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Szentesi, Laska 2022

Along with Tihany Kék, Laska also used to be amongst the most popular varieties in Hungary. But then phylloxera invaded in the late 1800s and changed the landscape of Hungarian (and European) wine. Many old Hungarian varieties died out and were not replanted. Only 10 Laska vines survived, which Szentesi discovered at the wine research institute in Pécs and planted in his vineyard. He thinks Laska has a huge potential. It’s a late-ripening variety, with small bunches. It needs yield control to ensure that it ripens well. But when well-ripened, Laska is a full-bodied, high tannin wine, which might remind you of wines from Bordeaux. Laska is generally dark—with blackberry, black cherry, plum, cocoa, and coffee characters. This wine is medium-bodied, with a dark color. Its strong tannins and acidity are well-balanced. This is a complex wine, with lots of intense and layered flavors. It’s on the fruity side—lots of black currant, cranberries, blackberries, fresh raspberries, candied fruit, and black pepper. Cherry liquor lingers in the long and deep finish. The wine was spontaneously fermented, barrel-aged for 14 months, and unfiltered. When we drink this wine, we marvel at how unlikely it is that it even exists today in our glasses. Only 700 bottles were produced. This is an easy one to pair with food. Drink with roasted duck or beef roast with fruit sauce, or turkey and cranberry sauce.

9,990 Ft

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*Prices shown include Hungarian VAT (27%). Final prices are calculated based on the VAT of your shipping country.

Etyek is the closest wine region to Budapest. Since it is located less than an hour’s drive west of the Buda hills, and has many festivals and events throughout the year, it is also among Hungary’s most visited wine regions. Etyek is a small region, with around 1,400 hectares of vineyards. It has protected designation of origin (PDO) status.

Historically, Etyek was known for producing sparkling wines. Hungary’s first (and largest) sparkling wine producer, Törley, started producing sparkling wines from grapes grown in the region in 1882. Since then, the area has continued to focus on this style. Etyek’s limestone soil and overall colder climate make it, arguably, Hungary’s best region to grow Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. These are the most important types of wine produced in the area, both as still wines and sparkling wines. Even the Sauvignon Blanc is used to produce Asti-like sparklers.

Etyek’s best features were not always considered a strength. During the time where full-bodied red wines were the most popular style, the southern-Hungarian red wine producers made fun of Etyek’s producers for not being able to produce this popular style and for only being capable of producing ‘base-wine’ for sparklers. Ironically, elegance and bubbles are once again very popular, and now even the southern-Hungarian producers are trying to make bubbly wines. Etyek is living a renaissance. From Etyek’s wines you can expect fresh acidity, chalky minerality (due to the limestone soil), restrained fruit, and an overall cold-climate-wine-feeling. Traditional method sparkling wines are especially worth seeking out, as well as spicy Pinot Noirs and aromatic whites.

Szentesi is one of Hungary’s biggest champions when it comes to re-discovering old grape varieties, and bringing them back into the vineyard and into the glass. His passion is researching ancient grape varieties (which mostly died out during the phylloxera scourge in the late 19th century), and then acquiring rare vine cuttings from the research institute to plant in his vineyards. He has done this with dozens of varieties, which he then makes experimental small quantities of wine with—magical re-incarnations of ancient, Hungarian varietals which have been (nearly) lost to history. He is the go-to man when it comes to growing grapes like Laska and Tihanyi Kék—grapes grown nowhere else in the world, which he brought back from nothing. Szentesi has 16 hectares of vineyards planted with nearly 30 grape varieties.

About 15 percent of the area is dedicated to growing old, obscure varieties that he has resurrected. His cellar is in Budaörs, just beyond Budapest’s border. But his vineyards are at Lake Velence, a 45-minute drive from downtown Budapest‑officially part of the Etyek-Buda region. The shallow lake is Hungary’s third largest, and it contributes to the area’s special climate and terroir.

Country1-3 bottles 4-6 bottles7-12 bottles
Austria7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Belgium10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Bulgaria13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Croatia10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Czech Republic7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Denmark13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Estonia13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Finland19,900 HUF21,200 HUF23,800 HUF
France13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Germany7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Greece (mainland)19,900 HUF21,200 HUF23,800 HUF
Hungary (outside of Budapest)4,000 HUF for shipping of up to 11 bottles4,000 HUF for shipping of up to 11 bottlesFree delivery for purchases of 12 bottles
Hungary (Budapest)4,000 HUF for shipping of up to 11 bottles (if the order is below 20,000 HUF)4,000 HUF for shipping of up to 11 bottles (if the order is below 20,000 HUF)Free delivery for orders over 20,000 HUF
Ireland13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Italy13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Latvia13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Lithuania13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Luxembourg13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Netherlands10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Poland7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Portugal19,900 HUF21,200 HUF23,800 HUF
Romania10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Slovakia7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Slovenia10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Spain19,900 HUF21,200 HUF23,800 HUF
Sweden13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
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