Friday, January 8, 2010

Gere Attila Kopar Cuvee 2006

For most of my life as a Hungarian American, I was convinced that Hungarian wine (other than Tokaj dessert wine) was pretty awful. For many years my Hungarian born father served me Egri Bikaver (or translated Bulls Blood from the city of Eger) with the best intentions of giving me something good, and every time I tried to gently tell him that it really wasn’t so good. In fact, it was quite bad.

It was only after I visited Hungary that I learned that the country not only produces some good wines, it produces some great wines from many different regions. The problem is that most of the wines being exported to the US are from large cooperatives set up by the old communist government. These cooperatives were (and some still are) much more interested in quantity than quality. Having only experienced these export wines, I initially resisted visiting the city of Eger and its numerous wineries, but after my father’s insistence on taking me there, I was very pleasantly surprised by the many excellent wineries I found there. Moving on to other wine regions from there, the surprises kept coming.

The region that impressed me the most during my visit to Hungary was Villany in the south. After visiting a few wineries here, it was apparent that this region had some pretty special terroir. Wineries like the Jozsef Bock Winery and the Gere Attila Winery were making some great wines from native Hungarian grapes as well as classic Bordeaux varietals. I also quickly learned that it wasn’t my personal favorite Cabernet Sauvignon that was the star here. I discovered that the terroir in Villany is perfectly suited for Cabernet Franc as well as pretty darn good for Merlot. It became apparent that this region in Southern Hungary had something in common with the Right Bank in Bordeaux. My biggest frustration after packing as many bottles as I could of these wines into my suitcase was that the wines of Villany were just about impossible to find in the US.

Although most of these wines are still not distributed in the eastern half of the US to my knowledge, I did just discover that K&L Wine Merchants in San Francisco is now offering some Gere Attila wines for sale on their website. Upon finding this out, I promptly ordered a number of bottles of the Gere Attila Kopar Cuvee 2006 and had them on my doorstep 36 hours later.

I then promptly showed my impatience and uncorked a bottle, putting aside any fear of bottle shock that I had. After decanting for about 45 minutes, I poured the wine, closed my eyes, and found myself back in Hungary for a minute there. The 2006 Gere Attila Kopar Cuvee had a beatiful garnet red color in my glass. The bouquet was wonderful and complex. Floral elements, leather, and spice added to the black cherry fruit on the nose. On the palate, I got black cherry as well as currant and blackberry that was balanced by some subtle minerality, decent acidity, and very nice, smooth tannins. The finish was long with a touch of dark chocolate that lingered for quite a bit.

Overall this was a lovely Bordeaux Blend done in more of a Right Bank style composed of 52% Cabernet Franc, 46% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine had a wonderful dark fruit profile to it with very nice balance and structure. For a price tag of $51, it compared favorably to similarly priced wines Bordeaux wines. I enjoyed the wine with grilled venison steaks with a port wine-mushroom reduction, and the pairing worked beautifully. So if your looking something unique and different, but still delicious, give this Bordeaux style blend from the Villany region of Hungary a try. You won't be disappointed.


1 comment:

  1. Nice review! I agree with you about the Cabernet Franc. It seems like that's the real gem in the region. I toured Villány a few weeks ago and all the winemakers were mentioning how they want to make Cabernet Franc the official wine of the region.

    Anyhow, I also wanted to mention that I'm the creator and editor of The Hungarian We have a lot of information about wines and wineries in Hungary. It would be great to know what you think. Thanks!