Cover pic by Daniel Ercsey

"Foliage, flowers and coloured pebbles // next to the rails. Wavy Palics." wrote Kosztolányi, the famous Hungarian poet, lamenting his homeland and his childhood in 1919. But what is the situation in Palic now? The winery named after Zvonko Bogdan, near Palic, could be the home winery of either Subotica or Szeged, so close are they to both cities. Crossing the Hungarian-Serbian border, it's only ten minutes away.

Interestingly, while perhaps the region's best known winemaker, Oszkar Maurer, relies entirely on local grape varieties, Vinarija Zvonko Bogdan looks to find salvation in international varieties, across all 62 hectares, although if rumours are to be believed, they are planning to plant Furmint and Blaufrankisch. What makes a big difference between the sands of Palic and the Hungarian Mórahalom on the other side of the border is the attitude. How many times have I heard flatland winegrowers say 'we are only good at fruity, light wines', all with their arms outstretched, as if in regret. Well, there is no trace of that here! 

Photos: Daniel Ercsey

Everyone at the winery is convinced of the uniqueness of the local terroir, and the wines are elegant and fruity, but with plenty of ageing potential. It's no surprise that Chardonnay 2022 was named the best Balkan white wine at the Wine Vision competition in Belgrade, and the red wine No.1 Cuvée has been a gold medal winner at the Decanter wine competition in London for years. The wines are living up to the name and are slowly becoming as well known as the eight tambura musicians of Petrovaradin in the song...

Géza Csáth, Kosztolányi's cousin, also wrote about the region, especially about Lake Palic, which is almost only meters away:

"I have a premonition that I will fall on the battlefield, and that at the last moment the poromenade of Palics will appear before me, with its green carpet of grass and dark foliage, just as I saw it as a child: The golden-bronze sun of August, with its golden-brown shadows, deserted, in the silence of summer - not a soul is walking."

Photos: Daniel Ercsey

Éclater extra brut 2018 blanc de blanc I 86 points

Nose of biscuit, apple, citrus. Medium body, small and well-distributed bubbles. On the palate citrus, biscuit, green apple. The finish is also medium.

Photos: Daniel Ercsey

Chardonnay 2022 I 92 points

Lemon in colour, but the nose is not citrusy at all, with apple and cloves, but also a touch of vanilla. Medium body on the palate, nice acidity, ripe flavours, tiny tingle on the tip of the tongue, elegant barrel use, tiny vanilla, butter, ripe apple. Long finish, the whole wine is very elegant and well proportioned. I would drink it anytime!

Photo: Daniel Ercsey

Icon Campana Albus SB 2020 I 85 points

Deep lemon colour. Citrus and hazelnut on the nose. Big body, round acidity, complex and ripe, but doesn't clearly bring the varietal characteristics, more of a general white wine feel, with a touch of smoke and flinty character on the finish.

Icon Campana Rubimus 2019 I 93 points

Deep ruby colour with a black core. Blackberry and dark chocolate on the nose. The body is big, the tannins velvety, the palate deep and complex with black berry forest fruits and sweet spices, the finish is very long with cedar and cherry jam. A wonderful, great wine!

Photos: Daniel Ercsey

Cuvée No.1. 2019 I 92 points

Deep ruby colour. Nose of black berries, Madagascar chocolate, blackberries and plums. More than medium body, round acidity, silky tannins. Elegant palate with lots of black berries and a long finish. International style, big format red wine.

Photo: Daniel Ercsey

Merlot 2019 I 90 points

Sandy vineyard selection, from the Lake Ludas area. Deep ruby colour. On the nose, lots of plums and cherries, chocolate and black cherries. Tasted with big body, lively acidity, firm tannins, the nose repeats the flavour. It's still very young, it needs time, but it's already showing signs of potential.

Photo: Daniel Ercsey