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Kékfrankos, Sebestyén, Szekszárd 2019

Red Wine from Hungary
Deliciously plump kékfrankos from husband and wife team, Csilla and Csaba Sebestyén, produced in Hungary especially for The Wine Society. Plum and blackberry fruit are intertwined with cracked black pepper spice and a touch of oak for extra complexity. Pure and delicious and best served lightly chilled.
Price: £9.95 Bottle
Price: £59.50 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: HU1731

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Light to medium-bodied
  • Kekfrankos
  • 13% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2023
  • 75cl
  • Screwcap
Play Video
Hungary buyer Matthew Horsley on a delicious example of one of the country’s best-loved red grapes. Video transcript

Video transcript

Kékrankos, also called blaufränkisch across the border in Austria, is Hungary's signature red grape. Predominantly grown around the region of Eger, this example is from Szekszárd down in the south and it's produced exclusively for The Wine Society by the Sebestyén winery, a brother and sister team. Now, originally this kékrankos was destined for their Egri Bikaver, their Bull’s Blood blend, but I thought the kékrankos was so good we wanted to do a single varietal bottling, and I’m absolutely delighted with the results. It spends a short period of time in oak, but it doesn't restrict that wonderful fragrant cherry and strawberry aroma alongside this stemmy, almost Beaujolais or Mencia-like character on the nose. And the palate is brisk, full of juicy cranberries and cherries, lovely fresh acidity that will make it an absolute star, lightly chilled, with some cured meats or turkey this winter.

Hungary

The Romans cultivated vines in Pannonia from the second century AD and despite a period of Ottoman Muslim rule in parts of Hungary during the 16th and 17th centuries and the dead hand of state control in the second half of the 20th Hungary has adapted well to the demands of a modern free market, and particularly an export driven one. Since the fall of communism in the late 1980s the Hungarian wine industry has garnered foreign and local investment and adopted modern technological and viticultural practises to improve the quality of the wines.

The principal wine growing regions sit between 45o and 50o latitude, similar to Burgundy to the west. The continental climate of landlocked Hungary is one of extremely cold winters and long, hot summers followed by prolonged, usually sunny autumns. Lake Balaton, Europe’s largest lake, provides a moderating effect on winter and summer temperatures, as does the Tisza River that glides past the Tokaji region, the Neusiedlersee that the border...
The Romans cultivated vines in Pannonia from the second century AD and despite a period of Ottoman Muslim rule in parts of Hungary during the 16th and 17th centuries and the dead hand of state control in the second half of the 20th Hungary has adapted well to the demands of a modern free market, and particularly an export driven one. Since the fall of communism in the late 1980s the Hungarian wine industry has garnered foreign and local investment and adopted modern technological and viticultural practises to improve the quality of the wines.

The principal wine growing regions sit between 45o and 50o latitude, similar to Burgundy to the west. The continental climate of landlocked Hungary is one of extremely cold winters and long, hot summers followed by prolonged, usually sunny autumns. Lake Balaton, Europe’s largest lake, provides a moderating effect on winter and summer temperatures, as does the Tisza River that glides past the Tokaji region, the Neusiedlersee that the border region of Sopron shares with Austria, and the Danube for the winemaking areas of the north such as Transdanubia.
The vineyards are spread all over the country so soil types are not homogenous over such a large area, but one common theme is the volcanic nature of many. The Great Plain area where much of Hungary’s more generic offerings originate is mostly sand and loess.

Tokaji is Hungary’s most famous wine. Recent investment has paid dividends in re-establishing a reputation for greatness that was forged in medieval times and diluted during Communist rule when all wines were exported through a monopoly little interested in providing quality and these great sweet wines might even be pasteurised. The confluence of the river Tisza and a smaller, cooler tributary provides the conditions for the creation of the ‘Breath of God’, or morning mists, in the same way the merging of the Cerons and the Gironde do in Sauternes. This in turn encourages the formation of botrytis cinerea, a fungus that feeds on the moisture in a grape, concentrating the sugars and changing its structure. The result is some of the best and most luscious sweet wines in the world, made from the indigenous furmint, harslevelu, oremus or zeta, and koverszolo varieties, together with muscat.

In the south-west, on the border with Croatia, the Villány-Siklós region is fast developing a reputation for excellent wines, and in the north-east is the Eger region, modern home to the famous and sturdy Bull’s Blood, arguably Hungary’s second most famous wine though not necessarily the origin of the widely exported brand of the last century.

Although many international varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and franc, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc have been planted and are making excellent wines, the Hungarians have retained many native central European vines. Kadarka, kekfrankos (aka blaufränkisch), irsai oliver and the aforementioned furmint and harslevelu have a long history and can make characterful wines.
The Hungarian authorities have developed an appellation system modelled on the French and Austrian versions and 22 regions are currently recognised.
Read more

2019 vintage reviews

The Daily Telegraph

… a lovely autumnal red, a very smooth, oak-aged wine that smells and tastes of purple fruit and briars with a hint of white pepper and cranberries. 

Victoria Moore

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