Contributed by Michael Zeebroek. Michael is a young Belgian living in Budapest. He writes a wine blog called Wonderfultasting where his “goal is to get the world to respect Hungarian wines…”
Gere Atilla is one of the most famous wine makers in Hungary, he put Hungary on the wine map with his famous Kopár cuvée. The winery is run by the Gere family and cellar tours will only be given by one of the members. The winery itself is located just a small walk out of the town centre where they also have a spa hotel named Crocus and a fine dining restaurant named Mandula. The restaurant is where you will most likely enjoy a wine tasting so you can also enjoy a few dishes that will perfectly complement the wine.
The history of Gere Pincészete started seven generations ago, the ancestors of Atilla Gere took a long journey which was challenging and required great diligence. The family always wanted to respect and follow the traditions but at the same time there had to be room for experimenting and trying to make new and interesting wines. Today the Gere cellar has over 70 hectares and they focus on the old Hungarian traditions of grape growing.
Atilla Gere and his wife Katalin started their ”wine life” with only a few acres of vineyard in Csillagvölgy, a parcel they received as a wedding present from their parents in 1978. In 1986 they sold their first vintage in bottles.
The Gere cellar uses state of the art equipment and technology in combination with the wine making traditions of Villány. They select the grapes, harvesting the bunches in small containers by hand. There is a strict yield limitation of roughly 0.7-1 kilogram per stock. After this there is another quality check on the conveyor belt to make sure that only totally ripe and healthy grapes are used. The alcoholic fermentation is done in stainless steel tanks and wooden tanks, under a controlled temperature for roughly one to three weeks, depending on the varieties. After the fermentation and gentle pressing, which happens with pneumatic presses, the wine goes into new and used oak barrels. 80% Hungarian and 20% French oak barrels are used for spontaneous fermentation and aging. The red wines are usually aged for 14 to 18 months.
Let’s talk wine! 2012 was a very extreme year, with a very cold and snowy winter. Lucky enough the snow layer protected the vine stocks against damage, unfortunately we still had frost in spring and that did damage the vines quite a bit. The summer was then again extremely dry and that was a gift from God to save the harvest; there was so much heat and dryness that the grapes were ripe almost three weeks earlier than usual. Small berries with very concentrated juice produced a great vintage with outstanding, full bodied and concentrated red wines.
The vineyard is called Csillagvölgy and it was the first one Gere Atilla and his wife cultivated. By now the vines are between 16 to 31 years old. The harvest was done in the middle of October, with alcoholic fermentation occurring in stainless steel tanks and malolactic fermentation in barrels. The wine was aged 80% in big barrels (25-50 hectolitre) and 20% in used barrique barrels.
The colour of the wine is deep ruby, it has a very clean and medium+ intensive nose full of dark cherries with hits of oak, cedar wood and a little bit of cranberries.
The flavour is also medium+ intensive, the alcohol and acids are extremely well balanced together with some very silky soft tannins. The wine is very full bodied and has a long finish, an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon with the terroir of Villány! Definitely drinkable now (I am enjoying this very much!) and according to the winery it will be at its peak between 2018-2019.
All winery photos courtesy of Gere Winery.