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

Losonci, Mátra, Hungary

Winery map

At a Glance

Andesite, red clay, and chalk
Volcanic hills
Kékfrankos, Magyarfrankos, Pinot Noir, Furmint, Turan, Rhine Riesling, Szürkebarát, Hárslevelű, and Chasselas
8 hectares
Tasting at Losonci
Tasting with Bálint Losonci

The People

Bálint Losonci entered the wine business as a writer for the wine magazine Borbarát under László Alkonyi. He was exposed to a whole world of Hungarian wines in the late 1990s that was just waking up after Communism. He then apprenticed under Gábor Karner (whom he found via Borbarát), and joined a few other liked minded small producers who believed in the future potential of the Mátra appellation.
Hungary’s Mátra appellation is quietly the second largest in the country (7500+ hectares), but has been dominated by just a few larger industrial players – perhaps a bit of a Soviet cooperative era hangover. The typical vine density is designed for large tractors and there’s a disturbing amount of Müller-Thurgau and Chasselas geared more for table grape yields than wine. He and others greatly increased vine density, planted native grapes, moved to organic farming, and drastically reduced yields. In the cellar, the main tenants are native fermentation and no other additions other than SO2. Given the wines typical of the area, all of this was somewhat unheard of on a commercial level. He continues to experiment and push himself, but what remains constant is his unwavering community oriented mindset and desire to put Mátra back on the wine map. His vineyards and wines reflect this drive, ambition and generosity.

Andesit and iron
Andesite and iron soils at Losonci


Roughly 8 hectares are spread across the villages of Gyöngyöspata, Gyöngyöstarján and Nagyréde (single vineyards include Gereg, Tamás-hegy, Sárosberek, Peres, Virág-domb, Oroszi, and Lógi). The first thing Bálint did was plant in between the existing rows (pre Communist era vine density), retrained the vines to drop yield to maximum 1 kilo per plant, and transitioned to organic farming. Focusing on Kékfrankos, Magyarfrankos (cross between Muscat Bouschet and Kékfrankos), Pinot Noir, Furmint, Turan, Rhine Riesling, Szürkebarát, and Hárslevelű, he also grows a little Chasselas for good measure. Our current wines are mostly from the Gerag vineyard where he often doesn’t spray anything of any kind all year. It’s the right exposure and is protected from harsh weather on all sides with the tallest mountains in the country. The Gerag is also defined by andesite (volcanic), tons of iron/red clay, and chalk about 40cm beneath. Many underground springs give life to the hillside as well. He’s also planting pre phylloxera grapes like Purcsin and Tihany Kék among other international grapes geared towards tackling impending climate change.

Bálint Losonci
Breakfast up on the Gerag vineyard with Bálint Losonci


Most wines are open vat fermented with native yeast before being pressed off into oak for aging. Most of the whites see extended skin contact whereas the reds are often less so. The PH is naturally very low (total acids usually between 7-8 g/l post malolactic), so acidity is not an issue and the wines are very stable. The only addition is SO2 at bottling and wines are bottled unfiltered.
LosonciKékfrankos 2018
Red Wine
1.2 g/l
6.1 g/l
The Gereg Vineyard has been ground zero for the new Mátra generation of winemakers. Where the “NR” is without oak, this one embraces a balance between oak and fruit. Incredible weight, density and texture. This is one of those rare zero-zero ripe and spicy reds that actually hits its stride on day two, three and beyond.

LosonciKékfrankos NR 2019
Red Wine
1 g/l
6.7 g/l
AKA Nagyréde Kékfrankos. This is a zero oaked Kékfrankos and similar to Roger, pushes the boundaries on ripeness without losing that good old fashioned “I can drink a bottle of this-ness.” This vineyard area was once the heart of COOP mass production. This wine is an about-face to that era.

LosonciKirályleányka 2018
White Wine
1.1 g/l
6.9 g/l
This wine is a mix of extremes. The vineyard received zero spraying of any kind in 2018. Bálint then picked at peak ripeness, macerated for 60 days and then left it on the lees in barrel for 5 years without racking. Bottled unfiltered with zero additions. 400 bottles produced. At first glance, it looks like a Georgian Qvevri wine from Kakheti. Burnt orange despite the smiling squirrel on the label. But let’s consider this grape. Királylányka is a crossing between Leányka with Kövérszőlő. Kövérszőlő is perhaps better known as Grasăde Cotnari in Romania and is responsible for the botyritized sweet wines in said country. Leányka brings acidity and aromatics and is often used as a blending agent in sparkling wines. Királylányka is also often, and incorrectly, assumed to be the same grape as Fetească Regală because both essentially mean “little princess.” Long story short, this wine smells like caramelised botrytis, but the acidity and grip are in such balance that the whole thing holds together. It’s an absolute trip, and due to its incredibly small production, we hope you get to try it.

LosonciNyitnikék 2020
Red Wine
Kékfrankos; Magyarfrankos;
This is the bottle where I first had to ask what the aforementioned “Földrajzi Jelzes Nélküli” means many years ago. There is also the inevitable Portlandia inspired “put a bird on it” impulse, but after that this is one of the great values in the portfolio. Relatively short maceration, tank fermented and ready out the gate, this is quintessential red Hungarian table wine in the best possible sense. It’s immediately bright, aromatic, and has what I find in many Hungarian Kékfrankos, a spicy bitterness that’s still ripe.

LosonciPinot Gris 2020
White Wine , Organic
Pinot Gris;
This walks a fine line between Siller/dark Rosé and a light skin contact despite three weeks of maceration in open vats. Light on punchdowns and fermented in tank, the farming allows a long maturation that yields a color that suggests something far more intense than what it is. It’s got some grip to be sure, but not overly drying, it carries the acidity well, and like all of the Losonci wines, there’s never a sense of picking too early in order to hit the natural wine high water mark for SO2. Holds up super well over many days, it’s a great BTG option in the crowded skin contact market.

LosonciPinot Noir 2019
Red Wine
Pinot Noir;
One of only two in the whole portfolio, the Capitalist in me was unable to turn my back on an organically farmed Pinot Noir for around $20 retail that I could easily drink a whole bottle of and still feel good about myself. The Mátra is blessed with high levels of Magnesium and lime while being low in Potassium in the soil. Even in hot years, most wines only reach 3.1/3.2 pH at harvest. Along with low disease pressure and healthy immunity in the vineyard, this wine is both spot on “I’m taking my exam” blindable Pinot Noir, but doesn’t fall victim to being flabby, over extracted, or reliant on residual sugar to reach that end.

LosonciPinot Noir 2020
Red Wine
Pinot Noir;
0.8 g/l
6 g/l
This remains one of the screaming deals in the whole portfolio. Pinot Noir is something we almost never seek out, but vintage after vintage of this wine has proven a consistent exception. This a perfect window into the volcanic, high potassium balanced by magnesium rich soils of the Mátra. Please blind someone on this:).

LosonciRoger 2020
White Wine
Grüner Veltliner;
1.3 g/l
6.1 g/l
Cat label, an homage to Roger Federer, and mostly Zöldveltlini (aka Grüner V.) with a splash of Királyleányka and Hárslevelű. Picked nearly late harvest followed by 5+ weeks on the skins, there’s tons of depth without being oxidative or dropping acidity. This avoids generic orange like very few wines can.

LosonciRoger 2022
White Wine
Grüner Veltliner; Királyleányka; Grüner Veltliner;
1.1 g/l
5.7 g/l
The grapes in Roger are constantly moving around. Back in 2019 it was Müller-Thurgau and Chasselas, 2020 was mostly Zöldveltlini (aka Grüner), and now with 2022, we find ourselves with more or less equal parts Királylányka and Zöldveltlini with a splash of Hárslevelű. Part of the reason is that animals ate the Chasselas, and another part is that Roger has become its own thing. Its signature is that it’s pushed to extreme ripeness, it then gets 6 weeks of co-fermented maceration, and then it’s aged until bone dry. The color is deep and brooding, the flavors are ripe and the fruit is bruised and late season, but then it’s only 12.5% with refreshing acidity. Bottled unfiltered with zero additions, it thankfully benefits from being open and will only get better with bottle age.

LosonciSkin-Contact Olaszrizling 2018
White Wine
This comes from an extremely cool, windy and rocky (a former geyser), andesite riddled 50-year old vineyard that’s super poor in nitrogen but rich in minerals. It's been completely unsprayed since 2014. The Mátra is dominated by Kékestető, Hungary’s tallest mountain at just 3300 feet. This blocks the coldest most damaging weather and creates near constant wind. Coupled with great water management in the soil, the disease pressure is remarkably low here. After 5 weeks of maceration and barreled down to Hungary oak it’s only 12% alcohol, dry, and while super layered and rich, the aromas aren’t drowned out by oxidative notes. This is not generic orange wine and can be open for easily over a week with no issues.