Brut Millésimé, 2022
We are about to create an elegant sparkling wine
A lot of finesse is needed to create a vintage sparkling wine. The 2022 grapes were harvested early in mid-September rather than the normal late October at the CZURDA vineyard in Győrszemere, due to unusual weather conditions. The grapes harvested were ripe and flawless and retained their lively acidity to form the perfect basis for a vintage sparkling wine – millésimé, a great vintage. The CZURDA Riesling Brut Millésimé, 2022 is a new venture for Henrik Czurda, who will use the classic bottle fermentation, the méthode traditionnelle. And as we have come to expect from Czurda, he will not leave quality to chance.
The base wine is already made
The grapes, harvested by hand and immediately graded, were gently pressed whole, so the wine came out of the steel tanks fresh with lively, vibrant, citrus-laced acidity and crystal-clear aromas after the first fermentation. The quality of the base wine is already impressive. It has a deep straw color and smells of peach, mango, and grapefruit, with hints of thyme. The typical riesling aromatics detected on the nose are also reflected on the palate. Its character and liveliness are impressive and form the optimal starting material for an excellent Riesling sparkling wine. While the condition of the base wine is indispensable for the quality of sparkling wine, it is still far from sufficient to produce a true vintage sparkling wine, as Henrik Czurda envisions it.
Work on the sparkling wine has also already begun
Sektkellerei Szigeti makes the sparkling wine in Gols in Burgenland, Austria. They bring many years of experience, unbridled passion, and state-of-the-art technology. Their sparkling wines are famous, and their name guarantees an exceptional product will be created.
Czurda Riesling Brut Millésimé is made using the méthode traditionnelle, a much more complex process than the simpler tank fermentation for mass production offerings. After the first fermentation, the wine is bottled in the final sparkling wine bottle. Some sugar and yeast are added for the second fermentation, which takes place in the sealed bottle. We plan to keep some sparkling wine on the lees for 36 months. The yeast cells will give the sparkling wine a particularly fine aroma and complexity during this time. This extended aging on the lees is essential to create the delicate stream of elegant bubbles, making a truly great sparkling wine unique.
Next, it’s time to move the bottle! The yeast settles in the bottle’s neck through regular turning and gentle shaking. The neck is then immersed in a cold -22°C liquid, so the sparkling wine freezes with the yeast and forms an ice bubble. The crown cap is opened, and the released pressure of about six bar causes the frozen yeast plug to shoot out, known as disgorging.
This is replaced by a small liqueur d'expedition during dosage. This mixture will give the Czurda Riesling Brut Millésimé its final taste. The bottles are then corked and wired. After labeling and the necessary storage time, the vintage sparkling wine will finally be released to the trade.
But Henrik Czurda does not stop there. He also plans to release a limited edition onto the market. This selection will be on the lees not for 36, but for 60 months. Thus, a limited batch will be launched in about five years aimed at top champagne lovers. The finesse and elegance of the delicate bubbles of this sparkling wine depend largely on how long the wine is on the lees. Traditional sparkling wine production in Hungary dictates only nine months of bottle fermentation. In contrast, the Millésimé Limited Edition will be aged for 60 months. While this is substantially costly and time-consuming, it makes a massive difference in quality!
Henrik Czurda has been committed to high quality from the beginning of his wine-producing journey. Year after year, he has set out to produce the ideal wine of the excellent quality from high-quality grapes. Over the years, he has earned his customers’ trust, especially top gastronomy sommeliers, and his wines have received 92 points from Robert Parker, among many other awards. For Czurda, getting the maximum out of each gift of nature is more important than producing the same style with a different quality year after year.
In addition to quality, naturally sustainable and environmentally friendly cultivation is his top priority. The vines grow on steep south-facing slope provides ideal sun exposure and warm winds that dry out the autumn humidity. This allows the use of pesticides to be kept to a minimum.