BENCZE is a winery in the Lake Balaton (Badacsony) region of Hungary. It was founded in 2011 when IT expert István Bencze moved here in search of a change of lifestyle.
VINEYARDS The estate comprises three distinct vineyards situated on the south side of zent György-hegy (Saint George Hill).
BIODYNAMIC CERTIFICATION 2016 First vintage with full Demeter certification.
MÁSFÉL VINEYARD whose name translates as 1.5 hectares (3.7 acres) surrounds the estate’s guesthouses. “Másfél” used to be lot of small plots, which the owners turned into one. Its lowest point is at 141 metres, its highest is at 170 metres, giving a slope of 12-15%. The soil is mostly clay, loes and some brown earth with reddish hues high in iron. The highest part of this vineyard has basalt stones, with huge pieces of rocks, and at a depth of 1.5 metres (5 feet) sandstone can be found. The small plots used to contain a mix mixed of grapes varieties, but mostly Olaszrizling. The owners harvested the vines for two vintages but decided to make the plot uniform, replanting it in 2014 with Chenin Blanc and Rózsakő, a crossing developed in 1975 in nearby Badacsony.
KILENCÉSFÉL VINEYARD lies on the lower slopes and is the estate’s biggest contiguous vineyard with almost 10 hectares (24,7 acres) of vines. The majority of “Kilencésfél” was planted in 1999, with additional plantings in 2002, situated at 118 to 136 meters altitude. This vineyard is enclosed by two small slopes, on top of them the soil full of basalt stones, on the lower parts it is a mix of clay, loess, sand and brown earth. Grape varieties: Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Piros bakator and Kék bakator. The last two are ancient Hungarian varieties.
HÉTÉSFÉL VINEYARD comprises 7 hectares (17.3 acres) and is situated close to Lengyel-kápolna, a chapel which is the symbol of the Szent György-hegy (Saint George Hill). This is Bencze’s most interesting plot and potentially it most qualitative. Hétésfél lies at 180 metres (600 feet) altitude. The soil is full of basalt stones and huge rocks which makes tractor work complicated. In 2015 we started to replant the plot with Furmint, Hárslevelű, Riesling and Kéknyelű. About 2.5 hectares (6.2 acres) of existing Riesling planted around 1974 were retained 40-year-old. The owners believe that in time this vineyard will make our best wines.
ROSÉ BRUT, GEMINI Pinot Noir. Zero dosage.
RIESLING, RAJNAI Started to work with these vines from early 2013. The site is a slope below a small chapel (called ‘Lengyel-kápolna’) on Szent György-hegy (Saint George Hill). 2013 Fermented in stainless steel and oak barrels. Part barrel-aged. Salty, light spice, really good.1Tasted during my ‘Biodynamic Pioneers’ masterclass, VINCE wine show in Budapest 05th April 2018.
ARIES RIESLING From the Hétésfél vineyard. 2015 Riesling. 13%. No botrytis, therefore no sulfur dioxide addition pre-fermentation. Whole bunch pressed. Fermented in stainless steel. Aged in a variety of amphoras, including some made of sandstone. Bottled November 2016. Some sulfur dioxide added after fermentation and before bottling. 80ppm total SO2. Clean, creamy, slight blur Vrsac, Serbia at the annual conference of Serbia’s Association for Biodynamic Agriculture 09th December 2017.
VENUS 2015 13.5% + 2.7g/l residual sugar. 80ppm sulfites. Riesling from the Hétésfél vineyard but in contrast to ‘Aries’ above this has Botrytis. Destemmed, then pressed and the juice was macerated on skins overnight. Fermented in stainless steel, aged in 500-litre barrels and terracotta amphora (various sizes). Showed very nice grip, vibrancy at the annual conference of Serbia’s Association for Biodynamic Agriculture 09th December 2017.
VIRGO 2014 12%. 6g/l RS. A Pinot Noir vinified as a white wine. Picked 23 & 24 September, and 01 October 2014. Some whole clusters were pressed as for white wine with the juice being racked into oak barrels. The other part was destemmed before pressing, and its juice was racked into a mix of steel tanks and barrels. After spontaneous fermentation the wine stayed on lees for 3 months.
PINOT NOIR 2015 13%. Destemmed. Fermented in both stainless steel and upturned 500-litre oak barrels with one end knocked out. Further oak aging for a small part of the blend for 5 months.
ACCOMODATION Guesthouses in a “modern-rustic” style.
CONTACT Bncze Csaladí Birtok, Szent György-hegy, Hegymagas, 1045/18, Hungary / www.benczebirtok.hu