2018 Barta Furmint Oreg Kiraly Dulo, Tokaj, Hungary

2018 Barta Furmint Oreg Kiraly Dulo, Tokaj, Hungary



Founded in 2013,  Barta was a must visit for us back in 2019 because Károly Barta had purchased  the famed Öreg Király Dűlő (Old King Vineyard) in 2003.  For the next three years he proceeded to renovated the steep terracing of volcanic red clay and rhyolite-tuff  and then replant 10 hectares of this historic, but neglected vineyard which had become encroached by forest.  The project included restoration of a 16th century Baroque mansion and cellar on the main street of Mád.

Driving towards the village of Mád, it’s impossible to miss the Öreg Király Dűlő. It’s the highest altitude, steepest hillside, and most distinctly terraced vineyard in Tokaj. First mentioned in 1285, a 1st class site from the 1737 Classification, it was tragically fallow from the 1960s until 2004. There’s also written evidence from 1664 that the iconic Rákóczi family, then the rulers of Transylvania, farmed this vineyard. Needless to say, this vineyard has pedigree, was never farmed industrially, and has been resurrected with organic farming and painstaking mending of the terraces.

The winemaking by Vivien Újvári, who joined Barta in July of 2016, after working her way around vineyards in Napa Valley, New Zealand, Australia and Tokaj.  Her team’s winemaking philosophy is one of minimal intervention, aiming for purity and character in their wines, achieved through organic farming.  The winemaking and cellaring practices beneath the estate follow script with the vineyard.  No chemicals.  All fermentations are spontaneous and nothing else is added apart from SO2.  Naturally Hungarian oak is utilized for cooperage.

This 2018 vintage almost smells like a super healthy ferment from barrel only it’s completely put together and has 4 years of age on it. It’s immediately Tokaj in terms of ripe acidity, but not followed by any heat, bitterness, or any perceivable residual sugar (although it absolutely needs and has some for balance). Fermented in 500L Hungarian oak, it then spends 4 months on the lees and is only racked by gravity. Ready to drink now, we can’t wait to see where this goes in 3-5 more years in bottle. The honey, smoke and salt derived from the terraced Öreg Király Dűlő are just their infancy.

 9 g/l
 7.2 g/l

The Barta ’18 is from the historic “Grand Cru” Old King (Hill) Vineyard and without a doubt the holy grail for dry Furmint…..mineral driven and gaining richness in the glass despite its acid proclivity…..it will knock you socks off ….. and has a proven track record for evolution and aging. The finish lengthens and continues to taper with air, and every time I taste it.