprising, with Villány taking top place and joint second. However, the northern shore of the Balaton also turned up some real gems, scooping up joint second, fourth and fifth places. What’s more, number five is a real best buy, at just 3,000 HUF from Bortársaság!
1. Kiss Gábor Pincészete Code 2016 (Villány)
A rich, mouth-filling, structured wine with ripe tannins and plenty of bright acidity. A chalky note, a touch of green bell pepper and some tertiary character creeping in add complexity. Nicely integrated oak and a salty, mineral thread running through it keep it fresh right till the end of its long finish.
2. Bakonyi Péter Pincészete Bakonyi Siklos 2017 (Villány)
An attractive cornucopia of raspberry and blue berries with a touch of green capsicum and violets. Crisp acidity and slightly grippy tannins but lovely varietal character. An appealing cool mineral streak balances the ripe fruit and the wines ends with a long, elegant finish.
2. Villa Tolnay Pincészet Csobáncz Cabernet Franc 2016 (Badacsony)
Beautiful ripe red and black fruit with redcurrants and cherry jam, maybe even a Mon Cheri chocolate or two. Lively, fresh acidity and fine ripe tannins give the wine a lovely framework, and it’s all freshened up by a cool, lean zip of minerals.
4. Jásdi Pince Ranolder Vörös 2015 (Balatonfüred-Csopak)
A complex wine with fresh, ripe red fruit, including rosehip, cherry and crunchy plum. It’s showing some maturity with notes of tea and tobacco but also with a fresh zip of mineral, lime and green capsicum. Ripe on the palate with judicious oaking and smooth tannins. Balanced and long.
5. Liszkay Pincészet Giuia 2016 (Balatonfelvidék)
A spicy blend of rosehip, redcurrants and sour cherries in cognac with a cool menthol note adding a breath of freshness and some complexity. There’s a pleasant green note and the tannins have a touch of grip. Bright crisp acidity and a long fresh finish.
Photos by Gábor Vető