Vivien UJVARI, winemaker at the Barta estate in Tokaj, tells us about her 2022 vintage, in a few points similar to 2018: a hot and dry year, with sometimes stressed vines, for a promising final result.
Located in northeastern Hungary, the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region stretches between the Tisza and Bodrog rivers, benefiting from ideal conditions for the development of the famous Botrytis cinerea fungus, which develops its noble rot on the grapes, giving the famous aszú berries. Only wines produced in this region may bear the name Tokaj, which is a protected denomination of origin.
After a mild winter with very little rain, the spring bud burst arrived towards the end of March, as usual in the region. This was followed by fairly heavy rainfall (30 to 40 mm) in April, then no rain from flowering in mid-May until the end of July. « There was virtually no need for canopy management this year as the vines showed below average growth vigor. »
Due to the drought, much of the future harvest was lost to wildlife. Because for lack of water in the hills, the wild animals descended from the forests to quench their thirst by eating the buds and the leaves, and later, some grapes. Conversely, fungal diseases did not develop and the growing season was calm from a pest control point of view.
To overcome the lack of water, the soils were loosened and aerated, to allow more efficient absorption of nutrients. « You can clearly see that wherever growers loosened the soil, shoots grew higher. »
Most of the plots ripened very early and the still wine harvest – for the Egy kis Furmint and Furmint Öreg Király Dűlő cuvées – took place in two weeks, in the second half of August, exclusively with healthy bunches.
« As we started harvesting early, with nice acidity in the berries, I think the wines will have good aging potential. At this stage of fermentation, the juices develop lots of citrus and tropical aromas, both in vats and in barrels. »
Some plots have been deliberately set aside for szamorodni and aszú. Botrytization has just started in mid-September. « Finger crossed for a good Aszú year! », concluded Vivien, very confident about the quality of this 2022 vintage.
©Photo credit: Barta