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Holdvölgy
by
Kathy and Terry Sullivan

HoldvölgySummary: Holdvölgy is a unique winery in Tokaj, Hungary where visitors can taste wines including Aszú wines based on a vertical tasting. The winery offers sales of wine by the bottle or a select case of six Aszú wines in a decorative wood box. Holdvölgy has a strong connection with the surrounding environment.

We arrived at the Holdvölgy winery tasting room, winery and cellar noticing immediately that the front of the modern-style tasting room is enclosed with glass and stone. The yellow-gold bottles of Aszú wines glimmered like warm summer sunshine through the glass. The sight of the colorful wines invites people to want to visit. The second thing we noticed was the living roof over the tasting room/retail building. The roof has clusters of ornamental grasses and shrubs. The winery was built in 2012. The tasting room, winery and cellar are blended in to the surrounding environment. Much of it is underground. The living roof over the tasting room helps keep the area in touch with the surrounding environment.

HoldvölgyInside the tasting room, the wines are stacked in vertical columns. From the tasting room, wine enthusiasts can view stainless steel tanks arranged in two rows. The rows guide your eyes to one of the dark entrances to the cellar. After meeting the winemaker, Tomás Gincsai, he escorted us to the winery and old cellar via a stainless steel circular stairway.

The Cellar

The cellar is large measuring 1830 meters (over one mile). It was noted that 300 meters are used for winemaking. The entire cellar is made of nine interconnected cellars. Sections of the immense cellar date to the 1500s. This 1.8 km cellar was dug through riolite tuff. It is difficult to tell the sections that are centuries old and those that are newer. The entire cellar system is harmonious.

HoldvölgyIn the first cellar area we stopped to taste a dry white wine. This blend of Furmint, Hárslevelü and Kabar had a yellow color with 13% alcohol. Half of the blend was fermented in stainless steel tanks while the other half was fermented in oak. The wine was aged in stainless steel. Flowers were noticed on the aroma. The taste included daisies, dried peaches and citrus. The finish was fruity yielding to mineral.

We continued our amble through the cellars. During our tour of the winery and cellar, we learned about the vineyards that Holdvölgy owns.

Vineyards

Holdvölgy means “Moon Valley.” The winery was started in 2004 by Pascal Demko who received a one hectare (2.47 acres) vineyard for his birthday present. Today Holdvölgy has 26 hectares (64 acres) of vineyards. These vineyards comprise of 22 parcels in seven different Ma’d Basin vineyards. Vineyards in Tokaj and in particular the Ma’d Basin were declared a protected wine production district in 1737.

Grape varieties in the vineyard portfolio include Furmint, Hárslevelü, Sárga Muskotály (Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains), Zéta, Kabar and Kövérszőlő.

HoldvölgyWe also learned about the winemaker Tamás Gincsai. In 2007, Tomas Gincsai became a winemaker at the age of 15. The Tokaj wine region influenced his winemaking style. He became the winemaker at Holdvölgy in 2013.

Aszü Vertical Tasting

Emerging from the cellar walk, we tasted six Holdvölgy Aszü wines from different years noting the differences in the wines. Tamás gave insights about the weather conditions during this vertical tasting. The six Aszü wines were from the Culture series. We began the tasting with a 2011 vintage and worked backward to the 2006 vintage.

The first wine was the 2011 Aszü. The 2011 Tokaji Aszú had 11% alcohol with a residual sugar of 206 g/L and acidity of 10.4 g/L. The wine was produced with Furmint, Hárslevelü, and Zeta grape varieties. This 2011 wine was a gold color with a yellow hue. The aroma was light with notes of dried fruit. The taste was of dried apricots and honeysuckle and the mouthfeel was very velvety.

The 2010 Tokaji Aszú had 11% alcohol with a residual sugar of 176.2 g/L and acidy of 9.6 g/L. The wine was produced with three grape varieties: Furmint, Hárslevelü, and Zeta. The wine was a bright dark yellow color with notes of daisies, dried peaches and honeysuckle.

HoldvölgyThe 2009 Tokaji Aszú had 11% alcohol. The residual sugar was 174.0 and the acidity was 8.7. The wine was a dark yellow color. This wine was also produced with Furmint, Hárslevelü, and Zeta although there was more Zeta in this wine than the other wines. The result was a wine with notes of dried yellow stone fruits.

The 2008 Tokaji Aszú had 11.5% alcohol. The residual sugar was 176.9 and the acidity was 8.8%. The wine was a gold color. There was an aroma of flowers and dried fruits. The mouthfeel was very velvety and the taste was of dried apricots and honeysuckle. The acidity cut the sugar. The finish of dried fruits yielded to citrus.

The 2007 Tokaji Aszú had 12% alcohol. The residual sugar was 164.5 g/L. The acidit y was 7.8 g/L. The wine was a gold color with a dark yellow hue. The aroma included flowers and dried fruits. The wine offered a very velvety mouthfeel. The taste was of dried peaches, honeysuckle and a bit of citrus. The finish was fruity with dried fruits and honeysuckle.

The final wine we tasted was the 2006 Tokaji Aszú with 12% alcohol. The residual sugar was 174.0 g/L. The acidy was 10.8 g/L. This wine had a dark gold color. The aroma was of dried fruits and honeysuckle. The velvety mouthfeel was accompanied by dried apricots and honeysuckle. The finish of dried fruits yielded to citrus with a honeysuckle background.

From the vertical tasting, we noted color differences and subtle aroma and taste differences between the Aszü wines. We also discerned that Aszü wines can age if it is possible to refrain from drinking them.

We enjoyed the Aszú vertical wine tasting and tour of the old cellars while learning more about the Holdvölgy winery. Wine enthusiasts should visit the site and see how the entire complex fits into the surrounding environment.

Holdvölgy
Mád, Árpád u. 13, 3909, Hungary

 

 

Article written April 2019.

 



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