St Donat is the patron saint of numerous wine regions in Hungary. Wine growers pray to him to protect their crop from hail, thunder and lightning.
It makes total sense that the family-owned St Donat wine estate chose his name for their winery, located in Csopak, on the northern shore of Lake Balaton.
The village’s climate is defined by the lake to the south and cool air from the valleys of the Bakony to the north. The breeze rolling out of the surrounding forests at night offsets the humid warmth of the lake. This unique phenomenon is considered to be St Donat’s blessing: Storms hardly ever reach the area, and summer hails that are not uncommon in Hungary are almost non-existent in this microclimate.
The diversity of soils and climate together create unique wines in Csopak. The three main varieties cultivated here are olaszrizling, furmint and kékfrankos, olaszrizling being the most successful one.
The St Donat wine estate grew out of a tiny plot of vines recouped as part of the national restitution and compensation scheme. Over the years, the owners cleaned up and replanted the neglected site, adding further acreage. They went on to realise an old dream in 2001 by building a cellar, and then a winery facility in 2002. The next step was to enlarge the cellar and to build a gourmet restaurant with breathtaking views or the Lake Balaton, serving regional specialities to match their beautiful wines.
Tamas Kovacs, the owner of St Donat wine estate is proud to produce the upper two categories of Csopak wine, the Hegybor (hill wine) from the premier crus, as well as the Dűlőbor (vineyard wine) which is the highest quality single cru wine from around the lake.
We visited their estate earlier in August and are excited to introduce three exquisite wines from their range:
Csopak 2015, a beautiful Olaszrizling hegybor (hill wine).
Marga, a Furmint selection.
Meszes, an Olaszrizling selection.
It’s the first time a Hungarian hegybor from the Balaton region is going to be available in the UK. We can’t wait to reveal the trio to you next week in the webshop - stay tuned!
To celebrate these exquisite wines entering the UK, we asked Tamas Kovacs, owner of St Donat winery about the future of the Balaton wine region, the source of his drive and ambition, his daily routine as well as his favourite food and drink combo.
10 questions - 10 interesting answers in our interview with him, next week here in Danube Wines' Magazine.
See you then!
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