The 2014 tango from the Tállya winery SZÓLÓ is a unique and honest wine. Keeping with the winery’s philosophy an exciting and modern wine was born by relying on the venerable traditional technology of extended ageing under flor yeast film.
From the very beginning the winery has been using modern and traditional techniques side by side and tango spent three years in a quiet corner of the cellar resting in a sealed barrel filled to the top with wine made from hárslevelű harvested in the Tökösmály vineyard. The inspiration came from vin jaune a wine traditionally aged under flor yeast film in the Jura region of France, at the same time it was also important to preserve the traditions of the Tokaj wine region and being true to their own clean winemaking ethos.
There are three places in the world where wines under flor are produced: in France it’s the so-called yellow wine (vin jaune), in Spain it’s the different versions of sherry and in Hungary it’s dry szamorodni.
The film developing on the surface of wine (flor) is the product of yeasts responsible for fermentation. Sometimes extra assistance is needed for the successful completion of the process but in the case of tango there was no need for any intervention. The flor film is conducive to the development of a reductive environment in the wine as the yeasts also consume the oxygen solved in the liquid and the flor film prevents the access of external oxygen.
„Flor is the name of a winemaking technology referring to the yeast film of various thickness forming on the surface of a wine and then remaining in continuous interaction with the wine changing its chemical composition and thus effecting its final aromas and flavours. During the last decade winemakers all over the world have started experimenting with similar technologies not just in the classical regions”, explains András Kató, the Manager of Terroir Club.
2014 was not an easy vintage in the Tokaj wine region, healthy and aszú berries had to be sorted manually which then were left in contact with the skins for 12 hours like in the case of szamorodnis.
The wine was fermented and aged in a new barrel until the summer of 2015 then it was racked over to a used aszú barrel. At this point a decision was made to subject the wine to extended ageing without any further intervention. It was first sampled on Christmas Day in 2016 with special care so that the film sealing on top remained intact. The sample showed that the evolution of the wine was slower and more delicate than expected therefore the ageing should be continued. After another year of ageing the wine was finally bottled in March 2018 without finig, filtering or the addition of sulphites.
„It came as a pleasant surprise that despite the long ageing the wine shows great vivacity and freshness and besides the vibrancy it also has depth, complexity and displays a mature character”, says the enthusiastic winemaker Tímea Éless. „Seeing the workings of the flor was a tremendous experience as the yeast started feeding on the wine and finally arriving at an incredible balance. We are indebted to nature and of course feel fortunate that the flora of our barrels and the cellar enabled us to see through this process.”
It was Tímea’s husband who came up with a name for the wine.
„It’s called tango because the first time we tasted it as a completed wine it reminded me of Buenos Aires. It conjured up the milieu of a downtown joint with its tango dancers, wooden floor, smoke and the intense emotions and tempers. That’s what this wine represents to us”, explains Tamás Éless.
The next vintage of tango, the 2016, is still ageing in a barrel in the Tállya cellar and the Éless couple can hardly wait to find out what route it takes.
Photos: Zoltán Miklóska