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

rhyolite, andesite, dacite and tuffs
Volcanic hills and mountains
Királyleányka, Furmint, Rhine Riesling, Yellow Muscat and Hárslevelű.
3 hectares
Organic and regenerative.

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.

In the vineyard


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.

Plastic fermenters in the cellar


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.konczÓra 2021
White Wine , Organic
Királyleányka; Riesling; Furmint; Hárslevelű;
0.7 g/l
5.2 g/l
Sourced from 45-50 year old vines revived by Annamária and her parents, 50% of the Királyleányka, Rhine Riesling, Hárslevelű and Furmint were fermented whole cluster in an egg shaped fermenter. The other half was destemmed and macerated for 7 days with punchdowns twice a day. The two parts were blended in July 2022 and bottled in August. Deeply structured, full of life and rustic in the best possible way. The fruit comes from what she calls the “long vineyard,” in that it’s only a few narrow rows that curve up the hill towards the forest.

réka.konczDisorder #12 2021
White Wine , Organic
0.8 g/l
6.9 g/l
This is a first from Réka. The Furmint was sourced from the 30 year old Hintós vineyard in the Tokaji village of Mád. Historically speaking, this has been a 2nd class site since 1798. Loamy topsoil over volcanic rhyolite and clay, it’s just north of Szent Tamás and nearing the very top of the village’s vineyards. Half was destemmed and direct pressed into 400L Clayver amphora. These amphora are fired at nearly twice the temperature of terracotta, allow 1/10 the oxidation of a barrel, are completely neutral and sealed with a heavy glass lid. The other half was macerated for 14 days in an open vat, basket pressed and also put into another 400L Clayver amphora. Blended after fermentation, only 800 liters were produced.

réka.konczDisorder #4 2021
White Wine , Organic
0.7 g/l
5.9 g/l
This is another first from Réka. Grapes are sourced from the 20-30 year old loamy and volcanic rhyolite heavy soils of the Hintós and Danczka vineyards in the Tokaji Village of Mád. Hintós is in the northeastern corner of Mád and Danczka is in the southwest – a cross section of the village. Danczka is named after the Polish port city of Gdańsk (Danzig in German) and was used to get Tokaji wines to Sweden and Russia. Half of the Furmint spent one and half weeks in layers of whole cluster and destemmed and finished fermentation in fiberglass tank. The other half was hand destemmed and fermented in its own juice without any stems. Fermented separately, blended in the summer of 2022 and bottled in August.

réka.konczEastern Accents 2021
White Wine , Organic
Hárslevelű; Sauvignon Blanc;
1.6 g/l
7.4 g/l
In speaking with Annamária about this wine it was her desire to avoid the typical “Orange wine taste” as she put it. A placeless natural orange “yeah, I’ve had this before” kind of taste. Ripe fruit when over macerated can often give off this corn smell that she would like to avoid at all costs as well. This wine gave her a great opportunity to avoid both pitfalls. It’s also an admitted ode to Tom Petty’s “Southern Accents,” and another collaboration with some organically sourced Hárslevelű and Sauvignon Blanc from the Mátra appellation – hence the multiple “accents” from two appellations in the East. The Hárslevelű was destemmed and basket pressed with zero maceration. The whole cluster Sauvignon Blanc spent 1.5 weeks sealed off from oxidation and then basket pressed. Fermented separately in plastic and fiberglass then blended and bottled in July 2022.

réka.konczFreiluftkino 2019
Sparkling Wine , Organic
Királyleányka; Riesling; Hárslevelű; Furmint;
5 g/l
6.5 g/l
The German name for the wine translates to “open air cinema,” but from the DDR era (German Democratic Republic) not to be confused with Dance Dance Revolution. It basically describes the amphitheater vineyard planted to a field blend of Királyleányka, Riesling, Hárslevelű and Furmint. The base wine is from 2019 and the fruit from 2020 is the Liqueur de Tirage. Made in the traditional method, one year on the lees and disgorged once.

réka.konczRobin 2021
Sparkling Wine , Organic
Királyleányka; Furmint; Riesling;
7.3 g/l
7.62 g/l
This is a hand disgorged field blend Pét-nat. Királyleánka is the most dominant followed by Furmint and Rhine Riesling. If you’ve ever tasted the more macerated Óra, this is the sparkling sibling. Destemmed with zero extended maceration, fermentation was in fiberglass. Bottled with 13 grams/L sugar and hand-disgorged it in 2022 September leaving around 7 g/l of RS which is most certainly needed for balance. The thicker skins of the older 50 year old Királyleánka vines also add some texture and structure.