The wines of Tokaj are the product of over 1200 years of melting together different cultures, religions, and ethnicities over a truly unique combination of geology and climate. In a way, József and Judit Bodó, both originally from Csallóköz, an ethnic Hungarian region in Slovakia are perpetuating this tradition of cultural exchange. Following her love for wine Judit went to work for a producer in South Tirol who later hired her onto a project in Tokaj managing the affairs of a small artisan winery: Füleky. Heeding the dream of his wife to have their own winery in Tokaj, József took on the labor of actually looking for vineyards. Upon discovering Csontos, Judit said, “he could not sleep at night.” After the birth of their son, they focused solely on their own family winery with József in the vineyards and Judit in the cellar. In 2005 they bottled wine from just 1 ha, the first vintage of “Bott,” an homage to Judit’s maiden name. Today the couple tends about 5 ha spread among various sites mostly near the village of Erdőbénye. Wines are made exclusively from indigenous varieties. According to Judit, “When we succeed it brings joy to others that is generously given back to us. Since wine forms the quality of our lives, we like living this way.” There is a maternal touch to the wines she makes, to compare them to children, they are as disciplined as they are loved. Despite making very little wine, Judit and József have made Bott one of Tokaj’s most respected new producers, not just in Tokaj, but all of Hungary.
Teleki is located near the top of Tokaj Hill’s Southern slope. Planted around 70 years ago and cultivated by hand, their plot only totals around 0.5 hectares. 80% is Furmint and the rest is Hárslevelű. The dominant soil is loess, but this surface layer has been heavily eroded, so roots must dig their way into volcanic tuffa in order to survive. Another key attribute is the low occurrence of Botytis due to more wind at the more exposed higher elevation. Coupled with naturally high acidity and the lower yielding older vines, quality is ensured even in particularly difficult vintages.
As is common among some of the best vignerons in Tokaj, Judit and her family personally harvest the fruit ensuring the strictest of sorting. The newly built winery is still small and the equipment consists of relics like an antique wooden press and a medieval looking bladder press from the 60’s. Despite looking less than ideal Judit contends that this equipment forces her to be especially attentive, which ultimately benefits her wines. Wines are fermented slowly in mostly used 220 liter oak barrels with native yeast over a period of 6-8 weeks.
This protracted fermentation enhances the elegance and texture of Bott wines. Wines remain in barrel between 7-10 months depending on the vineyard and vintage and are topped regularly. Depending on the vintage and character of a particular vineyard, wines may have residual sugar as Judit lets every barrel finish fermentation without intervention.
Furmint has the triple threat of balancing incredibly high acidity, the weight of residual sugar, and being highly susceptible to Botrytis. The mixture of clay and volcanic soils also imparts a chalk-like texture coupled with dried fruit, honey, spice and a mineral backbone. Fermented slowly with native yeasts at uncontrolled temperatures, it’s remarkable how true to place it remains. Judit and Jószef prepared roasted goat on our last visit and the Csontos came alive when paired with the strong gamey flavors of the meat and the sweetness of the caramelized vegetables.
APPELLATION: Tokaj ((Toke-Eye))
GRAPE COMPOSITION: %100 Furmint
CLIMATE: Cool Continental
SOILS: red clay (nyirok) and obsidian
MACERATION & AGING: 220L Hungarian Oak
RESIDUAL SUGAR: 4.2 g/l
ACIDITY: 5.1 g/l