DANCH & GRANGER SELECTIONS
Importer of Memorable Wines from the New Old World of Eastern and Central Europe
Importer of Memorable Wines from the New Old World of Eastern and Central Europe

Kikelet, Tokaj, Hungary

“Our goal is the production of Tokaji wines, both dry and sweet, with a uniqueness of character, that are beautiful, elegant and meaningful ambassadors of the wines of Tokaj.”—Stéphanie Berecz

Winery map

At a Glance

2002
http://tokajkikelet.hu/
Tokaj
Cool Continental
Volcanic covered with a layer of loess
170-200m
Low hills and landscapes of vines and forests
Furmint, Hárslevelű
5 hectares
Sustainable
Natural
Stephanie and Zsolt
Stéphanie and Zsolt Berecz

The People

Like her compatriot Samuel Tinon, Stéphanie Berecz is a French eonologist who initialy came to Hungary to work at the Disznoko estate, a property owned by the French insurance company AXA. In 2002, she and her husband Zsolt founded Kikelet Pince in Tarcal near the town of Tokaj, a village where Zsolt's family has been living for over two hundred years. Regarding the winery's name, the story is that Stéphanie didn't want a name containing any of the "funny" Hungarian letters like ű, ü, ö, ő. So they chose Kikelet, which means springtime in Hungarian. Year after year, they gradually acquired different lots around Tarcal (Lónyai, Vati, Farkas, Lestas, Kassai) and today, they farm 5 hectares of south/south-west facing vineyards planted half with Furmint, half with Hárslevelű.


farkas vineyard
The Farkas vineyard

Vineyards

The soil in Tarcal is volcanic covered with a layer of loess. While aszú wines from Tarcal's loess terroir get the right amount of moisture and are known to be particularly elegant, nobody before them had tried to make dry wines in Tarcal. But with limited yield and carefully selected grapes, Stéphanie and Zsolt have shown that they could produce dry Furmint and Hárslevelű that are elegant, balanced, and full-bodied.


Furmint grape
Furmint grape in the Farkas vineyard

Winemaking

The Berecz family house has a two centuries old cellar partially carved into the rock where the wines ferment and mature in oak casks. The winery produces around 11,000 bottles annually, including dry and semi-dry Furmint and Hárslevelű, some from single vineyards or dülős, late harvest wines, Szamorodni, and hand-picked aszú wines.

The grapes are whole cluster pressed. Fermentation occurs with native yeast without going through the secondary malolactic fermentation. The must is then racked and put into French and Hungarian oak barrels. Aging is on the lees. Most of the barrels are about 4 to 10 years old with a few new Hungarian for the Furmint. The Hárslevelű has no new oak to preserve the fruity flavors of the grape without being overwhelmed by oak.

In 2014, Stéphanie has been awarded by her fellow winemakers the prestigious title of „winemaker of the winemakers”.


SIn the cellar
 
KikeletHárslevelű Birtok 2019
White Wine
Hárslevelű;
13.3%
3.3 g/l
7 g/l
The 2019 Birtok Hárslevelű (97% Hárslevelű, 3% Furmint) was hand harvested in the middle of September, whole cluster pressed and fermented and aged in 7 year old oak barrels for 5 months. Big spring rains helped healthy flowering after a drought stricken 2018. Super low mildew pressure leading up to harvest was ideal for the dry wines before humidity kicked in for October Aszú harvest. As any estate wine hopes to accomplish, this is a perfect introduction to her style. Short élevage preserves a ton of primary aromatics, there’s still enough lees time for texture and weight, and given the relatively hot vintages, there’s plenty of structure as well. Sweet acidity is assumed. Bottled in July 2020, 2790 bottles were produced.

KikeletHárslevelű Lonyai 2018
White Wine
Hárslevelű;
12.5%
3.5 g/l
6.6 g/l
In contrast to the Origo blend, Stéphanie never blends anything with Lónyai. This is a stand alone site. Tarcal is usually defined largely by loess soils, but it is of course more complicated than that. There is also chalk, dacite, and perlite that make vineyards like Lónyai susceptible to erosion but not as water retentive as clay. The acids here are sour and need aging, but once they balance out, it’s one of the most elegant and intense Hárslevelűs in the region. Built to age, ideally we drink this 3-5 years after vintage.

KikeletPezsgő Brut 2015
Sparkling Wine
Furmint; Hárslevelű;
12%
5.9 g/l
7.32 g/l
This is our second vintage of Stéphanie’s Pezsgő. She’s one of a handful in Tokaj that does practically everything herself and in house. Primary fermentation in barrel, bottling for secondary in her cellar (2 years on the lees), and hand racked and riddled. The only thing done outside the winery was taking the bottles to be disgorged in the village of Bodrogkeresztúr where they have the machinery. There was zero dosage for the 2015 vintage. 70% Hárslevelű and 30% Furmint, there’s tons of stone fruit, mint, and an immediate Tokaj nose of honey and salt. Brut at just under 6 g/l and around 4 bars of pressure, the bubbles aren’t explosive but persistent and elegant.

KikeletPezsgő Brut 2017
Sparkling Wine
Furmint; Hárslevelű;
12.4%
9.2 g/l
7.08 g/l
Stéphanie is one of a handful in Tokaj that does practically everything herself and in house. Primary fermentation in barrel, bottling for secondary in her cellar (2 years on the lees), and hand racked and riddled. The only thing done outside the winery was taking the bottles to be disgorged in the village of Bodrogkeresztúr where they have the machinery. A blend of 88% Hárslevelű and 12% Furmint, there’s tons of stone fruit, mint, and an immediate Tokaj nose of honey and salt. Brut at 9.2 g/l and around 4 bars of pressure, the bubbles aren’t explosive but persistent and elegant.

KikeletVáti Dry 2018
White Wine
Furmint; Hárslevelű;
13%
2.5 g/l
7 g/l
The 2018 Váti Dry Tokaj (80% Furmint, 20% Hárslevelű) is something I’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on for some time. Much like the Lónyai, this site has been well known since 1540. It’s also a site that needs a few years on it and we can finally afford, both in terms of cash flow and relationship, to be getting some that’s ready to drink now. This was the earliest harvest ever for this wine on the 29th of August. Most of their wines spend 5 months in barrel, but the intensity of this fruit needed a minimum of 7 months to come together. This has the most density of any of their wines, and yet the chemistry doesn’t really back that up. Back to truthiness. This is limited given only 1700 bottles produced, but something very special from Stéphanie and Zsolt.