On your way from Szerencs to Mád the spectacular view of one of the most imposing and steepest vineyards on King’s hill (Király-hegy) is bound to catch your attention: Old King vineyard (Öreg Király-dűlő). Not only its exceptional position, but also the continually constructed terraces built stone by stone over the centuries make it stand out in the beautiful landscape. Vines were already cultivated on this land way back in the 13th century, and one of the most highly prized Tokaji wines originated from here, a nectar that captured the powerful Rákóczi family too. However, as for everything unique, suffering is involved too: the stony ground and steep slopes make this land extremely difficult to tend.
The grapes grown here were always of special quality but, as they did not satisfy the needs of quantity-driven grape production, this vineyard was abandoned after World War II, and was gradually reclaimed by the black locust forest. Most of the area was purchased by the Barta family in 2003, and then began the replanting that continues to this day.
Visitors can be witness to the interesting contrast of young vines lined between the several-hundred-year-old terraces. South-, southwest-facing, the Old King vineyard (Öreg Király-dűlő) extends over 10 hectares. And the Barta Winery owns another 17-hectare south-, southwest-facing, mostly fallow, plot in the Kővágó vineyard, 3.5 hectares of which was brought back to production in 2017.
The vineyard soils are stony: volcanic rhyolite tufa with some zeolite and red clay. Some 80 % of the land is planted with T85 and the old-type small-bunch Madárkás Furmint clones, and the rest with Hárslevelű, Sárgamuskotály and Kövérszőlő. About half of the estate is planted with cordons at 1.4 x 0.8 m and 1 x 1 m and can only be cultivated by hand. The other half is low-cordon at 1.8 x 1 m density. The number of vines varies between 10 000 and 5 800 per hectare. We do not use herbicides or systemic chemicals in this vineyard we cultivate traditionally.
The 2015 Barta Furmint Öreg Király Dűlő is a wine from a very hot and dry year. The 100 per cent Furmint varietal was styled the same way as all its predecessors. It slowly fermented with wild yeast and spent a total of 9 months in a mix of 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th-fill Hungarian oak barrels, mostly light-to-medium toasted, before being bottled in August 2016.
This was the first Barta wine to be filled into the new Tokaj dry wine bottle, introduced in the region in April 2012. 13% alcohol, acidity 6.8 g/l.
At the 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition, this wine scored 95 points, was awarded a Double Gold medal and selected as Best Furmint in Show.
Click here to learn more about Furmint grape variety.