2019 Réka Konz 'Change of Heart'
Region: Barabás < Hungary
Grape: KékfrankosVineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic farming; 20% whole bunches and around two weeks of maceration in open plastic vats; bottled unfined, unfiltered, with no added So2; zero-zero; 12.4% 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
'Change of Heart' is a bit of an outlier for Annamária. The fruit is purchased from an organic producer in the Mátra appellation, because she doesn't grow red grapes. It's a light red that sees no wood, an almost transparent ruby color that looks more like a Kadarka or light Gamay at first glance, but its brightness is matched with some texture and structure. Lean and dry with searing acid, there is some funk and leather on the tart cranberry/hibiscus fruit. With a slight chill, we want this for happy hour, or as a post-dinner soipper, on a patio, watching the late summer sunset. Super cool and unlike any other Kékfranko we've seen.