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Barta Pince
by
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

 

Barta PinceSummary: Barta Pince (Cellar), located in the Ma’d village of Tokaj, has vineyards on the Old King’s vineyard terraces which centuries ago was known for growing grapes. Today Barta Pince owns the majority of Old King’s vineyards and is focused on using organic methods in the vineyards and the winery.

Károly Barta, the owner of Barta saw the winery as an investment. Károly wanted to be part of the romance and beauty of the region.

The Barta winery and cellar are reached by a short, arch-covered entry. A delightfully landscaped courtyard, including an old well, awaits visitors. Adjacent to the winery is a historic mansion with several bedrooms that are available for rent. The winery also has a guesthouse available for renting.

Barta PinceTour

Our tour of the winemaking facility and cellar was conducted by Gergely Somogyi. Gergely was also our guide for the two and a half days we were in Tokaj. After an introduction to the Tokaj region, Gergely took us on a tour of the winery and cellars. After our wine tasting, Gergely took us to the terraced vineyards.

Vineyards

Barta Pince, located in Ma’d, came about in the 1990s. Barta is located in Hungary’s Ma’d village. Ma’d has 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of vineyards. Barta Pince has approximately 26 hectares in Ma'd. Gergely explained that, "Ten hectares (25 acres) in the Öreg Király-dűlő (vineyard) were fully planted in 2004 and 2005; this provides most of their production today. There are 3.5 hectares (9 acres) of their 17 hectares in the Kővágó-dűlő were planted in 2017, the remaining 13.5 hectares there still lying fallow." The vineyards are organic and the winery began producing organic wines in 2017.

Barta PinceBarta Pince owns much of the vineyard terraces known as Öreg Király-dűlő (Old King Vineyard). The Old King Vineyard was cultivated as far back as the 1200s. However, during the mid-20th century, when producing quantities of wine was preferred over quality wines by the ruling government, these historic vineyards were abandoned and eventually overgrown. In 2003 Barta purchased the majority of the Old King Vineyard terraces and replanted the grapevines. Today Barta Pince owns a little over 10 hectares of organic vineyards in the Old King Vineyard designated as ‘első osztályú’  (First Class) vineyards.

Other vineyard sites are also owned by Barta including vines in the Kővágó Vineyard

Eighty percent of the grapes planted in the vineyards are the Furmint grape variety. The remaining twenty percent of the plantings include the varietal grapes Hárslevelü, Sárga Muskotály (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains) and Kövérszőlő.

Tokaj was one of the first demarcated wine regions in the world (The Douro in Portugal and Chianti in Italy also claim to be the first). One of the region’s famous wines known as Aszú, now produced by Barta Pince, was recognized in the 1570 in a written statement.

At harvest time, the grapes are manually harvested. At the winery the wines are fermented in oak barrels.

Barta PinceRentals

Three onsite rentals are in a large 400-year-old mansion, Rákóczi-Aspremont Mansion. Each spacious room has a large vintage ceramic stove for heat, a large living room area, bedroom and private bathroom. Another building onsite is the three-bedroom Barta Guesthouse. Both rental facilities have WiFi access.

Wines

Barta PinceOur wine tasting was conducted in an elegant dining room at a dining room table with a white tablecloth. The brightness in the room made it easy to identify the colors of the wines.

The 2013 Öreg Király dülö Ma’d Furmint had 13.4% alcohol and 8 g/L of residual sugar. The wine had a dark yellow color. The aroma offered tropical fruits. The taste included mineral, peach, mango with a hint of pineapple. This Furmint wine had a racy acidity.

The 2015 Barta Öreg Király dülö Furmint had an alcohol level of 13.4% with a residual sugar of 7.7 g/L. According to Gergely the year 2015 was a good, dry year. The wine spent seven to eight months in oak barrels. The wine was a light gold color. The aroma included tropical notes. The taste was dry and crisp with mineral and tropical notes. This Furmint wine had a long finish.

The 2016 Barta Öreg Király dülö Ma’d Furmint was12.4% alcohol with a residual sugar of 8.1 g/L. This light yellow colored wine offered some floral notes. The taste was of flowers, apple, pear, citrus and some yellow stone fruit. The finish was crisp.

Barta PinceThe 2016 Barta Öreg Király dülö Hárslevelü was made with the Hárslevelü grapes, a local grape variety. This wine had 12.7% alcohol with a residual sugar of 8.1 g/L. The wine was a light gold color with an aroma of honeysuckle. The wine was smooth and elegant. The taste had a hint of sweetness.

The 2013 Barta Öreg Király dülö Szamorodni was produced with 100% Furmint grapes. The alcohol was 12% and the residual sugar was 115 g/L. This dark yellow colored wine offered an aroma of dried fruit and flowers. The taste included dried fruits, apricots and honeysuckle. The finish was sweet and fruity with a crispness.

The 2013 Barta Öreg Király dülö Aszú, was labeled as 6 puttonyos. We quickly learned that a puttony was a wooden basket carried on harvesters’ backs that was historically used for determining sugar level for Aszú wines. This wine was 9% alcohol and the residual sugar was 246 g/L. The aroma was of dried fruit and the taste was complex but reminded one of a spoonful of sugar, even so, the wine was well-balanced. Enjoy this wine as a dessert.

Barta Pince wines are available in the British market, Taiwan, China and the United States. Barta wines are also sold in restaurants and hotels in Hungary. A visit to Barta Pince in the village of Ma’d is an excellent starting point to explore the Tokaj region.

Barta Pince
3909 Mád, Rákóczi utca 83. Hungary

 

Article written April 2019.

 



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