Website: Vylyan Winery
Country Location: Hungary
In the span of about 15 years Vylyan has gone from unknown to Hungary's definitive and most awarded producer of the noble Pinot Noir varietal.
Vylyan means Villány. The name was coined from a 15th Century manuscript. Founder Pál Debreczeni aimed to set up a trendsetting winery subordinating all other aspects to that of quality. Villány is the terroir he selected. Its soil — loess and clay on sea-based crusty limestone — is ideal for striking full-bodied red wines. The quality and characteristics of which are conditioned by the location of the vineyards and the vintage rather than formula. The first vines were planted in 1992 and in ‘97 Vylyan made their commercial debut. Vylyan’s rise was meteoric. Tragically however, in 2004 Pál was lost in a car accident. His wife Monika Debreczeni took over his position as managing director noting, “The vineyard is like our third child; and you don’t abandon children just like that.” Under her leadership, Pál’s vision is today realized in the quality of their site reflective wines. In 2008 Vylyan won the title “Winery of the Year“ in Hungary.
In the Vineyard
Vylyan only uses estate fruit sourced from their substantial 125 hectares of vineyards. Protected from the north wind by the east-western site of the hills, the southern slopes of Villány enjoy the highest number of sunny hours in the whole country. Vineyards are densely planted (7000 vines per ha) to increase vine competition. Yields are restricted while encouraging downward root growth and access to water and nutrients. Ecological treatments in the vineyards that aim to strengthen the immunity mechanisms of the vines are preferred. Integrated pestcontrol that forbids the use of many chemicals is standard practice. Gombás, a cooler easterly slope with heavier clay soil is where the majority of the Pinot Noir is sourced.
In the Cellar
The winery is located on the slopes of Fekete-hegy (Black Hill) near the village of Kisharsány, lying in the heart of Dobogó vineyard. In 1998 technical director and winemaker István Ipacs Szabó took over daily operations of the estate. He and Burgundian enologist Jean-Pierre Confuron have continued what began in the late 90’s as a consultative relationship due to István’s thirst for knowledge and Jean-Pierre’s fascination with the quality of Pinot Vylyan grows. Grapes are hand harvested, manually sorted and gently destemed so as not to crush the berries. After a week long cold soak grapes are foot stomped and fermented by native yeast in traditional Hungarian barrique (Trust Hungary Coopers). The maturation period is 6 to 18 months.