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Villányi Rosé – Riczu Tamás Borászata

All of Riczu’s wines are organic and vegan, and Tamás Riczu is an advocate of organic and vegan winemaking in the Villány region. He has become sort of the go-to person when a winery wants to convert from conventional to organic agriculture, making him a busy and sought-after consultant. The grapes for this wine were—as you can guess—organically farmed, and no animal-origin product was used during the winemaking. This rosé is a blend of 60 percent Kékfrankos and 40 percent Merlot grapes, which were hand-harvested on September 7th. It was produced in the traditional fresh pink-wine fashion of stainless steel fermentation and brief ageing prior to bottling. The Kékfrankos gives the wine its freshness, while the Merlot helps bring some plushness and texture to it. This bone-dry rosé (with just 0.8 grams of residual sugar) has a crisp and juicy palate with delicious raspberry and cherry flavors.

2,990 Ft

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

The Villány-Siklós region lies near the Croatian border and because it’s the warmest of Hungary’s wine regions, it’s often called the “Mediterranean of Hungary.” Known as one of Hungary’s prime red wine region, it specializes in Bordeaux varieties and some local varieties, such as Portugieser and Kékfrankos. There are 11 villages in the region, with the village of Villány itself being the focal point. It’s a quaint village, and its strong Swabian influence is evident in its neat main drag lined with traditional whitewashed wine cellars where the wine always flows. Villány steals the spotlight from Siklós, which is to the west, the part of the region specializing in whites such as Olaszrizling, Hárslevelű, and Chardonnay.

Villány was one of the wine regions which re-started the earliest after Communism fell. In the mid-1990s a slew of modern wineries were built, vineyards were re-planted, and families which had been making wine for generations could once again share their wines with the world.

The region’s success was an essential part in the re-building of the Hungarian wine industry as a whole. Hungarian tourists flocked here to spend wine-fueled weekends at the charming winery-owned pensions, and soon the word spread internationally. For wine tourists, it’s a great place to visit, and many of the wineries run their own inns, hotels, and restaurants.

Villány’s signature grape is Portugieser (formerly called Kékoportó), and Kékfrankos is also widely planted. Kadarka—a native variety that was the most widely planted red grape in 19th-century Hungary, but wasn’t suitable to mass production during the Communist era —has also been re-planted in areas.

Much of Villány’s wine is made with internationally known grapes like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir. It has become clear over the past two decades of experimentation that Cabernet Franc is the super-star of the region. Tasting premier single varietal Cabernet Francs here (which winemakers have dubbed “Villányi Franc” to help with the branding) is pure pleasure. Cab Francs from Villány have received rave reviews from wine critics, and have won prestigious international awards.

Tamás Riczu is a big advocate for organic farming and vegan wine—“it just tastes better,” he told us. He has been making wine in the region for 17 years now, first working with other wineries, but now on his own seven hectare estate, located on his Akasztófa vineyards in Siklós. Siklós (which was known as Serena in the Roman era) dates back to prehistoric times, with a 13th-century castle looming over the town. Riczu grows Blaufrankish, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Olaszrizling, all of which is organically farmed. His wines are amazingly smooth, deep, and elegant.

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