2017 Káli Kövek ‘Rezeda’ Olaszrizling
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Organic farming; volcanic tuffa soils; using a 40 year-old press, the mostly free run juice is fermented in and aged in old Hungarian oak casks for 6-9 months; bottled unfined/unfiltered with minimal So2; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Gyula Szabó
His family had been growing grapes and making wine in this place for generations, but Gyula Szabó decided to take it to the next level and make wine to sell in 2009, starting with just 1.5 hectares. Gyula, who looks like something between a rugby player and barbarian warrior, works to the tunes of Iron Maiden and admits that he learned English mostly from watching ‘Beavis and Butthead’ and ‘South Park.’ We love him already. Focused on the Olaszrizling grape (no relation to Riesling) on the shores of Lake Balaton (where apparently great wine has been made since Roman times), the Káli Kövek wines are bright, aromatic and extremely minerally. Gyula calls this wine ‘Rezeda’, the Hungarian word for the perfumed Mignonette flower that grows all over the area, because Olaszrizling from these volcanic soils is floral and aromatic. There is also an appealing saltiness that balances said aromatics, along with a smooth, waxy texture that recalls Chenin. If you’re up for something aromatic, weighty without new oak, and brimming with volcanic acidity, this one’s for you.