by Elizabeth Gabay MW
It is hard to imagine today, when looking at the impressive cellars of Attila Gere and tasting his wine, how this enterprise started.
The 1980s was a decade of slowly emerging family vineyards in the Villány region. Gere and his wife received as a wedding gift in 1978 a small vineyard called Csillagvölgy (Star Valley); in 1986 sold his wine in bottles and by the early 1990’s, when communism was collapsing, he was in the right place at the right time and the Attila Gere Winery was established. This generation of Hungarian wine pioneers are forceful characters, who battled Communism and its collapse to create successful wine businesses. Some, including Gere, have become legends in their own lifetime.
Today Gere, runs a thriving 50ha vineyard, with a state of the art cellar, using a blend of technology and traditional methods and two luxury spa hotels, the Ermitage and Crocus, with gourmet restaurants in the town of Villány, his daughter Andrea working with him.
The wine region of Villány lies on Hungary’s southern border with Croatia.
Its south facing slopes benefit from long, hot summers, making it the hottest wine-producing region in Hungary. This hot climate has resulted in the wines of Villány becoming famous for its big New World style Bordeaux blends, such as Gere’s top cuvée, Kopar, which comes from the Kopár hill, home to the regions’ best vineyards. A Bordeaux blend, full of big ripe, opulent fruit, Kopar has become an Hungarian wine icon. His 100% Merlot Solus, is full of perfumed black fruit and powerful structure. Recognising the potential of Cabernet Franc from Villány, he has worked with Austrian producer Franz Weninger since 1992 to make powerful and intense Cabernet Franc wines. The chance to do a barrel tasting showed the range of flavours of the different terroirs and oaks which go in to creating these powerful wines.
His latest venture has been to team up with an investor to produce an entry level range of varietal wines, including the delightfully aromatic Irsai Oliver and Cserszegi Fűszeres wines under the label Gere & Schubert.
Attila Gere has consistently proved, over the past three decades, that he is full of drive and energy in producing wine in his beloved Villány, and the proof is in the glass.
The success of Cabernet Franc has led to this variety being branded as Villány Franc, and the region also hosts an annual international Cabernet Franc conference in November.