We’ve already written about this event, now it was time to see what it was all about. We had agreed to meet the Olaszliszka wine friends in the morning, which was only altered in as much as, so that we could first get to know each other personally, we were welcomed into Samuel Tinon’s garden and we then went on with him to the rendezvous. (If you would like to know more about Samuel, then you can read this short introduction about him.) The meeting point was at one of the new community squares, soon to be inaugurated, and the horse-drawn carriages were already rolling into the courtyard. After a short greeting and introductions, we were off, bumping through the village along the main road, heading towards the top of the Rány vineyard. It was an amazing experience for our over-civilised group, how the horses pulled the carriages (along with four or five people) up the steep hill with the greatest of ease. The Rány is anyhow the first slope on the plain extending towards the Bodrog, the lower part often suffers from frost damage, whereas the upper third yields amazing wines! In this part of the vineyard, there is no real soil to speak of; it’s as if the vines were growing out of the stones! (It’s worth tasting Attila Homonna’s vineyard-selected wines from here!)
We continued from here across the Budaházi vineyard to the bottom of the Csontos vineyard, where we took a short break. Here you can find the Bott Pince’s tasting room, currently under reconstruction – a centuries-old stone press house. It is currently being converted, hopefully next year it will already be in a fit state to receive visitors. Anyone, though, who is interested in the vineyard, has just got to taste the vineyard-selected wines from the Csontos winery. (In 2013, I took part in an exciting tasting, in which we got to taste the winery’s older, no longer available vintages. To learn more about the Bott winery, the vineyard and its wines, click here.) We carried on climbing from here (ok, the horses climbed, we just sat in the carriage) across the Narancsi vineyard (Karádi&Berger winery make lovely wines from here) and up to the top of the Rakottyás vineyard, where there is a fabulous view over the whole region. Glancing around, on the right-hand side, you can see Erdőbénye from above, beneath you, vines in every direction, in the distance, Olaszliszka, you can even see Tokaj hill! From there, it was only an hour’s ride to the press house and guest house (private use) in the Sajgó vineyard where the enthusiastic organisers were awaiting the group with a hearty meat and potato stew.
It was a real experience, the cool building felt great after the incredible heat, and not only winemakers but also the mayor was among the hosts. On the way back, we only glimpsed the Meszes vineyard from afar (but I should mention it because of the Kvaszinger winery) before arriving at Olaszliszka. The programme was however far from over! Accompanied by enthusiastic local historians, we visited the village doll museum, we could climb the church tower (the view was wonderful!) and also pop into the exhibition of István Ézsaiás, the well-known contemporary sculptor’s. In the evening, a walk around the village to marvel at how many wonderful, centuries-old, former merchant buildings, now in ruins, there are in the village. If you are a history lover, then there’s really everything here, in Olaszliszka you can get your hands on one of the cheapest pieces of history. 150-year-old houses, with 300-year-old cellars. Amazing! And then a barbecue to finish. If every Amici Vinorum vineyard tour by coach and horse is like this, then it won’t be long before there’s not enough space at the events. Unmissable event, highly recommended!
A piece of additional advice: if you set off on a several-hour-long coach and horse programme, make sure you take a sunshade, a snack and either some water, or even better, tea. The latter will remain drinkable, even if it gets warm in the heat.