The region of Tokaji is the great homeland of Hungarian wine, with a reputation for some of the world's finest wines dating back more than 400 years. That reputation was built largely on sweet, botrytised wines - and it was a reputation almost entirely eroded by years of Soviet rule. Since the collapse of the Iron Curtain in the 1990s, there has been renewed investment and interest in the old vineyards of this region, and the luscious dessert wines have regained their international acclaim. The late-ripening, sharp-tasting Furmint grape accounts for roughly 70% of the plantings, with Hárslevelű making up about 25%. Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains (known locally as Sárgamuskotály) makes up the rest. In the wake of the re-establishment of fine, sweet wine production comes a smaller but equally compelling movement towards excellent dry wines made from these old vines. Attila Homonna, who came to CellarHand's attention thanks to Roland Velich of Moric, is one of the leaders of this latter renaissance.
Jakab Pince was established by Zoltán Jakab in 2007, the year he met pioneering electronic musician-cum-winemaker Attila Homonna. Zoltán asked Attila to vinify his first vintage that year, and since then they have gradually built the winery step by step, purchasing more land and increasing production. The estate’s home is on Padi-hegy, the Jakab family’s original vineyard, while Zoltán also has holdings on Rány, considered by many to be the jewel in Tokaj’s crown. Jakab has been organically farmed since day one, and shares with Homonna a simple, natural, holistic approach to winegrowing.
CellarHand was introduced to the wines of Attila Homonna by Roland Velich, the Blaufränkisch maestro behind Moric in Austria's Mittelburgenland. Attila set his little enterprise up in the village of Erdőbénye in 1999. His
curious, ever-searching nature made him to leave behind the world of marketing and advertising in order to make wine. He was among the pioneers producing serious dry wines from the Furmint and Hárslevelű grape varieties, hitherto better known for producing some of the world's finest sweet wines. Attila farms three hectares in the Határi, Csáky and Rány vineyards in the villages of Erdőbénye and Olaszliszka. He specifically searched out old vineyards planted with old clones of these two indigenous grapes. His vines yield small, loose-berried bunches which are capable of delivering great complexity and intensity.