Somlói Apátsági Pince

Somlói Apátsági Pince
Zoltán Balogh and Tibor Fazekas
3ha under vine
Organic viticulture

Their are few wine making regions that I have ever visited that are quite as striking as Somlo. When you approach, it seems a pimple on the horizon that is surrounded by flat plains. Although I will admit the description above does not do this extinct volcano justice.
One of the greatest terroirs in Hungary, the soil is basalt and depending on the side of the hill, it runs from fine and eroded cut with clay and sand, to nearly solid. This is why the wines at time can be a little difficult to understand in youth, due to the intense minerality.
The story of Apátsagi (Meaning Abbey in Hungarian, which is what the winery was ), is truly about love for this land.
Both Zoltán and Tibor are from Somlo, though there lives have run quite different courses. Zoltán was enlisted by Nokia directly out of university, while Tibor farmed Somlo. Studying its areas and rich history.
So when Zoltán decided to buy some land in Somlo to make wine, which historically is extremely hard to do as their is not much of it and no one wishes to sell, he asked Tibor for help and the partnership formed.
They bought 3 hectares, of what Tibor believes to be the best locations on the hill. Though not at the peak of the hill, they are around 250 metres above sea level, apart from the Harslevelu which is cordon trained, the vineyards are in the traditional Hungarian stake method.
Next step was how they were to farm, the old ways were always the best here, so why change. They also follow the old regulations for harvest, not picking until October, due to this being the historical picking date as ordained by the Nuns of the Abbey. So residual is the norm with an average of 5-7g/l, yet due to the acidity in the wines, this can seem balanced in youth and with age makes perfect sense.
In regards to winemaking, fermented in barrels ranging in size up to 2000 litres and then also aged in these barrels for at least a year and then bottled. The wines are unfiltered and unfined with a small amount of sulphur added at bottling.