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Sanzon Tokaj

A Tokaj Story

Tokaj is full of treasure, just like Sanzon Tokaj – a small boutique winery in the lovely village of Erdőbénye, owned by Erika Rácz and her husband Gergely Jánosi. 3 hectares, organic cultivation, limited selection of wines. Their Furmints won prizes at Decanter and also have been awarded in the TOP 100 competition in Hungary and their Classic Furmint 2015 awarded as best furmint this year. We were asking Erika about their background.

From Law and IT to Wine
Originally I am graduated as economist and has a diploma from university of law as well and working in the IT industry. However as my routes are back to Tokaj Hegyalja (was born and grew up in a small village in Tokaj wineregion) my family always had grapes and wine. With my studies and work I was moving away from the region, but tasting and knowing more about the wines become more important in my life. As part of my job I had a great opportunity to taste and learn more, when for one of my birthday I got a voucher as gift to the WSET course. In 2014, after I relocated back to Hungary, inherited a small parcell of 0,3ha from my parents – this is when we founded our small, butique winery in the lovely village of Erdőbénye and had our first vintage harvested.

Volcanic Terroir 

Today we produce about 5-6k bottles and working on 3ha in 4 different parcell. Since every year growing step by step and buying new terroirs, our plan to grow up to 5ha and produce around 10.000 bottles/year. We are working with 2 major Tokaj varietes Furmint and Hárslevelű, but has a 0,5ha of Muscat Blanc as well. I am especially hopefull of our best terroir called Rány, a very characteristic volcanic terroir where we bring out an elegant and highly concentrated, single vineyard Furmint and Hárslevelű.

Approach to winemaking
We make elegant and unique wines with richness of the terroir and fruitiness of the grapes. No chemicals, farmed with minimal intervention, on a biodynamic way. We believe unique good wines are made keeping the balance of fruity aromas and showing the characteristic of a terroir, therefore we are combining both cold fermentation and ageing in stainless steel and in oak barrels (Stockinger made from austrian oak and Hungarian Kádár made from Zempléni oak).

Export Markets
Currently we are selling our wines only in Hungary but targeting other markets just recently, where the consumers are open for not so popular yet winemaking regions with high potential. As we are producing limited selections, some of them are made only in good vintages, we are selling mainly to wine bars, restaurants and small wineshops looking for specialty and uniqueness.

Award winning wines
Our first vintage to the market was 2015 as from the 2014 we had only limited bottles. We are very proud that from this vintage 2 of our Furmints won a medal in 2017: Sanzon Rány Furmint 2015 – Silver medal at IWC and Sanzon Classic Furmint 2015 – bronz medal at Decanter. Since those were developed very nicely, this year on the hungarian TOP100 wine list deserved a 17th and 20th place and been selected as top 2 furmints within the 5 best.

Next steps…
Since we are pretty new winery, we have lot of plan for the coming years. As a winemaker I am a big believer in Hárslevelű and in the coming years would like to buy some new vineyards to reach 5ha, mainly hárslevelű. Beside to the new terroirs, constantly developing our bio-cultivation technology and continuing to test new methodologies to improve our vineyards natural condition. And hopefuly we could buy and test some new ceramic fermenter for our terroir furmints. Our ambition is to produce high quality, unique wines where every bottle has a story.