2018 Losonci Pinot Noir
Region: Mátra< Hungary
Grapes: Pinot Noir
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; soils are andesite (volcanic), tons of iron/red clay, and chalk; open vat fermented and then a year in tank before bottling unfined/unfiltered with <20ppm SO2; 12.5%
Winemaker: Bálint Losonci
Bálint Losonci entered the wine business as a writer for a wine magazine and was exposed to a whole world of Hungarian wines in the late 1990s that was just waking up after Communism. After learning the ropes, he joined a few other like-minded small producers who believed in the future potential of the Mátra appellation, which has quietly become Hungary’s second largest appellation (7500+ hectares),but has been dominated by just a few larger industrial players – a Soviet cooperative era hangover. Bálint doesn’t spray anything of any kind – he doesn’t have to, as his vineyards have the right exposure and are protected from harsh weather on all sides by the tallest mountains in the country.
Pinot Noir from Hungary, you ask? We hadn't seen it before either, and here it takes on a different character: aromatic, soft red fruits, baking spice and a volcanic smoky/briny edge. Light and straightforward with decent skin tannins, it also happens to be the rare red wine that works as well with veggies as it does with a burger or a sloppy burrito. 30 minutes of chill brings out the aromatics and the lovely quirks.