95 points Wine & Spirits
"While Hungary’s Tokaj region is known primarily for wines made from the furmint grape, it’s not the only variety grown there. At Kikelet, Stéphanie Berecz shows off the charms of hárslevelü. The Loire native came to Tokaj just after her oenology studies in Bordeaux to work at Disznókó, a French-owned Tokaji house where she met her future husband, Zsolt; the two now farm 12 acres of vines in Tarcal. The area stands out for the depth and richness of the loess that overlays volcanic rock, a combination that Berecz has found conducive to growing great hárslevelü. This 2018 supports that belief: Whole-cluster pressed, fermented with ambient yeasts, and rested five months on the lees in used oak barrels, the wine sings with sweet, honeyed peach and rose notes, even as it tastes totally dry. The flavors point to warm places, with notes of rambutan and star fruit, while the acidity keeps the wine juicy and vivacious. It’s a thirst-quenching pour for something spicy, like a vegetable curry; it should also age well."
Vinous Reverie Notes
Importer: 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. 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.