Where the sun meets the mountains
Sunday 09 January 2022
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Gyöngyös, at the centre of the Mátra Historical Wine Region, has been described as the place ‘where the Sun meets the mountains’. Only 80 kilometres from Budapest, this stunning part of the world is also host to 472 hectares of vineyard, framed by majestic hills under the lush mountains: the gatekeepers of Alföld, Hungary’s great plain. The mountains protect the area from the cold Northern winds, creating an ideal microclimate for vine cultivation.
The range once emerged from the sea as a result of volcanic activity, meaning its soil and geology are perfect for winemaking. In comparison to the other locations on the same latitude, it enjoys more sunshine, milder winters and less precipitation, and the resulting sugar-rich grapes create aromatic, spicy and harmonic wines with high alcohol content.
Sol Montis winery is located in Gyöngyöstarján, at the very heart of the Mátra wine region. Given its exceptional setting, Sol Mantis has always sought simply to create wines that embody and express the character of the land. It is the custodian of more than 100 hectares of grapes, which it tends with the utmost care and professional expertise, combining respect for ancient winemaking traditions with fresh, youthful dynamism.
It’s a family business, with the art of winemaking passing down from father to daughter. László Kovács founded the current Kovács Winery in 1999 and augmented the vineyard inherited from his grandparents with his own land. Since then, the purchase and establishment of new plantations has continued, with a parallel improvement in viticulture.
“We never lose sight of the goal that has already inspired our ancestors: to produce wines that best express the magical diversity of the Mátra,” says László’s daughter Zita, who rejoined the family business in 2011 and now works alongside her father. László is responsible for overseeing the running of the winery and offering professional guidance, while Zita takes care of hospitality on the estate and telling its story to the wider world. Their work is supported by a young and dynamic team, dedicated to the beauty of winemaking.
The same year Zita joined, the winery cultivated and replanted nearly 70 hectares, giving it a total area of roughly 110 hectares. These came fully to fruition in 2015, allowing Sol Mantis to offer an ever richer variety of wines. In 2020, it completed a major expansion of its plant, which now has a capacity of 5,000 hectolitres.
The positioning of the estate’s vineyards makes them most suitable to the cultivation of Irsai Olivér, Italian Riesling and Hárslevelű (Feuille de Tilleul). On the red side, it also grows Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Tempranillo.
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