Interview with the Managing Director of Csányi Winery

by Elizabeth Gabay MW

Laszlo Romsics, a quiet gentle man, with a charming smile, was headmaker and manager at the massive Hungarian sparkling wine producer Torley, for many years, until he moved south to Villany. It is hard to imagine a more dramatic move. From the outskirts of the capital city to Hungary’s most southern wine region and the small, picturesque wine village of Villany.

I caught up with Romsics at Prowein to talk with him about this move and what his plans are over a glass of Chateau Teleki Kékfrankos, full of fresh blue fruit and long mineral acidity.

I asked what had prompted the move, and Laszlo admitted that despite Csanyi being a large producer, he was not aware of their wines. Thwine-imageis surprised the owner, but did highlight the need for more to be done than just making good wine.

Laszlo has now set in motion a ten-year plan, covering everything from field to final sales.

He has launched an extensive programme of replanting 110ha of old vineyards and planting 88ha of new vineyards. This means that their capacity for production will grow, so there are plans to build a new winery, and restaurant within the next two years.
As far as winemaking is concerned, Laszlo expressed some very clear ideas. Coming from a sparkling wine background and with extensive international experience, his aim is to reveal the freshness and power of Cabernet Franc, a revolutionary approach in a region where oak and alcohol still dominate many tastings. He is happy with the focus on Cabernet Franc as the flagship variety of the region, but feels far more needs to be done to define the character of terroir in these wines.

Which brought us round to Laszlo’s final plans. Developing the business and marketing side of the winery. Curious as to who buys the Teleki and Chateau Teleki range of wines, he commissioned a market survey. The full results will come out in early summer, but for now, initial surveys have confirmed that it is a younger market going for Teleki and an older market for the Chateau range. Once the results are out he will work on new label designs with a more vibrant image. Marketing will also refer to the history of the 19th century owner of the estate, Mr Teleki, who spent his fortune working on new phylloxera resistant rootstocks. Teleki 5BB is still used and will be used for all of the 2018 new plantings.

Will the wines change much? A little. Laszlo aims to make great wines which have a freshness, fruit, and structure and remain excellent value for money. Listening to his plans and feeling his enthusiasm and passion for what he does, I have no doubt that he is going to achieve his plans.