It might surprise many wine connoisseurs: the best Furmint of Hungary at the latest edition of VinAgora wine contest does not com from Tokaj, but from Eger wine region. Nimród Kovács, the owner of KNW tells us about the past and the new year. Cheers with Sky Furmint to celebrate Furmint February!
– The pandemic is still determining our everyday life. As for Kovács Nimród Winery, did the year 2021 end as a positive or a negative year compared to 2020?
– Clearly positive. The year 2021 was indeed better than the year 2020, which was heavily affected by the coronavirus crisis. Another good news is that 2021 was even more successful than the “last peaceful year”, the year 2019. The wines of the unique terroir of Nagy-Eged mountain, and the wines of Nyilasmár and Nagyfai vineyards are more and more popular among sophisticated, educated winelovers. Several wine tourists choose Eger as their destination so that they can visit our 300 year old cellar and enjoy the wines here, where they are born.
– Not only Hungarian, but also foreign visitors come to taste in Eger…
– Though the proportion of foreign travellers is still smaller than before the pandemic, we can see some positive changes in this field as well: during the Orthodox new year holidays several Russian wine drinkers visited us, what is more, this year we have already received Italian, American, British, Dutch, Slovakian and Transylvanian visitors, friends and families. We hope that the rest of the year wil get even better.
– Which wines were you the most proud of in 2021?
– One of the most outstanding wines of ours is Sky Furmint 2017, which won Champion award at the latest edition of VinAgora last spring, plus it was selected “The Best Furmint of Hungary”. Is not the first international accolade of this wine: the earlier vintages, 2015 and 2016 both won gold at VinAgora contests, 2016 was the winner of its category, while vintage 2011 won gold medal and two trophies at International Wine Challenge in London. These acknowledgements justify our philosophy: the highest altitude vineyards of Nagy-Eged mountain give exceptional fine wines. The same applies to our two flagship red wines from Nagy-Eged, NJK (Kékfrankos-Syrah) and Grand Bleu (100 % Kékfrankos).
– Also Nyilasmár and Nagyfai vineyards near the village of Noszvaj are classified Grand Superior…
– These vineyards have the potential to give beautiful varietal wines and blends, recently probably Max Syrah deserves the most attention, it has soon become a sought after wine among the experts. The selected grape for this wine comes from the sunny Nyilasmár vineyard, unfiltered, full flavoured wine. Very limited: only 1100 bottles were made, and we named it after an extraordinary jazz drummer called Max Roach.
– Let’s look forward for a second. What are the plans for 2022?
– Going on with quality winemaking is a constant objective, but this year we plan to reach a wider audience with our wines. To achieve this goal, last year we created two new labels: a reductive Chardonnay and a Merlot with subtle oak ageing. Both of them are estate wines with crop from our Nyilasmár and Nagyfai vineyards, and both are price–value champions, thus they are suitable for the younger consumers. The success was immediate: we have sold all of our reductive Chardonnay wines, therefore we will bottle double amount this year. Another good news is that after two years of restrictions, finally we can greet our American consultant and friend, Kent Barthman in the cellar, personally. We had a fruitful day of tasting, Ken and our colleagues tasted themselves through all the wines in barrels and bottles and compared them to other wines from significant vineyards of the world. It is crucial for us to get to know the trends and styles of the world, to improve, to be aware of the customers’ customs, since we make wines not only for the local, but also for the international market.</>
Interview by Judit Doros, translated by Ágnes Németh