Six of the best terroir-focused Villány wineries

23rd January, 2017 by Darren Smith

Just before Christmas I visited the southern Hungarian winemaking town of Villány with Wines of Hungary to attend the 2016 Franc & Franc conference – Villány’s concerted effort to convince the world that it is the adoptive home of Cabernet Franc.

You can read an overview of the trip here. In this article I want to focus on a selection of the more terroir-focused producers whose wines really stood out on that trip – and who I believe have the best chance of succeeding in the fiercely competitive UK market.

One of the over-riding impressions I took from the Franc and Franc conference and associated tastings was that, in many cases, there was a marked overuse of oak. I tasted around 30 premium Villány Cabernet Francs in which it seemed the norm, rather than the exception, for the wines to be aged for 24 months in oak – very often new – before release.

On top of this, some of the wines were very ripe, alcoholic and extracted, which made them a challenge to drink. While these kinds of wine do enjoy strong demand in the local market, there are question marks over their potential for success in the UK market, where the overarching trend is towards fresher, lower alcohol, less obviously oaked styles of red wine (reds being the specialty of Villány).

“If you look at global trends in winemaking there is definitely a move away from too much obvious oak,” Caroline Gilby MW, an expert on the wines of the region, told the conference.

“It also makes financial sense if you use less oak for a shorter time. And if you’ve got really nice fruit, why hide it with too much oak?”

Thankfully, such wines were not the whole story of my Villány visit – far from it. Throughout the four-day trip I took note of a good number of wineries which seemed to demonstrate restraint in their use of oak, which were focusing on terroir and indigenous varieties, exploiting cooler sites (Villány is one of the warmest regions in Hungary), and working with precision in the vineyard and cellar to produce red wines of clarity, restraint and freshness.

In the pages that follow are profiles of six such wineries which, in my opinion, represent a good starting point for anyone interested in discovering the wines of this still under-appreciated region.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Job vacancies

Sales Account Manager

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Marylebone Sales Manager

Philglas & Swiggot
Marylebone, London, UK

Area Sales Manager

Bon Coeur Fine Wines
North England, UK

Procurement Assistant – Wine

Adnams PLC
Southwold, UK

Account Manager Central London

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Brand Ambassador

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

National Business Development Manager

Speciality Drinks Ltd
London, UK

Marketing Assistant

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire, UK

Marketing Manager

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Regional Sales Manager – Scotland

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Sales Manager – London On-Trade

Bancroft Wines
London, UK

Customer Service & Sales Support Executive

Jascots Wine Merchants
London, UK

Market Insight Analyst

Conviviality PLC
London, UK

Technical Manager

Enotria&Coe
Park Royal, London, GB

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

Deadline : 25th August 2017

Global Chardonnay Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

The Global Sauvignon Blanc Masters 2017

Deadline : 1st September 2017

Click to view more

The Global Rosé Masters 2017

With wines from the palest of pink to almost ruby red, bone dry to almost cloyingly sweet, reductively handled to barrel-aged, as well as gently spritzy to fully sparkling.

The Global Organic Masters 2017

The drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Organic Masters

The Drinks Business Awards 2017

Now in its 15th year, the db awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry.

The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters 2017

the drinks business Hong Kong announces its first year of The Asian Cabernet Sauvignon Masters.

Click to view more