Like her compatriot Samuel Tinon, Stéphanie Berecz is a French eonologist who initialy came to Hungary to work at the Disznoko estate, a property owned by the French insurance company AXA. In 2002, she and her husband Zsolt founded Kikelet Pince in Tarcal near the town of Tokaj, a village where Zsolt's family has been living for over two hundred years. Regarding the winery's name, the story is that Stéphanie didn't want a name containing any of the "funny" Hungarian letters like ű, ü, ö, ő. So they chose Kikelet, which means springtime in Hungarian. Year after year, they gradually acquired different lots around Tarcal (Lónyai, Vati, Farkas, Lestas, Kassai) and today, they farm 5 hectares of south/south-west facing vineyards planted half with Furmint, half with Hárslevelű.
The soil in Tarcal is volcanic covered with a layer of loess. While aszú wines from Tarcal's loess terroir get the right amount of moisture and are known to be particularly elegant, nobody before them had tried to make dry wines in Tarcal. But with limited yield and carefully selected grapes, Stéphanie and Zsolt have shown that they could produce dry Furmint and Hárslevelű that are elegant, balanced, and full-bodied.
The Berecz family house has a two centuries old cellar partially carved into the rock where the wines ferment and mature in oak casks. The winery produces around 11,000 bottles annually, including dry and semi-dry Furmint and Hárslevelű, some from single vineyards or , late harvest wines, Szamorodni, and hand-picked aszú wines. The grapes are whole cluster pressed. Fermentation occurs with native yeast without going through the secondary malolactic fermentation. The must is then racked and put into French and Hungarian oak barrels. Aging is on the lees. Most of the barrels are about 4 to 10 years old with a few new Hungarian for the Furmint. The Hárslevelű has no new oak to preserve the fruity flavors of the grape without being overwhelmed by oak. In 2014, Stéphanie has been awarded by her fellow winemakers the prestigious title of „winemaker of the winemakers”.
This is a brand new project for Stéphanie. Over time she’s come to believe that the best way to capture the “Kikelet,” meaning “spring,” is to blend Furmint, Hárslevelű, and Kövérszőlő when possible. Her style is already more or less based on short macerations, no crushing, and not racking until bottling. This 2016 was fermented in barrel, aged 5 months, and then kept fresh under screw cap. This “Origo” is a pure look at the origin of what she loves about her terroir and the kind of acid and soil driven wines she loves. Straight on the palate with an elegant structure, this wine is built on the refreshing, taut acidity of the vintage; it feels almost bone dry. Citrus, lime and pomelo take the lead, complemented by a slight mintiness, along with some green apple and peach.
APPELLATION: Tokaj (Tokeye)
GRAPE COMPOSITION: 70% Hárslevelű, 15% Furmint, 15% Kövérszőlő
CLIMATE: Continental (hot summers & cold winters)
SOILS: Loess and altered volcanic rock
MACERATION & AGING: Fermentation in ten-year-old barrels, with natural wild yeast. Aged on lees in barrels for 5 months
RESIDUAL SUGAR: 4.5 g/l
ACIDITY: 7.8 g/l