Somlo Wine Cellars

5Haz Estate’s  ( formerly known as Balint Cellar )  huge building project was opened up to the public in 2015. It is judged the most environmentally- and location-conscious investment of Somlo so far. Their enormous, cca 60 m diameter concrete dome – a unique engineering triumph in itself – has been completely hidden inside the hill and now this main building, able to receive 150 guests is completely invisible. What IS visible though are the 5 beautiful, traditional Hungarian country-style small houses, smoothly melting into their surroundings. (5 haz means  5 houses in English). These will function as home to 7 apartments, altogether able to receive 26 people at once. Although this investment is one of the most substantial of recent years on Somlo, nothing shows more its owner’s humility and respect for local values more, but the fact that he himself choose to train as a winemaker, and is now making his elegant, clear and typically North-Somlo style “hard mineral” wines himself.

A long-awaited and much-needed addition to both new style, high-quality wines and local tourist developments on Somlo.

Balint Barcza comes from families with hundreds of years of winemaking traditions on both sides. Besides his vineyards nr. lake Balaton, he tends to one of the greatest ( and most difficult) vineyards of Somlo on the hill’s Southern side. Balint is a learned winemaker, still he creates with humility and respect, showing only those wines to the public that he judges good enough. His Juhfark of 2011 were sold first time in our shop this year. Besides Vandor cellar, Balint is typically one of those young winemakers, who are considered both by locals and by wine lovers as founding members of future Somlo’s winemaking generation.

Very few bottled wines were more anxiously anticipated than Barnaby cellar’s Furmint and Harslevelű. Mr. Toth Barnabas – or Barnaby in English – has gone through a lot since that first “love at first sight” moment from amateur wine-tourist coming to Somlo to a professional Somlo vintner. He is one of those few lucky people who could develop his knowledge without any outside pressure: he has neither financial nor quantitative expectations from his lovingly tended vines, which incidentally grow in the heart of the best part of Somlo. During the last ten years, many wines were born in his cellar from this “marriage of love”. We think all of them were excellent, a wine merchant often thought of begging on his knees to be able to bring them to the market. Barna, however, is only satisfied with perfection, if at all. The Furmint and Hárslevelű which is finally having their débuts now are in just that category.

An absolute winner from 2013 débutante cellars – Hárslevelű 2011 voted 5th best Hungarian dry white on one of Hungary’s leading daily newspaper top 100 wine-list, the best result for Somló this year in this competition.

Krisztina CSETVEI, our so far only lady – winemaker first “burst” into the Hungarian Wine-scene in 2011, mostly with her wines from Mor – region, North of Somlo. Not many know that she also owns a small vineyard on Somlo, right next to our newly renovated Western Chapel, St Ilona.  Welschriesling produced here is part of her highly popular “Rock-Scissors-Paper” series. A lovely young and fresh wine, a welcome addition to the  “new generation’s take” on ancient Somlo.

The well-known winery has its own shop, with regular opening times, at the “gate” of the Hill. To receive a selection from them for our shop from day one was, therefore, a real compliment: the owners found it important to support our idea of bringing all wineries together, for which we are really grateful. Csordás olaszrizling, which comes from one of Somló’s best growing areas has been setting trends for many years now.

Tourists’ favourites, with easily understandable-, and drinkable wines next to more sophisticated titles from their “Selection” range.

Our first winery from Sag-Hill, the neighbouring small “brother” of Somlo. This family cellar produces wine with a fascinating professionalism considering their size and location. Since their entry into the wine market in 2005, they became a household name from a region probably least known in Hungary. An amazing display of both terroir and viticulture, and not least from a little, amazing volcano, Ság, which is one of Hungary’s best kept secret places.

Favourite of exclusivity-seekers, with completely uniquely tasting wines.

The name Fekete has now become one with the “Hill” – at the age of 92, he is well deservedly called the Grand Old Man of Somlo. His classic, extremely high quality and consistent wines convert newer and newer followers each year – for “uncle Bela” himself, but also for the appellation itself. His land was purchased in 2014 by 3 new investors, but he is still actively taking part in the winemaking, ensuring continuity of his legendary vintages.

We don’t actually sell Fekete wines: we merely try to fairly share them amongst our customers..

Nobody 15 years ago would have thought that a wine-merchant from Tokaj would be a permanent resident on Somlo, and become one of the top winemakers here. Hollovar wines are extremely high quality, refined “pieces” ( ..of art?), several famous Hungarian restaurant carries them for their extreme longevity and high adaptivity to many types of food. The cellar and the vineyards lie below the famous Southern Basalt-Organs, where Ravens nest. Hence the name: Hollo Var – Raven’s Castle. In 2014 the owner, Lajos TAKACS decided to move back to Tokaj, his hometown and continue his work there. 2013 is his swan-song: Hollóvár Brand is finishing with this vintage, now available in our webshop. Somlói Vándor Cellar has taken over part of his legacy – best hands to put 15 years of work and vines in our opinion.

One of wine expert’s favourite cellar.

Area: 1 ha, Southern Side
Mission: Somló on high level

Imre Györgykovács is impossible to introduce, needs not be introduced, and we can hardly do him justice trying to do so. He is as legendary in the life of Somlo as “Uncle Béla”, Bela Fekete, building up one of the handful small wineries that made our Hill what it is today. Mr. Imre Györgykovács has been awarded one of the highest merits of the Hungarian Republic, and has been voted “winemaker of winemakers” of Hungary in 2012, the highest appreciation one can get from this profession as it is given be other winemakers.

One of the most sought after winery in the shop.

Area: 3 ha, South-Eastern side
Mission: Purity and simplicity – without compromise

This new-generation winery is a heart-warming assurance, that the centuries – old fame of Somlo Wines lives on. With their amazing handcrafted wines, Somloi Apatsagi Pinceszet ( = Somlo Abbey Winery )  is deservedly one of the “Cult” cellars of Hungary. Since each year they sell out completely, there is always an eager few months at the beginning of each season, when people queue up for the new vintages, thus self-generating an “event” worthy of the late marketing-event genius Steve Jobs. The name comes from their land and beautiful old cellar having once belonged to an Abbey.

Distribution of SAP wines in the mere mortal world of wine traders is based on merit only. A number of slain dragons, rescued princesses and eternally annihilated evil spirits all count, but only if amply documented and proven. We are doing quite well on the dragon-count, however, 2016 will be a very difficult year: almost no grapes survived the rains in 2014, so we are most likely to ‘jump’ a vintage this year.

Tamas KIS from Somloi Vandor Cellar came to Somlo following his heart – and  our hopes were answered in 2014 when it became public that he will stay on Somló for good.Tamas is one of the youngest winegrowers on the Hill. Having great success for two years with his single cuvée wines, in 2013 he expanded his Northern winery and in this vintage bottled some single variety wines, too. Still, for the biggest news, we had to wait till 2014 spring when we learned that Tamas will take over management some of the vineyards of Hollóvár winery.  Three years ago we wrote this about him:  “We are yet to see many of these superb wines being brought to life by Tamas’s hand – our hill gained a true and natural talent with him.” We were proven right. Lajos Takacs’ Somlo heritage could not have been given to more able hands.

One of the most successful Somló newcomer from Hungary’s 2012 wine-year. In 2015, Tamas was elected to be the next member of Hungary’s “Junibor” movement, an association bringing together the country’s young winemaking talents. He is the first one to be chosen from Somlo appellation, and – so far- the only one.

Area: 2 hectares
Mission: To become an integral part of Somló's winemaking community and carry on its traditions as a small family cellar

The Somlóvásárhely-based Szalai family started making wine in 1964. They work on a total of 2 hectares of the mixture of juhfark, furmint and irsai oliver varieties using only natural yeasts in fermentation. Their cellar is big enough to host 20 people at at time for wine tasting. Their first wine  on the market was 2013 Juhfark,  debuting in Somló Wine Shop like many other local small growers.  The wine was matured in oak barrels for a year before bottling. Currently this lot represents only 1% of the total production of the cellar, but the owners aim to increase commercial (in this case: bottled ) quantities to a total of 50% within 4 years.

Area: 50+ ha, on all sides
Mission: "The ars – poetica of Tornai Winery is to use the latest farming- and winemaking technologies whilst respecting old traditions” (source: Tornai Winery)

There is hardly a family in the villages around Somló a member of whose did not know Mr. Endre Tornai – Uncle Bandi – founder of Tornai Winery, and on whose life he did not have some sort of an effect – including the writer of these lines. The charismatic founder has left us recently but as a fitting prize for his lifetime achievement had still a chance to see his vision fulfilling: Tornai Winery, run now by the third generation, is now an essential part of Somlo, the Hill would be unimaginable without them. Finding Tornai wines in our shop makes those guests really happy, who have no time or strength to go over to the other side of the hill to the Winery’s own shop.

Area: 0,5 ha, Nyugati oldal
Mission: A Somló adta lehetőségek elegáns stílusban és nemzetközi minőségben való megmutatása egyetlen pohár borban.

Peter Toth was born and lives in Somló region. He re-cultivated his family vineyard during his horticultural university years from his own student – grants. His thesis for his diploma work was about late harvest and terroir-selection. Peter’s public début 2011 vintage of his now famous “Kőfejtő Cuvée” was chosen to be ”Official wine of Budapest” as soon as it entered the market, and sold out very soon. In 2016 he is introducing his very first single variety wines: Juhfark, Furmint, Hárslevelű and Olaszrizling. His Brand name is “Kőfejtő” – which means Quarry. It refers to the vineyard’s location: it lies next to an old 19th century quarry on Somló’s Western side.

The cellar was founded for all the good reasons. Besides their estates in Tokaj and Villány, the Zsirai family found home for their dreams on Somlo-hill’s Southern slopes. They purchased one of the best-located vineyards. Their first Somlo wines had their début in our shop. The “Somlai” series consists of highly promising, clear and light wines, whilst carrying in their every drop the hill itself. We also sell their Tokaj wines in our webshop.

One of our most popular wineries, with a young, fresh and creative marketing background.