A French-Hungarian couple brings elegance to Tokaji
Loire-native Stéphanie Berecz arrived in Tokaji, after earning her oenology degree in Bordeaux, to work for the prestigious Disznoko estate. She would then meet her husband Zsolt and in 2002 they decided to start their own project. Together they founded Kikelet (“blooming spring” in the native tongue) in the village of Tarcal, where her husband’s family has been for over two hundred years. Stéphanie and Zsolt currently farm 5 hectares of south and southwest facing vineyards to produce some of the most elegant dry wines in the region.
Location: Tokaji, Hungary
Working with us since: 2016
Total area under vine: 7 hectares
Viticultural standards: organic (non- certified)
Our pick of the best wine from this producer: Kassai Single Vineyard Hárslevelű
Interesting fact: In 2014, Stéphanie was awarded the prestigious title of ‘winemaker of the winemakers’ by her fellow Tokaji winemakers.
The Kikelet vineyards, planted half with Furmint and half with Hárslevelű, sit on volcanic soils covered with a shallow layer of loess. The volcanic terroir, along with the ideal exposition of the plots, produces the outstanding fruit used to produce Kikelet’s pure and mineral wines. The Berecz’s wanted to express the full potential of the native grapes and the specificity of Tarcal’s terroir by focusing on dry, rather the mostly widely known sweet, styles.
How we found them/How Richard found them:
I was lucky enough to be invited on a Masters of Wine trip with Oz Clarke, Peter McCombie MW and Caroline Gilby MW in which we collectively judged over 200 Hungarian wines. Stephanie’s wines came in at number 1 and 2. I couldn’t believe they were not imported to the UK and quickly snapped them up!
The juices ferment in the Berecz family 200-year-old cellar with native yeasts only and is left to mature on the lees in French and Hungarian oak barrels. They thus gain a very special elegance and roundness. The cellar has been carved in the volcanic bedrock providing an ideal environment with balanced humidity and temperature. Some of the wines are left to age for 10 years before bottling and release. Because yields in the vineyard are carefully monitored and purposefully kept very low for best concentration and quality, the number of bottles Kikelet produces yearly is also quite limited: only 11000/year. Each of them is a true product of Stephanie and Zsolt’s love for each other and for Tarcal!