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.
 
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 2019
Red Wine , Organic
Kékfrankos;
12.8%
2.1 g/l
5.8 g/l
Peter’s Kékfrankos ripens late and is often picked in late October and into November. Part of this is the way he farms and other is finding the cooler locations. The fruit is destemmed, open vat fermented, and then gets about 3 weeks maceration before being barreled down to used Hungarian Oak. It’s then bottled unfined and unfiltered. Despite the late pick, acidity is by no means compromised and the wine is impossibly bright even when carrying a few grams of residual sugar and just over 12% alcohol.

WetzerKékfrankos Blumenthal 2019
Red Wine , Organic
Kékfrankos;
13%
1.6 g/l
6.4 g/l
Blumenthal is a 50+ year-old single vineyard that yields much smaller berries and is planted in deep gravel and silt soils. Much like the estate Kékfrankos, harvest is much later than the acidity would indicate – often finishing picking in early November. The ratio of more skins to juice and a longer growth season gives more tannins than of his other reds but is backed up by more acidity as well. The 2019 was open vat fermented with around 20% whole cluster and 3 weeks total maceration before being barreled down to Hungarian neutral oak for 12 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with a small addition of SO2, this one needs some air and loves as much bottle age as it can get.

WetzerPinot Noir 2019
Red Wine , Organic
Pinot Noir;
13%
1.2 g/l
6 g/l
Despite my efforts to avoid Pinot Noir, this one was unavoidable. The continental climate, soil, and winemaking all lend themselves to the grape. The genetic distance to Kékfrankos isn’t that far either, although Pinot ripens earlier with thinner skins. This is a blend pulling from two clones from two distinct vineyards: Kogl (Schist) and Kräftner (Limestone). The winemaking is geared towards softer extraction with open vat fermentation, 30% whole cluster, two weeks of maceration, and then followed by 12 months in barrel. Like all of Péter’s wines, all fermentations are spontaneous, no additions other than a little SO2 at bottling, and zero fining or filtering.

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.

WetzerTokaji Furmint 2018
White Wine , Organic
Furmint;
13.7%
2 g/l
5.9 g/l
The Tokaji Furmint is somewhere in between Somló and Ság in terms of acidity and sugar. And while the Ság and Somló soils are riddled with basalt, Tokaj is instead more defined by rhyolite tuff and the influence of the Bodrog river. The fruit is sourced from the Palandor, Fehérkút, Úrágya and Danczka single vineyards. It was picked with a little more botrytis than 2017. 2018 was also a relatively ripe vintage compared to 2019 and the extra bottle aging has only made everything better. 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.”