It was of course something not to be missed, as you could no longer obtain the majority of wines at the winery. Which is why the Bodó family were fidgeting nervously at the start of the tasting, given that they didn’t really know either whether what would be in store with us with some of the wines...
The Bott Winery, so we believe, needs no introduction, but if they do, here you go: right at the start, wine was as far away as Land’s End from John O’Groats for Judit Bott and József Bodó, two young people from Csallóköz. Then they got closer to each other and to wine too. Finally came Tokaj, where they worked at different wineries. Then their own, Bott Pince, in 2006. At first, on one hectare, then a growing number, eventually seven hectares, on loess and degraded rhyolite, in love at the Szerelmi Cellar Row. In headlines Teleki, Előhegy, Határi, Csontos and Kulcsár. The pun on Bott is already wearing thin, but when tasting the Bott-rytis, it came to mind, I’m afraid, so my apologies for that. Nowadays, in the premier league of the first division (if that makes any sense at all) Hegyalja, there are wineries who are making premier league wines, nestled officially in the peaceful first division. If you’re in the area, seek them out. If you’re not, then you should head there. Highly, highly recommended. As concerns the tasting, it was a tasting of filtered, dry Furmints from the Csontos vineyard. Bott’s website tells us the following about Csontos:
Csontos - Erdőbénye/Olaszliszka
1.2 ha traditional cultivation + 1 ha cordon cultivation + 2.5 ha fallow)
The vineyard is on your left as you are driving from Erdőbény to Tolcsva on the ‘small back road’. In the past, it was known as Zsedényi vineyard because it was in the hands of the Zsedényi family. In its heyday, at the beginning of the 20th century, it definitely had some great days. If you wander between the rows of vines for just half an hour or take a look at the former press house from the top of the hill, the question will no longer arise as to why our vision of the future lies just there – there is a special ‘atmosphere’! It’s almost one hectare of land, which was planted sometime at the beginning of the 20th century and is now once again, with hard work, being successfully brought back to life. What will the grapes and the wine be like? We really have no idea; it’s bound to take two or three years before we get an answer to that question. If there is really big potential in the old Furmints, then now’s the chance to prove that. In the meantime, vineyard-selected Csontos Furmint is produced from the 35-year-old vines at the foot of the hill. The soil is volcanic rock and its detritus. It is mostly cultivated by horse.
Csontos 2012 (barrel sample)
Pure minerality, peach, grape pip with a touch of mandarin. On the palate, lovely acidity, good structure, a little residual sugar, white-fleshed peach, white butter pear, meringue and minerality Well-balanced, incredible elegance with a medium-long finish. Great promise!
Csontos 2011 I 89-91 points
Powdery minerality, pear, lychee and pineapple on the nose. The palate is medium-bodied with attractive acidity, white-fleshed fruit, minerality in the background, with a long Mediterranean citrus finish. Wonderful, perfectly balanced, elegant wine.
Csontos 2009 I 84-86 points
Buttery pear, tropical fruit and dried apricot on the nose. On the palate, the alcohol is perhaps somewhat high, sweet overripe peach, melon and dried apricot. The acidity is softer than expected and an interesting, candy floss character lingers on the finish.
Csontos 2008 I 84-85 points
In the first moment, petrol aroma, later herbal notes, honey, horehound boiled sweets and dried apricot. On the palate, medium-bodied, with somewhat soft acidity and a densely textured structure. The acidity is rather citrus, cool flavour palate, watery(?) and dried fruit. Medium finish, with warming alcohol at the end.
Csontos 2007 I 87-89 points
Aromas of petrol, raisin, rum punch, hazelnut and apricot. On the palate, well-proportioned, minerality, dried fruit, peach, melon, date and lychee. Long finish with a little brittle and cloves. Wonderful!
Csontos 2006 I 91-93 points
Restrained bouquet with slight minerality, gooseberry and white flowers. On the palate, lovely acidity, tight structure, an almost fresh, youthful sip. Perfect balance, white-fleshed fruit, bottle bouquet, with a long finish. Unbelievable!
Csontos 2005 I 86-88 points
Ripe apricot, honey and a little smoke with the scent of grape seed bitterness. On the palate, zingy acidity, silky flavours of dried fruit, citrus, honey and minerality. Long finish. Beautifully, interesting and still fresh wine.
The Exczellencziás is also produced from Csontos, in the memory of the previously mentioned former owner Ede Zsedényi. So, who was he? Mikszáth wrote of him:
Anyone who has seen him in his shabby, unkempt top hat, which looked as if a chicken had died in it when its owner had laid it down in the evening and anyone who has seen on his feet the pointed-toed, torn boots, from which his bare big toe is peeping out, his outer jacket, which is shorter than his inner one, and where the centuries-old grease stains bumptiously proclaim that it is something permanent and eternal, and looked shocked, at the poor ‘old beggar’, on his feeble earthly path, with his trembling, long, wrinkled hands and wide, sour, ugly face, felt cold even in summer. The policeman cast suspicious glances at him. The gentleman carefully avoided him so as not to come in contact with his filthy clothes. And nobody would even have dreamt that this was Ede Zsedényi, one of Hungary’s richest landowners and one of the most prominent leaders of public life.
Also connected to the Csontos vineyard story is the fact that before the Zsedényi family, the land belonged to the Szepesi provostship and to András Ciczeri Csontos, from whom it got its current name.
Exczellencziás 2007 I 85-87 points
Slight note of petrol, candied apricot and powdery minerality on the nose. On the palate, amazing acidity, extremely salty minerality, barrel spices and dried apricots, oh and also plenty of citrus. The finish is also dominated by citrus and a touch of bitterness.
Exczellencziás 2005 I 83-85 points
Boiled sweet aroma with a background of petrol and peach. On the palate, high acidity, minerality, barrel flavours and Mediterranean citrus. Still plenty of years in it due to the acidity. Medium finish.
Bott-rytis is the kind of everyday best buy sweet wine for always, everyone and everywhere. We also made eyes at it and it turned out that sometimes life and wine is not as every day and simple as we were expecting.
Bott-rytis 2009 I 82-84 points
Apple and pineapple, drying aromas. On the palate, just that bit more than medium-bodied, crisp texture, medium acidity, overripe peach, honey and a little bit heavy on sugar. The finish is rather dominated by the sweet, sugary notes.
Bott-rytis 2007 I 85-87 points
The nose of an ‘old school’ szamorodni, with a little walnut, hazelnut, petrol and plenty of apricot., On the palate, beautiful acidity, strong flavours of apricot, medium bodied and well-balanced. A long finish of apricots and cloves.
Bott-rytis 2006 I 91-93 points
Incredibly complex nose with candied apricot, mandarin, orange, melon, cinnamon, oriental spices, saffron, honey and raison. Lively acidity on the palate with the complexity repeating itself with slight minerality in the background and a staggeringly long finish!
Bott-rytis 2005 I 87-89 points
The little brother of the ’06 on the nose, with a little watery, petrol note. On the palate, in contrast to the super acidity, a little lighter-bodied than the ’06 and perhaps also a little less elegant. A little petrol and earthy, honey and citrus flavours. Medium to long finish.
Finally, there was one szamorodni left, which was produced as an aszú, but it wasn’t meant to be and thus a superszamó was born.
Szamorodni (sweet) 2011 I 90-92 points
A crazy amount of flowers with a hint of honey and minerality. On the palate, pear, lychee, honey, melon, peach and oriental spices. Medium to full-bodied, spritely acidity, complex, elegant, almost resembling an aszú.
After the tasting, we can safely say that the Bott Winery perhaps already belong to the first class, but they haven’t progressed with any great song and dance, rather slowly but surely without any affectation. They want to excel in what they do; there is no self-congratulation, nothing artificial and synthetic, only natural beauty in their wines and the couple as well. As Judit said “I abhor silicon. I don’t like it in women nor in wine.” Amen