Kiralyudvar Pezsgo Henye Sparkling 2009
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Just a few months after his visit, Tony purchased this estate, which for centuries had supplied Imperial wine to the Hapsburgs. The famed Tokaj winemaker Ivan Szepsy became Tony's partner, helping him rehabilitate the vineyards, while the chateau itself was rebuilt.
With time, Szepsy departed, and Tony assumed the reins full-time. Along the way, he was counseled by Noël Pinguet of the Loire Valley's greatest Vouvray producer, Domaine Huët, of which Tony is also a partner. Noël's collaboration would prove invaluable, particularly his advice to convert the estate to biodynamic viticulture.
Today, Tony is rekindling the legacy of this providential wine region. But he's not stopping there, having recognized, that Tokaj's historic grape varieties, with their viscous intensity and bright acidity, could produce world-class dry, demi-sec, and sparkling wines.
Best known for lusciously sweet dessert wines but also home to distinctive dry whites and reds, Hungary is an exciting country at the crossroads of tradition and innovation. Mostly flat with a continental climate, Hungary is almost perfectly bisected by the Danube River (known here as the Duna), and contains central Europe’s largest lake, Balaton. Soil types vary throughout the country but some of the best vines, particularly in Tokaj, are planted on mineral-rich, volcanic soil.
Tokaj, Hungary’s most famous wine region, is home to the venerated botrytized sweet wine, Tokaji, produced from a blend of Furmint and Hárslevelű. Dry and semi-dry wines are also made in Tokaj, using the same varieties. Other native white varieties include the relatively aromatic and floral, Irsai Olivér, Cserszegi Fűszeres and Királyleányka, as well as the distinctively smoky and savory, Juhfark. Common red varieties include velvety, Pinot Noir-like Kadarka and juicy, easy-drinking Kékfrankos (known elsewhere as Blaufränkisch).
A term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.