The Southern Hungarian town of Villány has supported highly-organized grape culture since before the Romans. After Ottoman occupation, German settlers were invited to reinvigorate the dwindling population. With them came innovations in grape growing and wine making, and the local Kékoportó (Portugieser) vine. Attila Gere first took interest in Villány wines in 1978 while tasting home-made versions from his father-in-law. Gere became obsessed with the potential of Villány. When the Communist regime was dissolved in the early 90’s, Atilla Gere winery was established. Wine has been a part of Gere family life for at least 7 generations. Atilla’s great-grandmother lived in Villány; her husband was the local cooper. While the Gere production includes benchmark renditions of the local white Olasrizling and red Portugieser, Gere’s heart lies in the exceptional Bordeaux varietal wines and cuvees from top vineyard sites surrounding the mountain of Kopar that have brought international acclaim to Atilla Gere wines and the appellation of Villány.
The warmth of the southerly slopes is enhanced by the hot air from the Mediterranean. However, the soils are rich in geothermic heat-sources and water, which nourishes the vines during the hot, often dry growing season. The appellation can be divided into the districts of Villány proper, and to its west, Siklós. Soils are primarily loess and red clay; along with a ridge of dolomite, and limestone that dramatically defines Villány. Gere farms 50 HA, grape yields are restricted to 1 kilo per plant and new vineyards are planted at high density to encourage plant competition. Gere has always used integrated pest-control and all-natural treatments in the vineyards.
Gere is one of Hungary’s largest premier producers. Still, all fruit is handpicked and hand-sorted again at the winery. Red wines are fermented with wild yeast. Generally, no sulfur is added until after fermentation. Over the years the Gere Winery has grown and modernized but the incorporation of technology has allowed the scale of production to increase without drastically adjusting his wine making principals. The large cellar contains a mélange of oak barrel types, though most are Hungarian, where the premium wines ferment and age under Attila’s sensitive watch.
We don’t often dabble in international varietals but we have been enjoying the Bordeaux based wines from Gere for some time now and jumped at the opportunity to import them. The wine is absolutely classic with typical aromas of cassis, currant and espresso, but what makes it exciting is the “other” - that elusive gamey, almost musky quality that holds your attention. Having tasted Gere cabernets dating back decades, this will undoubtedly age well.
PRODUCER: Gere Attila
APPELLATION: Villány (Veal-yan)
GRAPE COMPOSITION: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
SOILS: Loam and clay with a chalk and limestone base
MACERATION & AGING: Fermented in Steel, malolactic in barrels: 80% 25-50 hl) and 20% in used barriques.
RESIDUAL SUGAR: 1.3 g/l
ACIDITY: 4.8 g/l