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

réka.koncz, Barabás, Hungary

“Like a fingerprint, every site is unique.” — Annamária Réka Koncz

Winery map

At a Glance

https://www.reka-koncz.com
Barabás
Continental
rhyolite, andesite, dacite and tuffs
Volcanic hills and mountains
Királyleányka, Furmint, Rhine Riesling, Yellow Muscat and Hárslevelű.
3 hectares
Organic and regenerative.
Natural

Annamária Réka Koncz
Annamária Réka Koncz

The People

This is one of those series of connections and leaps of faith that make the wine world worth it. I had seen these wines popping up here and there in Copenhagen and then a contact I have in Hungary said he visited and was blown away. I sent the typical info@ email and as it turns out, Annamária was heading to California with her husband Sven in a few short months. Catherine and I ended up taking them around to meet and taste with Evan at Ruth Lewandowski, Tracey at Donkey and Goat, Ryan and Megan at Rhyme, and Duncan and Nathan at Arnot-Roberts. It was surreal to host a winemaker in CA with no real idea about their wines but instead just who they are.

Annamaria and Sven in Californoa
Annamária and Sven having lunch at the Dry Creek General Store

Annamária is both soft spoken and careful with her words, a nice counterpoint to the headstrong and risk heavy nature of her viticulture and winemaking. She had her academic start with a degree in Horticultural Engineering in Deberecen (Hungary) and then a Masters in Agriculture (microbiology/yeast evaluation) in Copenhagen, Denmark. After a series of internships (Slovenia, Italy, France) and living in the natural wine centric community in Copenhagen, she realized she had something really special right where she grew up.

Annamaria harvest
Annamária during Harvest -- Photo credit Tilo Wiedensohler

Her hometown is called Vásárosnamény near the Ukrainian border in eastern Hungary. She came back to purchase 3 hectares of old vines about 20 minutes northeast near the village of Barabás. Since her first release in 2016, she is the only commercial (and certainly exported) producer in a once highly regarded but currently forgotten region. Technically a part of the Bükk region, the climate and soils are more akin to nearby Tokaj which is about a 1.5 hours drive due west.

Vineyard
In the vineyard

Vineyards

In 2019 we decided to make the drive over from Tokaj. It was surreal to walk up a long dirt road with thick forests on both sides, but also see stakes and dilapidated old vines growing in the thick woods as well – completely consumed after decades of neglect. After passing a derelict press house, we finally made it up to her parcels. 40-100 year old vines of Királyleányka, Hárslevelű, Sárga Muskotály (yellow muscat), Rajnai Rizling (Rhine Riesling) and Furmint. Many with 6-10 foot arms sprawling out with multiple birds nests burrowed in. The place is buzzing with birds, bugs, and even some openings to badger dens. As you walk around you eventually end up at an obelisk with the colors of the Hungarian flag. This is the border with Ukraine and within eyesight, you can also see occupied guard towers on the next few hills over. The biological and geopolitical diversity here is palpable.

Old vine
Old vine

The soil here is intensely volcanic. Vitreous rhyolite lava, perlite (similar to Tarcal in Tokaj), and plagioclase rhyolite (high in silicate) form most of the layers. Closer to the surface it’s dominated by loamy loess. The wines are not lacking in aromatics or acidity and are perfect for handling both sparkling production as well as mild to more intense skin maceration.


Cellar
Plastic fermenters in the cellar

Winemaking

As for winemaking, she has a wooden basket press and mostly larger 1000L top plastic fermenters and a few pristine used barrels she purchased from Tokaji Hétszőlő. Grapes are usually destemmed, foot crushing is standard, and punchdowns are the main techniques. Wines are typically fermented and aged in plastic until bottling.
foot crushing
Foot crushing happened
 
réka.koncz(In) Return 2018
White Wine
Királyleányka; Riesling;
12%
1.6 g/l
6.3 g/l
This is in the same winemaking vein as The Wizard, but focusing solely on Királyleányka and Rhine Riesling. Grapes were gently crushed to release some juice, but mostly whole bunches are left to soak. After 1 day of skin contact the rest was food trodden and fermented in 1000L plastic tank. No wood, no fining or filtration. The Királyleányka dominates the blend and there’s more lees time than The Wizard. There’s a ton of spice on all levels, quietly but persistent aromatics, and tons of energy.

réka.konczÓra 2018
White Wine
Királyleányka; Riesling; Hárslevelű; Furmint;
12%
2 g/l
6.3 g/l
This is Annamária’s most macerated wine. A field blend of destemmed Királyleányka, Rhine Riesling, Hárslevelű and Furmint macerated for 5 days in open vats. The fermentation and aging are both in tank and bottled unfined and unfiltered. Deeply structured and full of life. The fruit comes from what she calls the “long vineyard,” in that it’s only a few narrow rows and the wine is equally long and focused.

réka.konczEastern Accents 2018
White Wine
Hárslevelű; Királyleányka;
11.5%
0.7 g/l
6 g/l
An admitted ode to Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents,” this is another collaboration with some organically sourced Hárslevelű from the Mátra appellation – hence the multiple “accents” from two appellations in the East. The blend is 70% of the Mátrai Hárslevelű with 5 days of skin contact along with her own Királyleányka from Barabás with 2 weeks semi-carbonic maceration. The sum is punched down a few times a day for 2 weeks keeping as many of the grapes intact as possible. Tons of fruit, aromatics and acidity. Has a wild edge but coaxed into balance and simply lovely to drink.

réka.konczPretty Cold 2018
Sparkling Wine
Királyleányka; Riesling; Hárslevelű; Furmint;
11.6%
0.5 g/l
5.4 g/l
This is a Méthode Ancestrale (Pét-nat) made with a Királyleánka heavy field blend along with Rhine Riesling, Hárslevelű and a small amount of Furmint. It’s like the sparkling version of the Óra. Bottled undisgorged, the thicker skins of the older clones and organic farming maintain a somewhat surprising structure along with the brightness and life present in all her wines. Aromatic, intensely mineral, and the added texture mixed with the bubbles make it really delicious. About 800 bottles were produced, so we are lucky to get a few cases.