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Bock Borászat
by
Terry Sullivan

Bock BorászatSummary: Bock Borászat is a wine enthusiast’s dream. József Bock’s family has been involved in the Hungarian wine industry since 1850. Wine travelers can taste wines, tour the cellars especially one section called the Bock Chapel, stay onsite at the Bock Hotel Ermitage and have meals at the restaurant in the hotel. This winery site is a perfect base for wine enthusiasts to explore the Villány wine region.

Bock BorászatOur first experience at Bock Borászat was to check-in to the Bock Hotel Ermitage. The process was easy and we were off to our room to freshen up. Soon we were in the restaurant sampling a 2012 Marcell Brut pezsgö. This sparkling wine was made in the traditional method. It was a blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The light gold color provided the background for multiple columns of tiny bubbles forming a mousse around the circumference on the surface. Apples and raspberries were noticed on the aroma and taste. The mouthfeel was lively and the finish was crisp and refreshing. While enjoying this pezsgö we observed József Bock while he talked jovially with other restaurant patrons.

History

It did not take long to determine that József Bock is a people person. He meandered through the restaurant greeting the patrons at each table where he would spend a few moments. We were pleasantly surprised when he spent so much time at our table. József spoke Hungarian and Gabriella Gónusz of Wine a’More Travel translated. We learned that József was proud of producing sparkling wine using the traditional method. Making sparkling wine started as a hobby, but quickly moved into commercial production with a yearly production between 4,000 and 6,000 bottles. The next morning we notice an open bottle of the sparkling wine in the breakfast area of the hotel.

Bock BorászatWe asked József about his wine journey and learned that the Bock ancestors were from Germany and settled in Hungary in the middle of the 19th century. The family has been involved in the Villány wine industry since 1850. During World War II, József’s father was a prisoner of war in the United States. After the war he returned to Hungary to discover that he had lost everything. The communist regime had taken the land. József was a child during this time. It was possible for people to purchase some of the land that was taken. His father purchased land in 1958 and restarted the wine business. József explained that during the communist era, people did not forget how to make wine or tend the vineyards. However, they continued to work in the vineyards and state owned wineries.

Mr. Bock is proud of his roots. He cherishes the Villány region and said, “We should be proud of the red wines.” József is the ninth generation of winemakers in his family. He likes the many customers from around the world that return to the winery and hotel. His message in a bottle is one of friendship. József believes that whoever drinks the wine should find friendship with other wine enthusiasts. József continued, “I make wines that are healthy and make people happy. Couples will find harmony drinking a bottle of wine, then they go off to their rooms ….”

Bock BorászatCellars

After dinner, we had a tour of the cellars. The cellars are a blend of old and new. Old wood casks age wines in one cellar. New barriques, stacked up to four high, age wine in another area. Construction of the cellars began in 1994 and continued in different phases. We tasted several wines from barrels.

Bock BorászatEventually we were led to the Bock Chapel. This 100 meter diameter cellar is a must-see for any wine enthusiast visiting Hungary. In an alcove a crucifix carved in wood was adorned by grape vines and bunches of grapes decorated the carving. Another alcove had a larger crucifix. The circular area is about two stories high. The ceiling is made of brick and was awash with purple and red light. The acoustics in this chapel are astounding. Gabriella stood in one area of the room and Kathy stood about 15 feet opposite her. Gabriella quietly spoke and Kathy heard what she was saying. It was mentioned that opera singers will sometimes perform here. I could not refrain from moving to the center of the room and singing a verse of “Pie Jesu.” The Bock Chapel is used for concerts and wedding ceremonies.

Bock BorászatExiting the cellars at dusk, we walked past the winery production building that uses solar panels for some of their electrical needs. Stainless steel tanks were located outside. A small pond is along one side of the property.

Wines

Back in the restaurant we tasted four wines. Although the Villány region is known for their red wines, back in the 1950s, half of the vineyards were covered with white grape varieties. The 2018 Olaszrizling was a light yellow color with 12.5% alcohol. The aroma had floral and citrus notes. The taste offered roses and citrus. The finish was crisp and refreshing.

Bock BorászatThe 2017 Porto Géza was crafted with 100% Portugieser grapes. This opaque ruby colored wine had 12.5% alcohol. Black fruits were on the aroma while the taste included blueberries, black cherries and baking spices. The wine had a medium/full body and mild tannins. The finish was fruity and spicy.

The 2016 Syrah with 14% alcohol had an opaque ruby color. The wine had black fruits and spices on the aroma. The taste was reminiscent of baking spices, black pepper and blackberries. The wine was full bodied with bold tannins. The finish was spicy.

The 2016 Kékfrankos had 12.5% alcohol and was an opaque dark ruby color. The aroma reminded me of a fruit salad of different red and black berries. The taste included blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and baking spices. The wine was full bodied with medium/bold tannins. The finish was fruity and spicy.

The Bock Borászat should be on the list of Villány wineries to visit. The wines are well crafted and the cellar tour is wonderful. The hotel offers wine travelers a base site to explore the region.

Bock Borászat
Villány, Batthyány Lajos u. 15, 7773 Hungary

 

 

Article written April 2019.

 

 



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