2018 Réka Konz 'Ora'
Region: Barabás < Hungary
Grape: Királyleányka, Rhine Riesling, Hárslevelű, FurmintVineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming (from 2019) with
extreme biodiversity; 40-60 year old vines on volcanic soils, field
blend, macerated for 5 days in open cask, destemmed, finished the
fermentation in tank; bottled unfined, unfiltered, with no added So2;
zero-zero; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Annamária Réka Koncz
We're obsessed with Réka Konz, a tiny, female-founded and run estate
in Hungary near the Ukrainian border. Annamária Réka Konz studied
enology and got her Masters in Agriculture, then traveled around
working in vineyards (Slovenia, Italy, France) and settled in the
natural wine centric community in Copenhagen. After this natural wine
immersion, she realized she had everything she needed to make her own
natural wine in the place where she grew up, so she returned to her
hometown near the village of Barabás and bought 3 acres. Since her
first release in 2016, she is the only commercial (and certainly
exported) producer in a once highly regarded but currently forgotten
region, where the climate and soils are more akin to nearby Tokaj.
According to our importer, Eric Danch, "her vines are crazy, with
6-10 foot arms sprawling out with multiple birds nests burrowed in.
The place is buzzing with birds, bugs, and even some openings to
badger dens. As you walk around you eventually end up at an obelisk
with the colors of the Hungarian flag. The border with Ukraine
and within eyesight, you can also see occupied guard towers on the
next few hills over. The biological and geopolitical diversity here is
Ora is Annamária’s most macerated wine, deeply structured and full of
life. The fruit comes from what she calls the “long vineyard,” in that
it’s only a few narrow rows and the wine is equally long and focused.
It doesn't smell like much, but on palate it's herbal and savory, with
dry tannins, a concoction not unlike jasmine tea with orange bitters.
It tastes important, special, almost medicinal -- good medicine -
meant to be slowly sipped and savored, with cheese, with food or just
a roaring fire.
DRINKING NOTES: Serve chilled but not too cold, which will accentuate