Thursday, March 3, 2011

Welcome to the US – Erhard Heumann and his Heumann Wines from Villany-Siklos in Hungary

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Erhard Heumann of the Heumann Winery/Borpinceszet in Villany/Siklos

Frank Dietrich from the Blue Danube Wine Company introduced me to owner and winemaker Erhard Heumann of the Heumann Winery/Borpinceszet in Villany/Siklos in Hungary and we had dinner together in Washington DC. Erhard Heumann was in Washington to introduce his wines to the US. Welcome!

Hungary has a Long History of Winemaking

Wine was introduced to Hungary by the Romans. During the Turkish occupation beginning in the early 16th century, displaced Serbs brought the red Kadarka grape to Eger, which was the basis for the red wine blend that later became known as Bull's Blood. It was also during the Turkish occupation that the Tokaji region became known for dessert wines, harvested late to encourage noble rot. After the Ottoman Empire ceded Hungary to the Austrians in 1699, the Germanic influence was felt with the introduction of grape varieties such as Blauer Portugieser. Under Communism, quality was neglected in favor of overcropping and industrial production. Since 1989, when the Berlin wall came down, there has been an impressive rebound.

Hungary’s Wine Regions

Hungary has 22 designated wine regions, in all 4 corners of the country. Some people consider the red wines from Szekszárd and Villány in southern Hungary, where the Heumann wines come from, to be the cream of the crop. Around Lake Balaton, you will find the Balatonfelvidék, Balatonfüred-Csopak, Balatonboglár, and Badacsony regions. Further to the North, the Somló hills and Sopron region also offer fine wine. I have reported about the wines of Franz Reinhard Weninger in Balf here.
Picture: The Wine Regions of Hungary

The vineyards of the Tokaji region were classified long before Bordeaux, already in the 1700s, with vineyards grouped into 3 categories depending on the soil, sun exposure and potential to develop noble rot. Noble-sweet Tokaji has been Hungary’s crowning glory for hundreds of years. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, noble-sweet Tokaji was a cherished wine enjoyed by the European Courts. Winemakers in Tokaji are struggling now to adjust to new market conditions. See here.

Evelyne and Erhard Heumann

Erhard Heumann told me over dinner that he grew up with beer in Bavaria. He became interested in wine only later in life, after he had met his wife Evelyne. Interestingly, he met his wife in the US – in Las Vegas. As a student, he told us, he was touring via Greyhound the US and at the Greyhound station in Las Vegas he run into her. “From then on” he said ” we toured the US together. Back in Europe she soon moved in with me”. They eventually settled in Switzerland, where they still maintain a home. Erhard also has a job as a banker, while Evelyne works full time at the winery in Hungary. Isn’t his a bit cumbersome? “Well, if I go by car, yes – 13 hours“ he said ”but if I take the early morning flight from Zurich to Budapest and then a group taxi from Budapest to Villany and I am at our winery at lunch time.”

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Erhard Heumann of the Heumann Winery/Borpinceszet in Villany/Siklos

How did this start? “My father in law had some business to do in Villany and went there. He came back with the business deal, but also with a couple of hectares of vineyard land, a lease of a 40 year old vineyard with Kékoporto (Blauer Portugieser) in Villány. This was in 1995. Originally we thought this to be something for our spare time, but over the years it has grown into a major undertaking.” Well, it has grown into a well known and leading Hungarian winery that now sells its wines world wide.

Heumann Winery in the Villany/Siklos Region

The Villany area is well known around the globe for its extraordinary red wines. Local Kekoporto and Kekfrankos - which are in the German speaking world known as Blauer Portugieser and Blaufrankisch - are cultivated next to international Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

When the Heumann Winery/Borpinceszet was founded in the mid1990s, they started out with 500 bottles. The Heumann Winery/Borpinceszet winery produced 6,000 bottles in 2004 and 2005, and it plans to increase production to 40.000-50.000 bottles. “We are now at around 30.000 bottles” says Erhard Heumann.

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Erhard Heumann of the Heumann Winery/Borpinceszet in Villany/Siklos and Frank Dietrich from the Blue Danube Wine Company in California

Until the 2002 vintage, the Heumann wines were made at a winery in Villány. Since 2004, they have their own state of the art winery and wine cellar. Work in the vineyards and in the winery is lead by a young Hungarian professional with an enological degree and work experience in several German wine estates. “We hope that he will soon be joined by our son who studying to become a winemaker” says Erhard.

“We also realized that we must try to achieve international recognition in order to be successful. We therefore send our wines to international competitions and have already received a number of awards. We are also successfully exporting to a number of European countries, including Switzerland and Germany, and now we trying to establish ourselves here in the US” said Erhard.

In 2010, the Heumann Winery/Borpincészet was included for the first time in the Johnston Wine Guide.

The Heumann Portfolio

Here is what Heumann wines currently offers, with winemaker notes.

Picture: The Heumann Wines (Light Blue Label) with Other Hungarian Wines at the Embassy of Hungary in Washington DC

Merlot 2007
100% Merlot
Harvest 1.2 kg /vine.
Dark ruby color. Thick, opulent, very well integrated tannins. Lot of black berry fruit und plums. Super texture, long lasting.

Cabernet Franc 2007
100% Cabernet Franc
Harvest 1.0 kg / vine
Deep dark ruby color. In the nose vanilla, blackberry, cassis. On the palette dark chocolate, cassis again, spices. Powerfull wine with creamy texture. Fine structure, long aftertaste.

Kékfrankos 2007
100 % Blaufraenkisch
1.0 kg / vine
Medium dark purple. In the nose some vanilla, plums, raspberries. Mouth filling concentrated yet supple wine with fruity aftertaste. Very good body, long lasting.

Cuvée Segreto 2007
50% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% other varieties
Harvest 1.5 kg /vine
Dark ruby color. Liquorice nose. Black-berries, chocolate and spices on the palate. Concentrated and full bodied. Good structure and well integrated tannins. Very long aftertaste.

Terra Tartaro 2008
40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot. 1 kg / vine
Dark ruby colour. First impression in the nose is cassis, underpinned with a fine smell of tobacco and chocolate. The tannins as well as the acidity structure are very well integrated. The wine is balanced and elegant yet powerful. Very long lasting in the mouth.

Heumann & Heimann 2008

This is a interregional blend with wines from Zoltan Heimann in the Szekszárd region, north of Villany, and wines of Heumann.
100% Blaufraenkisch
Harvest 1 kg /vine
Wine made from the best Blaufraenkisch wines of the Heumann and the Heimann winery. It combines the strengths from the terroirs of the both regions (Villany and Szekszard) – power and fruit. Elderber-ries in the nose and on the palate. Sour cherries and Pecan nuts in the back. Complex and deep wine with a long finish.

Picture: Annette and Christian G.E.Schiller with Erhard Heumann of the Heumann Winery/Borpinceszet in Villany/Siklos

Chardonnay 2009
100% Chardonnay
Harvest 1.5 kg /vine
Light yellow with bright greenish reflexes. Intensive flavors of apple and apricots. Fruity lemon acidity. Well integrated in the creamy body. Well balanced. Long lasting.

Rosé 2009
Blaufraenkisch, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah
Harvest 2 kg / vine
Salmon color. In the nose sour drops. Full bodied yet underpinned with gorgeous fruit. Some cassis. Relatively long aftertaste.

schiller-wine: Related Postings

Vinograf Winebar - Arguably the Best Place to Taste Czech Wines in Prague

A Great Selection of Czech Wines at the Villa Richter Outdoor Wine Bistro in Saint Wenceslas Vineyard in the Middle of Prague

The Exciting Wines of the Czech Republic

Tokaji: Depressing and Encouraging News from Hungary

A Rich Selection of Hungarian Wines at the Hungarian Embassy in the US

Wine Bar: The Wine Bar by Bazilika, Budapest, Hungary

Welcome to America: Franz and Christine Netzl Estate, Carnuntum, Austria

The 2010 European Wine Bloggers Conference (EWBC) in Vienna

Wine Producer Austria - Not Only Gruener Veltliner

Willi Klinger Leads Tasting of Austria's Undiscovered Stars at EWBC 2010 in Vienna

Lunch with Silvia Prieler, Weingut Prieler, Schuetzen am Gebirge, Austria

Austria’s Best Wines and Winemakers - Falstaff WeinGuide 2010

Producing Wines in Austria and Hungary - Franz and Franz Reinhard Weninger

No comments:

Post a Comment