DANCH & GRANGER SELECTIONS
Importer of Memorable Wines from the New Old World of Eastern and Central Europe
Importer of Memorable Wines from the New Old World of Eastern and Central Europe

Maurer, Szabadka, Serbia

We aspire to be as natural and authentic as possible in the production of grape and wine, and the wines born in this spirit tell a lot about their production site, yet every drop of wine contains our family’s history, and the last 3000 years.” — Oszkár Maurer

Winery map

At a Glance

http://www.maurer.rs/
Szabadka
Mild and temperate
Sand, volcanic and sedimentary rocks
100-140m
Sandy hills and also steep slopes facing the Danube
Mézes Fehér, Bakator, Szerémi Zöld, Riesling, Furmint, Kadarka, Pinot Noir
6.5 hectares
Organic
Natural
Oszkár Maurer
Oszkár Maurer

The people

The Maurer family has been producing wine for four generations. It was during the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in the 19th century that they moved from Salzburg to the southern part of the Kingdom of Hungary. They now farm 16 acres of land, including 6 acres in the Serbian wine region of Szabadka directly south of the Hungarian-Serbian border, and 10 acres in the Fruška Gora mountain district in Syrmia, Serbia, located 40 miles away from Belgrade and bordered by the Danube River to the north.


Vineyard

Vineyards

The vineyards are planted with old local varieties such as Mézes Fehér, Bakator, Szerémi Zöld. In the Szabadka wine region, vines are more than a hundred years old. The oldest Kadarka was planted in 1880 and is one of the oldest in the world. These vines are typically cultivated by horse and man power.

Kadarka
Old Kadarka vine

The other part of the estate is in the historic region of Szerémség (Syrmia). Some ninety million years ago, the Fruška Gora mountain in Syrmia was an island in the Pannonian sea. The slopes of this old formation made up of volcanic and sedimentary rocks have been covered with vineyards, orchards and forests for about 3000 years. Today, this is an almost intact natural environment with an outstandingly rich ecosystem. The climate is sub-mediterranean and continental with a beneficial influence of the nearby Danube. One vineyard planted with Riesling is just 160 feet from the river. Maurer is the only winery producing natural wine in the region but fortunately, there is an increasing number of followers.

The best lots have been replanted with the old native grape varieties such as Szerémi zöld (Syrmia Green), Bakator, Mézes fehér (Honey Whiter), Kövidinka (Ston Siller), Furmint, Riesling, Sárgamuskotály (Muskateller), Kadarka and Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch). The winery also grows international varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.


In the cellar

Winemaking

All fermentations are spontaneous (primary and secondary) without the use of any additives apart from SO2 at bottling for select some wines. Maurer basically has two tiers: Rege and Maurer. The Rege wines have low SO2 (30-50ppm) and are unfiltered (Kövidinka, Corvina, Kadarka). The Maurer line is zero compromise with zero additions of any kind (Kadarka 1880, Kadarka Nagy Krisztus, Bakatororange, Fodor Olaszrizling). His barrel regiment is all used (mostly Hungarian oak) and only racked once to tank for bottling.
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MaurerBakatororange 2018
White Wine , Organic
Bakator;
10.5%
0.68 g/l
4.54 g/l
The bush trained Bakator vines were planted in 1909 in the Szerémség Wine region. When Maurer first started making wine from this site he joked that “I make the best and the worst Bakator” in that no one else was making any post phylloxera. The 2018 spent 7 days on the skins followed by one and half years in Hungarian oak barrel. It’s textured, has fruit and spice, is bone dry, and is under 12% alcohol. Much more tea like than the 2017, it’s an ideal wine for when you want something with skin contact, but don’t want to be bludgeoned with tannins and oxidative flavors.

MaurerCorvina White 2013
White Wine , Organic
Szerémi Zöld; Bakator; Mézes Fehér;
11.2%
0.84 g/l
5.52 g/l
The name Corvina comes from Bibliotheca Corviniana, which was one of the most renowned libraries of the Renaissance world, established by the king Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. The wine os a white blend of Szerémi Zöld, Bakator and Mézes Fehér. Fresh nose, notes of citrus, elegant on the palate, vibrant acidity.

MaurerFodor Olaszrizling 2018
White Wine , Organic
Olaszrizling;
12%
0.5 g/l
5.2 g/l
This 52-year-old and small berry clone bush trained 1 hectare vineyard was Oszkár’s great-grandmother’s dowry. He also remembers his grandfather saying that Olaszrizling needs time with the skins in order to survive. Back then, there were no additions to the wines and Oszkár is keeping with both traditions. 8 days on the skins, all barrel, and no additions. Oszkár is also fond of describing wine as grease and motor oil for the soul even though he prefers only man and horse in the vineyard. This wine encapsulates the farming and the cellar from these older generations.

MaurerFurmint 2018
White Wine , Organic
Furmint;
13.5%
1.18 g/l
5.17 g/l
Sourced from a vineyard at the border between Serbia and Croatia. Destemmed, little to no maceration and then aged for 4 months in 800L Hungarian oak. No botrytis, no residual sugar, and much warmer here than in both Tokaj and Somló. This is a great lens into the region from what Oszkár argues is the birthplace of Furmint. Fruity notes of citrus, stone fruit and apple. Rich intensity on the palate.

MaurerKadarka 2019
Red Wine , Organic
Kadarka;
11.5%
0.74 g/l
5.46 g/l
This is the grape that brought us down into Serbia in the first place. Kadarka was planted on these sandy soils in 1880, 1912 and 1925. The parent grapes are thought to be Papazkarasi originating from the border between Bulgaria and Turkey and Skardarsko which is native to the border area between Albania and Montenegro. Ottoman wars pushed Kadarka up unto Hungary and spread into modern Romania, Slovakia, and Croatia. At one point it made up around 60% of all red plantings in the Hungarian Kingdom but fell to below 1% by the end of Communism due to it not being fit for industrial farming. Oszkár Maurer and handful of other growers like Heimann & Fiai, Bott Frigyes, Sziegl, and others are bringing it back to life and with dozens of pre-phylloxera clones. Maurer’s version is a benchmark for us. Bush trained, very low yields (.5 kg), a hint of botrytis included, destemmed, open vat fermented, and then barreled down to 350 L used Hungarian oak for 12 months. Unfined, unfiltered, and with a small addition of SO2 at bottling.

MaurerKadarka 1880 2018
Red Wine , Organic
Kadarka;
13%
0.52 g/l
5.56 g/l
This is the oldest known vineyard of Kadarka in the world. Planted in Pannonian sand, bush trained, and surrounded by fruit trees, they look like old hands reaching out of quicksand. Only farmed by human and horse. Oszkár also believes that constant selection massale is they key to Kadarka. It needs to be tweaked and worked on like a high performance race car. The clones here are thicker skinned than the rest of his Kadarka, and there’s a little Vadfekete in the vineyard as well (botrytis resistant and dark berry). Fermented with native yeast in open va, barreled down to old Hungarian oak, and bottled unfined and unfiltered. It smells and tastes like fall, has a botrytis affected nose, bone dry, lively acidity, and is truly one of the most unique red wines in our portfolio. Always limited in quantity.

MaurerKadarka Nagy-Krisztus 2017
Red Wine , Organic
Kadarka;
13%
0.51 g/l
6.25 g/l
The Nagy Krisztus, literally “big Christ,” is another face of Kadarka from the Fruška Gora (closer to the Danube, volcanic) versus the 1880 which is planted in sand much more inland. Maurer considers this site a Grand Cru. The thin top soil allows healthy vines to dig into the volcanic bedrock and in turn have higher acidity and ageability. There’s that herbaceous/medicinal quality that hints at the 1880, but the fruit is darker, there’s more structure, and there’s no denying the higher acidity. Oszkár calls the Nagy Krisztus “a free wine,” and served it with goose fact whipped potatoes and roasted duck. One of the highlights from our last trip.

MaurerKövidinka 2018
White Wine , Organic
Kövidinka;
10%
0.5 g/l
4.33 g/l
Planted in 1925 in what looks like pure beach sand, the combination of a super resilient local grape variety and low disease pressure make it one of the best price to quality ratio wines from the area. We’ve heard it described fondly as green apples meets rich mineral spa water, but with 4 days of skin contact, it almost smells like a dead ringer for Spanish cider. With 8 months in 500L barrel, there’s an additional spice and concentration despite being 10% alcohol.

MaurerOrion 2017
White Wine , Organic
Mézes Fehér;
14.3%
1.66 g/l
5.36 g/l
This is a unique look at this grape, in that a natural veil of yeast developed and Maurer ran with it until dryness. This is also darkest and most intense of all the skin contact whites from Oszkár. Mézes Fehér, literally, “honey white” is able to contract a ton of botrytis without dropping acidity. The 2017 harvest had around 20% botrytis infection, the maceration was about 2 weeks, and it took about 1.5 years under the veil to finish fermentation. No blending, no heating/cooling, and no fortification. Tons of dried fruit, caramelized nuts, tea, honey and plenty of acid and tannins to be an absolute goes-with-everything at the table kind of skin contact white. This is a genus of the skin contact world that is unique to this part of the world.