From the middle of the Hungarian Puszta expanse rises the Somló, an extinct volcano crowned by castle ruins dating back to the 11th century. The slopes of the Somló are home to beautiful wines with centuries of history.
The Somló wines were also greatly valued as remedies and used by traditional Pannonian apothecaries as medicine – Vinum Somlaianum omni tempore sanum.
A sleeping beauty awakes from her slumber
In the 18th century these wines ranked among the Habsburg rulers’ most coveted elixirs. Maria Theresa and her husband Franz Stephan had a particular taste for Hungarian wines. Legend has it that, on the orders of the emperor, the princes were given a glass of Somló wine on their wedding night as a way to ensure that they would produce male heirs.
At the very top of the crater’s plateau, on the rough rocks of the magma columns, an untouched landscape developed over millennia.
Rare species of butterfly, spiders and wild bees populate the diverse flora.
Up on the plateau the sky seems so near and the view stretches so far over the expanse of the Puszta that you feel you are floating.
The name of our vineyard site translates to “slope of the earl”. Impressive lava columns tower over the mountain vineyards, forming a rock face along which warm air rises through thermal updrafts. The southern aspect of the mountain slopes provide an ideal microclimate, but even the northern slopes give us exquisite wines.
The mineral-rich volcanic soils are ideal for our vines. Basalt and loess weather together with light layers of sand to make fertile soils. They are loose, well-aerated and retain heat – the perfect conditions for vines. Through small cracks in the rock, their roots penetrate many metres into the mountain’s interior, absorbing its valuable minerals.
Hungary‘s smallest wine region is only around 800 ha in size. While the individual sites and slopes were originally divided between the noble families, today the area is characterised by many little parcels used by self-sufficient farmers.
Picturesque little houses, fruit trees, shrubs and enchanting cottage gardens blend into the mountain vineyard landscape.
Traditional grape varieties
One of the traditional grape varieties is Hárslevelü: pale yellow, feminine and elegant, with fine fruit aromas. It is also known as “Lindenblättriger” (which refers to linden leaf in German), its bewitching linden flower aroma giving it its name. This grape shows fine varietal minerality and fresh acidity. It has large, long berries and loose bunches, making it resistant to disease.
The other traditional variety is Juhfark: fiercely masculine, rich golden yellow in colour and extravagant, with well-balanced acidity. Its Hungarian name translates to “sheep’s tail” and refers to the elongated and curved shape of its grape clusters. It is considered to be one of the noblest Hungarian white wines, and is also known as “the throne successor’s wine”. This variety is very sensitive and finds its ideal living conditions in the particularly favourable climate of the Somló Mountain.