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

Wetzer, Sopron, Hungary

“I want to make special wines that have personality and identity, delicate wines with character influenced by their origin and heritage, made with traditional grape varieties which translate the sense of place.” — Peter Wetzer

Winery map

At a Glance

http://wetzer-bor.com/
Sopron
Sub-Alpine
Clay, red gravel, limestone, and loess
250m
Near the Austrian border, on the foothills of the Alps
Kékfrankos, Furmint
2.5 hectares
Organic
Natural



Peter Wetzer
Peter Wetzer

The Appellation

Sopron was once the capital of Burgenland, itself a part of Hungary until 1921. Nowadays the border is incredibly permeable and many Hungarians commute to Austria for work and in turn Austrians come for cheap dental care. Similar to other Hungarian wine regions, Szekszárd most notably, Swabian settlers also had a great influence in Sopron. These early settlers were known as “Poncichter” (Bohnenzüchter in German) because they planted beans as cover crops using the grape canopy to shade them. Since beans weren’t taxed, this enabled them to feed themselves while waiting for finished wine.

old maps

The dominating geographical influence of the region is Lake Fertő (aka Neusiedlersee) which provides protection from extreme weather while also encouraging botrytis in select exposures. Sopron produces a wonderful combination of red and dessert wines. In fact, prior to Phylloxera, the region was predominately white wine (Furmint mostly) which is also slowly coming back to life. Speaking of coming back to life, Peter Wetzer openly acknowledges that people in Sopron were originally working the vineyards like they do in Burgundy. Small plots over generations and generations. People used to know how to react to vintages, how best to farm each special place, when to pick and so on. According to Peter, ”That has been lost here and now we need to get it back.” “I’m trying to continue the past.”


In the cellar

The People

Peter is the 5th generation living in his house with a 120+ year old attached cellar. He came up in the wine industry working in both Eisenstadt and Vienna and has been a ceaseless student of the world of wine inside and outside of Sopron. His biggest lesson learned are wines of industry versus wines of nature. Fortunately he’s chosen the latter. His wines are both raw and elegant.


Vineyard
The vineyards, credit Terra Hungarica

Vineyards

Peter purchased 2.5 hectares spread over 5 different terroirs in 2007. It was a long hunt for healthy soils that hadn’t been party to the industrial farming that was commonplace during Communism. He found sites that were alive with flora and fauna, healthy cover crops and with exposures that only require 1-2 sparys of Sulfur per growing season. Everthing is done by hand with zero tilling and trimming. All sites are picked and fermented separately. His Kékfrankos comes from the Kohlenberg and Harmler vineyards. The soil is a mixture of clay, red gravel, limestone, and loess. Vine age ranged from 25-60 years old.


In the cellar

Winemaking

In concert with Peter’s work in the vineyards, little to no intervention is the dogma without being dogmatic overall. The 120+ year old cellar is ripe with plenty of microbiological flora and the grapes arrive with extremely healthy yeast populations. All wines are therefore fermented with native yeasts with no other additives. Fermentations take place in open topped containers before being barreled down into used Hungarian oak barrels. The Kékfrankos spent 18 months on the lees without bâtonnage. The 2013 was neither fined nor filtered and bottled by gravity. Total SO2 around 21 mg/l.
 
WetzerFurmint 2018
White Wine , Organic
Furmint;
13.7%
2 g/l
5.9 g/l
While the vast majority of Peter Wetzer's production is Kékfrankos, he also dabbles in both Somló and Tokaj. We are lucky enough to offer a very limited amount of his Furmint from the Kis-Hegy vineyard in the village of Mád, Tokaj. This is a very iron rich volcanic site yielding a textured, raw, and alive Furmint. 2018 was a relatively ripe vintage and according to Peter, “a bit more power but elegant, smoky fruit, and Tokaj minerality. I like it a lot drink it every day a sip.”

WetzerKékfrankos 2018
Red Wine , Organic
Kékfrankos;
13%
4.1 g/l
6.2 g/l
Peter’s Kékfrankos ripens late and is often picked in late October and into November. Acidity is by no means compromised and this wine is impossibly bright and put together thanks to over a year on the lees. While perfumed, tart, and earthy like other serious Kékfrankos/Blaufränkisch can be, there is a remarkable texture to this wine. This is the kind of Hungarian red we’d pour for someone looking for an old world Pinot Noir in terms of weight, acid and structure while certainly being open to the spicier and tarter fruit flavors unique to Hungary. Destemmed, open vat fermentation, and about 3 weeks maceration before being barreled down to Hungarian Oak.

WetzerKékfrankos Rosé 2019
Rose Wine , Organic
Kékfrankos; Pinot Noir;
13%
1 g/l
5.9 g/l
The wine loosely translates to a “fool’s day,” because this was originally a wine Péter made for himself. Something to end a long day with that’s both refreshing and alive, but also has enough stuffing to take the edge off. As he puts it, this is “Kadarka style” in that the shorter maceration and tank fermentation gives it less color and extraction. He’s not calling it a “Siller,” but that’s how it drinks. This vintage is mostly Kékfrankos with just a splash of Pinot Noir. He usually only makes a few hundred bottles of this, so inventory is limited.

WetzerKékfrankos Silberberg 2018
Red Wine , Organic
Kékfrankos;
12.5%
2.1 g/l
5.9 g/l
This is rare bottling from Peter. Normally only a couple of barrels produced a year. The Silberberg (silver mountain) is special for a variety of reasons. Heavy with schist and quartz, it’s also about 2 wine growing hills away from Lake Fertő (Lake Neusiedl) making it his coolest site. And even though it’s often the very last pick of the year, it has the least amount of sugar. It’s not easy to farm and most of the vines are over 50 years old with small yields. Winemaking is basically the same as the estate Kékfrankos (open vat, 3 weeks skin, all barrel), but the Silberberg has less alcohol, less tannins, is really aromatic, and more mineral than spice.

WetzerSág 2019
White Wine , Organic
Olaszrizling; Furmint; Traminer; Hárslevelű;
12.75%
1.6 g/l
4.2 g/l
Ság is a small extinct volcano about 30 minutes northwest of Somló. Péter’s building a small press house here and is lucky to have acquired a 100+ year-old Gemischter Satz vineyard that's Olaszrizling heavy, but also has some Furmint, Traminer, and Hárslevelű. Fermented in open vats with a mixture of whole cluster and whole cluster pressed juice, about half gets some extra maceration on the skins before being barreled down to used oak for a year. Bottled unfined and unfiltered, this is the most textured of his whites and carries a heavy volcanic signature.

WetzerSomló Furmint 2019
White Wine , Organic
Furmint;
13.4%
0.9 g/l
7.7 g/l
This is a vineyard near Szt. Márton-Kápolna (Saint Martin’s Chapel) on the Eastern side of Somló. It’s north of Fekete Béla, Apátsági and Kolonics and generally cooler than any other site we work with on the extinct volcano. Very little to no botrytis and not nearly as exposed as the southwestern side of the appellation. Grapes are foot tread and then basket pressed into 500L used oak for about 8 months. The combination of the cooler site and gentle pressing yield a refreshing side of Somló. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with a touch of SO2 at bottling.