Heimann: Characteristics of Szekszárd
by Elizabeth Gabay MW
Elizabeth Gabay had visited the Heimann winery in Szekszárd many times, so we have asked Elizabeth to tell us about the winery.
“The Heimann family, originally from Swabia in Southern Germany, arrived, like many others to boost the Hungarian economy after the Ottomans had been expelled in the 17th century. Their family estate was created in 1758, and Zoltan Heimann senior started the viticultural estate in 1990. Today it is his son, Zoltan junior who has taken over the estate, leaving his father and mother, Ágnes (who had been the winemaker) to develop wine tourism and a restaurant at their hilltop cellars.”
But what is so special about Szekszárd?
‘The Szekszard vineyards are located on the range of the hills to the west of the Danube, just north of the most southerly region of Villány. Vines planted on rolling hills along numerous valleys. A patchwork of soils, altitude and exposure give a range of styles wether in single vineyard wines, or in blends.”
Bikavér aka Bulls Blood – from Szekszárd?
‘The heart of Szekszard production focuses on the Bikaver blend (based on Kékfrankos, Kadarka and backed by largely Bordeaux varieties), and single varietal wines Kékfrankos and Kadarka. These wines come in the Szekszard bottle, the guarantee that they are up to the quality and style approved by the producers. Heimann also makes Barbár, a Grand Szekszard, one of a handful of fantasy blends made in Szekszard – a bigger, more intense Bikaver.”
Kékfrankos and Kadarka
“Heimann’s elegant old vine (Alte Reben) Kékfrankos has black inky fruit, blue flowers and spicy tannins, typical of the Hungarian clone. Heimann, working with the university of Pécs is experimenting with Austrian Blaufrankish clones with their more overt fruity style.
However, I do have a soft spot for the Kadarka variety, a passion for this variety shared with Heimann jr. Working, again with the university of Pécs, Heimann has planted many different clones. For me Kadarka has much of the charm of a beautiful Pinot Noir. Fine silky tannins, balanced acidity and vibrant cherry and raspberry fruit – but is difficult to grow. The different clones are an attempt to make it easier to cultivate, while retaining the best of the variety’s character. His Céh Kereszt is made with a blend of clones and has extra complexity of sour cherries, raspberries, strawberries, floral notes and hint of black fruit, aged in old oak to give some extra spicy weight spice, held together by freshness and delicacy.”
A Family Winery
“An estate with long family roots, wines which clearly represent the traditional styles of the region, experiments with clones and natural winemaking, and now the next generation, Agoston Heimann (admittedly only just walking) is ready to move the estate on in another 20 or so years…”