The vineyards and the terroir

The Tipet "mountain" (Kaszonyi - mountain) in Barabás

Like a fingerprint, every site is unique. The word "terroir" means a combination of the following elements: climate, soil condition and structure, water and geographical conditions, the microbiota of the vines, the soil, and the cellar, and, of course, the human factor. Terroir is defined everywhere in a similar way, but it is the combination and the uniqueness of these latter elements that makes one place so different from the other.

Barabás has a similar climate to that of the Bükk or the Tokaj wine region. It is the geographical and soil characteristics of the place that make it an interesting location (apart from the uniquely diverse wildlife of the mountain and the nearby grasslands, for which it belongs to the Hungarian National Park of Hortobágy).

The southern slope of the Tipet (generally called a mountain in spite of its highest point being 221 meters) is situated on the Ukrainian-Hungarian border in the Bereg part of Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg county, just next to Barabás village. The volcanic hill belongs to the Kaszony-Bégányi hills, with its flat top rising from the Szatmár-Bereg plain.

The volcanic formations of the Szatmár-Bereg plain and its surroundings are estimated to be ten to seventeen million years old, consisting mainly of rhyolite, andesite, dacite and their tuffs. The volcanic hills and mountains of the plain (Tipet-hegy, Kaszonyi Nagy-hegy, Tarpai Nagy-hegy, Nagykőrösi Nagy-hegy), were all formed along a tectonic line, which can be seen as a transition from the volcanic mountain range of Zemplén towards the Nagyszőlősi Mountains.

The Tipet Mountain is built up from three volcanic rocks which are closely linked to each other: vitreous rhyolite lava, to a lesser extent volcanic ashy lava, which formed into perlite when cooled down, and, form the latest eruption, plagioclase rhyolite (tectosilicates or framework silicate minerals). The main mass of the volcanic tissue near the surface is built up by these latter formations whereas the top is covered mostly by loamy loess.

The wines from the vineyards in Barabás are rich in acidity (according to the history of the place, it has always been like that), which is most likely due to an interplay of several factors, not necessarily (not only) the presence of volcanic rocks in the soil. Some say that wines with salty, mineral undertones do not hide but rather balance the fruitiness and are often rich in calcium and magnesium, like mineral waters. Soil microbes make the minerals directly available to a plant, and a healthy and diverse soil culture is more likely to be achieved or preserved by organic or biodynamic agriculture. Root exudates from plants also favor the microbial growth in the soil, and they are more likely to be produced when the plants' nutritional needs are not "easily" covered by i.e. synthetic fertilizers. Also, the age of the vines might have an effect on wine quality and the mineral aroma & flavor, partly because of the old plants' extensive root system stimulates the interaction between soil microorganisms and vines.

Grape vine growing in the area

Histrorical data - unfortunately only post - phylloxera times - suggests that grapes like Fehér and Vörös Bakator, Szerémi Zöld and Rhine Riesling were cultivated here.There were mostly sparkling base - wines produced which were purchased by the State Chamber Cellars of Budafok, famous for their Törley brand. The Királyleányka grape was first introduced to Barabás in the 1920s. The majority of our plantations are of this latter variety, in a field blend with Furmint, Rhine Riesling, Yellow Muscat and Hárslevelű.