Photo by Miklóska Zoltán

SZÓLÓ Fine Wine has completed its first ever harvest in the Sipos-vineyard in Tállya. The harvest gave birth to a new wine ’puro’ that is special in many respects and reflects the winery’s commitment to natural winemaking.

The grapes showed great promise, after all this is a vineyard that had always been well looked after with old vines dating back to the 1950s. After the purchase of the plot it was renovated and transformed to Guyot training system which explains both the low yields and the high quality. The harvest started at optimal ripeness and in ideal weather conditions, the pickers were told not to pick bunches with even a single botrytized berry so the grapes entering the cellar were in immaculate condition. Unsurprisingly the gentle whole bunch pressing produced such pure free-run juice that no settling was needed. Even the must revealed a unique balance.  

A few years ago looking for new developments in winemaking technology they stumbled upon the „egg” on an Australian website. In this special porcelain vessel with 12 mm walls the evolution of wines takes a completely different route as the shape induces a constant flow which in turn makes the wines develop a different texture. Some microoxidation does occur in an egg as well but levels are lower than with traditional wooden vats. With puro the presence of constantly floating fine lees was an important goal as the winemaker is expecting an increased longevity thanks to this process. 

Photo by Furmint Photo

Temperatures are lower by nature in a porcelain vessel but the winemaker decided to apply extra cooling during the primary fermentation. The fermentation proceeded steadily at 14 °C at a slow pace from the end of October until February. The wine fermented all the way dry with just 1 gram of residual sugar. Malolactic fermentation spontaneously started around January and commenced slowly until May.

Opting for the natural way the wine was bottled without filtration, fining or added sulfites.  In order to preserve the CO2 generated during fermentation the bottle comes with a pressure resistant closure, the extra freshness suits the wine well. 

Photo by Furmint Photo

„The aim was to preserve the juice-like, crispy fruit in the wine”, says winemaker Tímea Éless.

Though sulfite-free winemaking is trending right now in the wine world our motivation was different: curiosity and commitment to natural winemaking. We think it’s worth experimenting to find out what it’s like when a wine is allowed to follow its own course.

This is how András Kató an expert specializing in natural wines describes puro:

This wine is both surprise and joy. A wine that is unfiltered, contains no added sulfite and was aged in a porcelain egg might seem strange to many wine lovers but this wine will surprise sceptics and delight anyone who consumes a glass or two.

Tiago Sabarigo the Portuguese head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant Costes Downtown and head sommelier Péter Pongrácz have come up with a really exciting food match for the wine that highlights the natural flavours: mature Parmiggiano Reggiano cheese coupled with Kalamata olives.

„Because of the umami flavour present in natural wines they work best with food also strong on umami like Parmesan cheese, olives, sea algae, tomatoes, moldy cheese and their combinations”, explains his choice Péter Pongrácz. „Matured and fermented flavours like the ones we encounter in the currently highly fashionable Scandinavian cuisine in the case of fish and dairy products. The point is that wines like these are best matched with food made with minimal technology, the focus should be on ingredients of superior quality.”

Due to its limited production puro will not be widely available; apart from the winery the best chance to taste it will mainly arise in top restaurants. 

Photo by Furmint Photo

SZÓLÓ Fine Wine
SZÓLÓ Fine Wine in Tállya is a new enterprise, the first wines were bottled in 2014. The winemaker’s family comes from Tállya, so the love of grapes was planted in her as a child. After graduating from university her career took her away from Tállya but eventually she returned home.
She and her husband, Tamás Éless started purchasing plots in Tállya in 2012, partly relying on the experience of her grandmother in choosing the best vineyards. The winemaking facility was completed in 2014, right on time for the first harvest.

Photo by Furmint Photo

SZÓLÓ Fine Wine currently farms 7 hectares and most of the vineyards are close to Tállya. They own plots in vineyards like Dukát, Tökös-máj, Bártfai, Hetény, Palota and Sipos which provides the grapes for puro. The wine selection is not yet finalized but Furmint is definitely the centerpiece with Hárslevelű being an important contributor. Each wine name refers to a specific wine style so a new vintage under the same name may well be made of grapes coming from different vineyards and different varieties in order to uphold the continuity of the style.

The single vineyards of Tállya village in Tokaj region

The winery practices integrated viticulture to maintain optimal health of the vines and the surrounding area so that the need for pesticides is minimized. The winery has officially initiated the organic certification process and is in the middle of the three year transitory period. Their ultimate goal is to achieve a balanced interaction between man and nature, and to produce natural and pristine wines.

The winemaker attaches great importance to fermentation so wines going through this process receive special attention. In keeping with natural winemaking no chemicals are introduced at fermentation instead they rely on temperature control. 

From the very beginning the winery has had a good rapport with the Kalina Coopery but overt oak influence in their wines is something they refrain from.