A chat with winemaker Anikó from Tállya Radicals, producer of our Furmint
Anikó and husband Pali at the Tállya Radicals winery in Tokaji (Hungary)
How did you end up becoming a wine producer?
My husband (boyfriend at the time) and I were very enthusiastic about wine. We wanted to create something of our own, to resurrect Tokaji's winemaking fame, to modernise it, invest in the region and to show it off to the world. Winemaking allows us to be creative and build a legacy for our family and the region. We started in 2013 with 2.5 hecaters, and by 2022 we had reached 4.5 hectares. This means around 8-9,000 bottles per year. Winemaking is a slow business; we have to understand nature, what the terroir gives us and how we can serve it best.
Why should a keen wine drinker should visit your region?
The region is known for its famous sweet Tokaji, which has been produced here for centuries. Since the socialist 'dark' period in the 20th century, there's been a new awakening of viticulture and winemaking here. Local winemakers have started putting sweet wines back on the map, as well as experimenting with dry Tokaji wines. Volcanic subsoil and bedrock makes the soil unique, plus there are the two rivers that cross the region creating a special microclimate. So, it's hundreds of years of history and a billion years of volcanic activity that you can experience with a glass of wine in this region.
Which part of the winemaking process do you enjoy the most?
I love the viticulture part. At the beginning of each year I'm always very excited about a new start. I can't wait the to see the first buds - they are so delicate. We care a lot about our vines, which is why we are certified organic. I do lot of long walks in the vineyard, carefully observing the vines, checking how they are developing and watching for unwanted diseases. My husband Pali is the wine blending and aging specialist. He gets excited when it comes to determining which barrel to use for ageing, for how long, etc.
What frustrates you about working in wine?
If there's no rain at all, or if it's raining more than we need. But what's frustrating about winemaking is also what's beautiful about it. Each year you have one hit, you depend on the weather and climate factors, and then your wines become a living thing reflecting the vintage and terroir characteristics.
What environmental practices are most important to you?
Organic viticulture has always been a priority for us. The vines adapt better to climate change if they can fight with their own strong immune system. And in our winemaking we neither add, nor remove anything.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
My husband and I go for long runs. In Spring and Autumn we run half-marathons in different European cities. We love to hike in the forests of Hungary and in the Alps with our son. And we love gastronomy, so our travels are strongly attached to restaurants and discovering new wineries.
Which is your favourite season?
I really enjoy the peaceful silence of snowfall at the vineyard.
What is your go-to music to unwind to?
I love the music of Tame Impala, especially the song Breathe Deeper. And I enjoy Erykah Badu a lot.
What are you most looking forward to this year?
2023 is the winery's ten year anniversary, so I really hope it's going to be an extraordinary vintage like the first one was in 2013.
Furmint is a white Hungarian grape variety most widely grown in the Tokaji wine region. Tállya Radicals' mouth-watering example has the subtle flavours of pear and quince, along with an electrifying lick of limey acidity. Try it here.