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…spontaneously fermenting

A tasting note: 2008 St. Andrea Pinot Noir Ferenchegy

We are in Hungary now.  Not the famous Tokaj region centered around the small town of Mad, known for its glorious sweet Aszú wines.  Rather we are a bit further south and west. Perhaps the second most well-known wine region in this (perhaps under appreciated) wine producing country. We are in Eger.  Home of the “Bulls Blood”,  or locally “Egri Bikavér”.  Although ecological conditions favor white wine production, the fame of the region lies in its reds.

St. Andrea follows a simple philosophy, one that is not so seldom heard these days:  “The quality of the wine is decided in the vineyard”. Not a new way of thinking, but a more and more common way of thinking. A philosophy that for the most part I agree with. You certainly cannot make a great wine without great grapes. But one cannot ignore the wine maker.  This is where a wine maker who listens carefully to his grapes can mean the difference between an average, every day bottle of wine and a great bottle of wine.  Dr. György Lőrincz (owner/oenologist) says “If an oenologist reaches this level of quality and can maintain it continuously with undiminished energy for decades, his vineyard can become deservedly prestigious, and establish iconic wines that can motivate other enthusiastic oenologists.”

I heard rumors that many consider St. Andrea as the best Pinot Noir producer in the area.   2,834 bottles produced

Date tasted:  May 17th, 2011 19:07

Appearance: very light in color, almost rosé like.  One of the lightest Pinot’s I have seen in a while. Medium intense reflexes. Young.

Nose: Wood, forest floor. Oak not abusive to the fruit. Ripe raspberries with smoky hints. Quite open already. Alcohol stings the nose a bit.

Palate: good attack and good structure. Medium plus acidity, nice fruit,  oak sits around the whole wine, gently coating the tongue and mouth. Surprising freshness. Alcohol is quite fresh and doesn’t dominate the wine.  For my palate, the oak is too much a piece of the puzzle. Perhaps the producer intended that this wine be stored a few years, but I’m not sure this is a wine that will improve for the next 5 years in the cellar. Judicious use of oak none the less, but it loses a bit of it’s drinkablity for me because of the oak, unfortunately. Drink now or enjoy over the next 3-5 years.

 


Category: 1 WINE, 3 TASTING NOTES, Eger, Hungary

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5 Responses

  1. Thanks for the note Joseph. 2008 isn’t considered even a decently good vintage in the region, just FYI. 2006 and 2007 Pinots Noirs from St. Andrea are drinking nicely now.
    If you’re still there try the Csakegyszoval – the basic PN bottling with less oak – or the Hangacs which IMHO is the best of the three cru bottling, very Burgundian and deep. (Hard to get though but Imola restaurant in Eger should have it on the list).

    My write-up of St. A. is here: http://blog.polishwineguide.com/2009/11/09/the-wines-of-st-andrea/.

    Have a nice stay!

    • vinosseur says:

      Wojciech,

      Would you believe I actually drank that bottle right here in Krakow? A friend of mine whom you might know, Kuba (http://kontretykieta.wordpress.com/2011/05/20/daleko-od-babel/) shared it with me.
      I appreciate your comments tremendously because the Eger region is one I have not tasted often. It’s too bad that my first experience with this producer had to be with a not so favorable vintage. I now look forward to tasting their other wines and vintages.
      One thing that was unclear to me on the their website was the sort of approach they took in the vineyards/wine making? They mentioned the word “natural” a few times, but I don’t think they meant natural in the way that I mean natural. Just curious… It didn’t seem to be a wine fermented spontaneously which often suggests a more natural approach.

      Thank you,

  2. Kuba Janicki says:

    I am not such an enemy of the oak – one cannot be if he wants to enjoy Hungarian red wines in general – and in my subjective opinion in case of this bottle it was very nicely integrated, yet of course present. I still have a Paptag 2008 – and I think Wojtek is right, there was 2006 bottles in Imola’s wine list…

    And one more thing – I guess many Hungarians would rather say that Villanyi (in the south of the Hungary) is their best red wine region. They work mostly with Bordeaux varieties there, for some realy interesting effects (Josef Bock is a classic, recently I enjoyed wines from a producer called Vylyan, all of them al least decent). But you must now Joseph, they like to oak a lot in Villanyi as well…

  3. Kuba Janicki says:

    Oh, and one more thing – Imre Kalo, this crazy guy from Eger, was announced Winemakers’ Winemaker of the Year 2011 during this amazing Etyek Festval! Just another reason to finally find his wines…

  4. vinosseur says:

    Kuba,

    Thanks for your comments! Yes, I know, i have become quite allergic to oak, preferring the naked style of wines instead.
    I need to hear more about Imre’s wines and taste them! I have only seen his wines in photos and in video, but not in real life! I must get to Hungary soon!

    cheers,

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Vinosseur is the company name of sommelier Joseph R. Di Blasi. Vinosseur.com is his web page where he writes about wine, food, restaurants and other gastronomic experiences.

Joseph has a special place in his heart for quality wines from the old world, especially France & Italy, with a strong focus on Organic, Biodynamic and Natural wines.

Joseph grew up in Italy and California, but left The States in 2002 and now resides in Poland.

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