A few words from Zoltan Demeter...
"When in the flea market I take an old lamp in my hands I can't help wondering why the master formed its socket to last for 200 years, even though he had only 30 left - and today why doesn't this attitude permeate the world. I just simply cannot live my life among modern newly constructed things. The old things are around me to fill me up with the spirit they preserve - so that my movements may then be temporal as a sip of wine tasting - have such effects as the old masters' works, which are able to provide the importance of our being here"
Once in a while there comes along a very special winemaking talent that is not only changing the face of a grape variety and his region but the world of winemaking in a global sense. That exceptional talent is "Zoltan Demeter" from Tokaj in Hungary and the grape variety is Furmint, vinified dry instead of sweet. On my recent tour of northern Hungary I visited the very best estates in Tokaj and Eger wine regions, names such as Istvan Szepsy, Anthony Hwang, Tibor Kovacs, Attila Homonna and the wine legend that is Imre Kalo, the great wine philosopher. I was also joined by Hungary's no.1 winewriter, critic and owner of Hungary's premium wine magazine "Laszlo Alkonyi" for my visit to Tokaj. From my research I had gathered that Tokaj was changing and I was intrigued to understand more about dry Tokaj in particular. After visiting the very top producers of the region I asked each winemaker the same question "what is the future for the Tokaj region?" and the name on everyones lips was "Zoltan Demeter".
Zoltan obtained his professional winemaking qualifications partly in Budapest University and partly in the USA followed by wine studies in France and the UK. Around 1993 he started his apprentiship as a winemaker, working for the great and good in Tokaj, forging an enviable reputation and understanding of its terroir and what it can produce. His ultimate goal was to build the greatest knowledge and practical experience but also to fund the purchase of small vineyard plots that would one day lead him to owning his own winery. It did not take long, by 1996 he started making wine as a hobby in addition to working full time for Kiralyudvar. Bit by bit he become the most sought after winemaking talent in not just Tokaj but the whole of Hungary, some would even say he is eclipsing the great talent of Istvan Szepsy (and that came from the mouth of Szepsy himself during my visit). By 2005 Zoltan had completed his time at Kiralyudvar and was now in a position to launch his own winery and begin the journey that god had placed him on earth to do.
Zoltan now owns 7ha of vines in 7 different vineyards in 5 communes of Tokaj but currently only vinifies about half of this. What sets Zotan Demeter apart from the others is his sheer focus, meticulous attention to detail, consistency and above all the hard work and dedication over and above anything I have ever come across before. He has a serious mind and approach to his work, so much so it took me about 2 hours to break him down into a smile and relax a bit! He has no room for error in his work and his make up is very complex and he speaks as a seasoned wine philosopher. He talks with great enthusiasm and everything he knows has been learnt from the land and each and every step he makes is planned in a very detailed, structured and regimental fashion. The man is intense and almost overwhelming to spend time with, however, after relaxing at his home (with a wonderful cabbage stew I might add) on a warm summers evening you begin to unravel this master and reveal the beauty of a very special winemaking talent in front of you.
His wines dance on your tongue to reveal the secrets of the Tokaj terroir and unlock the special message hidden inside of them but only to those who are willing to savour the beautiful flavours long enough. The dry white wines of Zoltan Demeter are a very special experience indeed and I would even go as far to say that they could challenge (in a blind tasting) some of best Grand Cru white Burgundy anyday. A big statement yes but let us not forget that with Zoltan Demeter you are experiencing one of the greatest talents in world winemaking today.
Please note Sweet ANET as reviewed by The Wine Doctor is available by Special Order - please call Jason on 01223-265589 or email firstname.lastname@example.org