Category Archives: Kékfrankos

Hungarian winemakers put their football skills to the test

borasz_foci_szekszard_2015_2On 18 July, winemakers from Balatonboglár , Etyek-Buda, Hajos-Baja, Szekszárd and Tolna did battle for a trophy. However, this time, the trophy had nothing to do with wine. The winemakers donned their football boots and went out onto the footbal pitch.borasz_foci_szekszard_2015_3

This year, Szekszárd provided the pitch for the winemakers turned sportsmen, who have been honing their tackling and scoring skills for the last ten years since the first ‘Winemakers’ Battle’ in Pannonhalma.

borasz_foci_szekszard_2015_5Szekszárd’s András Takler organised the event this year, but it was originally the brainchild of Eger’s Tibor Gál, who organised a friendly between Eger and Pannonhalma ten years ago. Since then, other wine regions have joined the fray. Not only does the event give the winemakers the chance to keep their ‘foci’ skills from getting rusty, it’s also a good opportunity for them to get to know their colleagues from elsewhere better.

The reigning chborasz_foci_szekszard_2015_4ampions, Balatonboglár succeeded in holding onto their title. The opening match between Etyek and Szekszárd ended in a 2-2 draw. György Takács from the south of the Balaton was the tournament’s top scorer, clocking up twelve goals in four matches. Etyek boasted the best goalie, Richárd Csalánosi.

borasz_foci_szekszard_2015_6But the fight was still on for the wine of the tournament, should it be the Szekszárdi cserszegi fűszeres or the kékfrankos rosé? Maybe that was decided at the tasting and dinner in the evening.

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An afternoon of ‘foxy’ wine

In this case, a ‘foxy’fuxli wine is not the kind of wine with strong musky, animalistic notes that reminds you of your grandmother’s fur coat or fox muffler, sometimes used to describe certain American grape varieties  such as Concord.

The wines I tried last week were Szekszárd Sillers, otherwise known as ‘Fuxli’. All the wines have a label with some kind of fox illustration, hence the name Fuxli.

You might be asking what on earth a Siller is. This is a summer wine, somewhere between a rosé and a light red. They are produced in the same way as a red, but are racked off their skins much earlier. Mostly after one to four days. They are usually fresh and fruity, with relatively high acidity and often a slightly bitter finish. Perfect for quaffing on their own or as a fröccs.

You can find Siller elsewhere in Hungary, but Fuxli is the name chosen to represent the renaissance of this style of wine, previously drupostank for three centuries, but brought back to life several years ago by a small group of producers in Szekszárd including Heimann and Merfelsz.

They have to be produced from at least 50% grape varieties from the Carpathian Basin, in this case, Kékfrankos and Kadarka, and the rest can be made up from other varieties, such as Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

The 2014 Fuxlis will be on the shelves in a week or two and I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the ten that were selected as Szekszárdi Fuxli this year. Two, apparently, did not make it past the selection panel.

This year you’ll be able to find Fuxli from the following producers:eszterbauer

  • Prantner
  • Markvart
  • Eszterbauer
  • Sebestyén
  • Mészáros Pál
  • Heimann
  • Takler
  • Posta Borház
  • Göndöcs Lajos
  • Merfelsz

I found this year’s offering to be rather dilute with high acidity, no doubt due to the poor year. However, they were mostly still quite drinkable summer wines. My top three (in no particular order) were:

Merfelsz (70% Kékfrankos, 30% Merlot) Nice and fruity with bags of cherry spice and some floral notes. More concentrated than most on offer. Well rounded and quaffable.

Posta Borház (85% Kékfrankos, 15% Kadarka) Concentrated ripe colour, bags of cherry and spice, with a slightly bitter finish.

Sebestyén (50% Kékfrankos, 50% Merlot) Unusually compared to most of the others, this wine had seen some oak (three months). Rich cherry and red fruits. Less bitter on finish than many of the others.