We sent 12 wines to wine expert Tamlyn Currin, who tasted them with us online. We have selected some of the resulting reviews, which can help retailers to inform and learn from professional feedback.
Fekete Járdovány 2021
Aromas of roses and raspberries lift the curtain on this deep but cellophane-clear ruby-red wine. It tastes of mountain-stream-cool graphite, deep-green laurel leaves, raspberries bathed in balsamic reduction, cedar-bark dust and a scribble of ink. The tannins start broad and a little reluctant, but open bit by bit in the glass and become even more supple with food. It’s an extraordinarily elegant yet emphatic, multi-faceted wine – a variety that seems to carry the earthbound acidity of Sangiovese, the ethereal spices of Nebbiolo, the mountain-mine minerality of Blaufränkisch, the herbal sinews of Cabernet Franc and the translucency of Pinot Noir. But it is, essentially, itself. Like nothing else. It will be wonderful if Gere are able to increase their plantings of this intriguing variety. It may age for longer than I have suggested.
When to drink: 2023-2028
A spicy, compote and plum-pie nose speaking of the warmth of the most southern of Hungary’s wine regions. Rich aroma of mocha coffee on the nose. Damsons and creamy mocha on the palate with a bite of juniper. Throat-warming, dramatic, curvaceous, full-bodied Kék clad in the most velvety of tannins. A true expression of its place.
When to drink: 2023-2031
Villányi Franc Csillagvölgy 2018
Tasting this alongside of the Ördögárok Dűlő Villányi Franc 2018, it was striking how very different these two wines are, from vineyards not more than 800 m apart as the crow flies, despite being made the same way. The Csillagvölgy smells spicier, and at first the fruit is cooler and holds back a little – restrained rather than shy. But as the wine warms in the glass, it widens, builds, deepens, like a cello solo soaring in a concert hall. There is density, richness and concentration of black spices, figs, raisins steeped in oolong tea. Yet this is not a hefty wine – despite its weight and concentration, the tannins are exquisitely balanced, polished to a sheen, holding everything together by a fingertip. Stunningly elegant.
When to drink: 2023-2035
Villányi Franc Ördögárok 2018
Much more fruit on the nose than the Csillagvölgy single-vineyard 2018 Cabernet Franc tasted alongside. Bursting with fruit, in fact! Plush and generous. This wine has a warm-hearted embrace and the sweet-baking spices are tucked deep into its many red-velvet folds. But despite the ripeness of the fruit, it’s the savoury layers that really define the wine and give it length and dimension. Dried orange peel, dried damsons, deep orange-scented acidity and a cheeky little hit of smoked dried chipotle. I’d love to try this with slow-smoked coffee-rub beef short ribs! It’s begging for intensely flavoured foods.
When to drink: 2023-2035
Although this blend is now dominated by Cabernet Franc, the first impression is cassis, as if the Cabernet Sauvignon is the leading component. It’s dense, compact, inky and dark. It’s dramatic and smoky and smouldering with a long mint-and-minerals hewn-from-rocks spine and grittiness that builds a defiant freshness into the wine. The tannins are broad, muscular, warrior-like but when you move toward them, with the fruit leading the way, they bend – just enough to allow you safe passage. The finish is mineral-rich with iron filings and ink dust. My advice would be to put this wine away for another 10 years, but if you must open it before then, decant for at least four hours.
When to drink: 2027-2039
Big and dark, smoky plums. Salty, like charcuterie; sticky black, like ripe figs dropped and dried on tarmac roads and hot stone walls. Bitter, coffee-bean darkness and rugged tannins. There is, however, freshness in the breath of wild mint that runs through the sinews of the tannins, lifting the wine from brooding concentration to something more penetrable. Very powerful. I’d cellar this for a few more years to drink it at its peak, but if you’re opening it now, decant for several hours.
When to drink: 2026-2036
Villányi Franc 2013
It’s really interesting to taste this 2013 at the same time as the two Gere single-vineyard Villányi Francs from the 2018 vintage. The 2013 has a deeper oak imprint (tobacco leaf, tea leaf, coffee grounds) and tastes more of the winemaking than the vineyard. But at the same time, it carries this wonderful depth and purity of fruit – preserved cherry, redcurrant jam. It seems to me that it is pretty much impossible to suppress the largesse and lavish expression of Gere’s Villányi vineyard fruit, no matter how old the wine, no matter how the wine is made. The fruit will find its way out.
When to drink: 2018-2029
Savoury on the nose and on the palate and still very much within the corset of oak. Interestingly, it tastes a lot more oaky than the 2019. But there is still a panoply of fruit, on the dried-fruit spectrum. Dried cherries and cranberries, prunes, Christmas-cake spices. Remarkably vigorous – this has evolved gracefully and easily has a decade ahead of it.
When to drink: 2023-2028
This wine has emerged from 10 years of ageing with remarkable purity, sweetness and freshness of fruit. Glowing with vitality. Almost like fresh pomegranate juice! The tannins have mellowed but still weave strong threads through the fruit – a little bit astringent, but the fruit is so juicy that the astringency is welcome. Throat-warming spices fill the spaces and linger, liquorice, nutmeg, clove, long into the finish. A glossy beauty.
When to drink: 2023-2036