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Kapi Vineyard – Where Unique Aszú Wines Thrive

The wines from the Kapi vineyard stand out distinctly from other wines of a vintage. This vineyard boasts noble grapes and exceptional concentration, resulting in crystal-clear, well-balanced Aszú wines of infinite finesse.

In the 19th century, the Tokaj-Hegyalja Album, a publication dedicated to the region, hailed Disznókő vineyards as one of the most ideal areas for aszú production. Kapi’s history dates back centuries, once owned by noble families and later gaining recognition as an exceptional vineyard. The secret behind Kapi’s excellence lies in its ideal location.

Situated on the southern slope of Király-tető, at an elevation of 150-180 meters above sea level, it enjoys perfect sun exposure and has unique volcanic soil enriched by millennia of geological activity. Its location, orientation, and specific soil structure lead to early grape ripening and late botrytization, resulting in extraordinarily rare aszú berries that distinguish themselves from neighboring vineyards.

Remarkable Volcanic Terroir

The Kapi vineyard’s land was underwater in the Pannonian Sea for about 9 million years. The solid base of this area is made up of perlite dacite and rhyolite tuff, which were created due to ongoing volcanic events. Perlite forms when magma with a lot of water erupts, suggesting that the volcanoes were near the edge of the Pannonian Sea. The quick evaporation of water from the lava sped up its cooling process, leading to perlite, a mixture of minerals that break down relatively fast and don’t have a crystalline structure.

Over geological eras with varying climatic conditions, the 10-12 million-year-old bedrock underwent fragmentation and weathering, creating abundant sediment. The deeper layers of the Kapi vineyard mixed with volcanic rock debris, resulting in its heavily clayey character.

The Loess Effect

During the ice ages between 100,000 and 30,000 years ago, the northern areas were completely covered in ice. This ice contained embedded debris, which had the effect of polishing and crushing rocks. Dust from these polished and fragmented rocks was carried by northern winds and deposited in distant areas. This fine layer, rich in minerals, is referred to as loess. In our region, the loess cover is mainly composed of limestone-dolomite with a high calcium carbonate content. Originally, it covered all three hills of the Disznókő estate. Today, its original form can only be found in a few places. It has disappeared entirely from the hilltops and is now mixed and piled up on the slopes and bottoms. As the slope deposits shifted, the dissolved limestone from the loess gradually moved deeper, enriching the mineral-rich volcanic clay soil of the Kapi vineyard.

Due to this loess-limestone layer, even though Kapi is our warmest vineyard, the acidity of the aszú wines from here remains fresh. This high acidity is well-preserved even in hot vintages.

What Makes Kapi Aszú Unique?

The „Kapi-Vineyard” encompasses the upper third of the south-facing Kapi vineyard at Disznókő, spanning an impressive 50 hectares. This premier grand cru consistently yields beautiful aszú berries. The vines were carefully planted between 1994 and 1995. It is important to note that aszú wines are exclusively made from grapes grown in the upper two-thirds of the vineyard. Thus, Kapi Aszú wines are not merely vineyard-selected wines but represent a meticulous selection within the same vineyard.

What sets Kapi Aszú wines apart is their unique terroir, exclusive use of furmint grapes, and meticulous vineyard management. These factors combine to produce wines with a powerful mineral character and stunning freshness.

Typically, we produce single-vineyard aszú wines from the Kapi vineyard in cooler vintages, when the minerality is always present, and the acid structure becomes truly elegant. This is what makes the aszú wines from Kapi ideal for us.

Our Kapi Aszú Wines

Kapi’s aszú wines are only produced in select vintages, showcasing the vineyard’s uniqueness. Over the past 30 years these notable vintages were: 1999, 2005, 2011, 2015, and 2017. Each perfectly showcased the uniqueness of the terroir through the aszú berries. Interestingly, these years presented diverse weather conditions.

1999 is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding aszú vintages in the past three decades in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region. It yielded long-ripening aszú berries. Conversely, 2005 was a rainy and wet year with a late onset of aszú development.

In contrast, 2011 was marked by intense heat and dryness, but the water reserves from the rainy year of 2010 sustained the soil. Botrytization started late and slowly, resulting in a small number of intensely shriveled, exceptionally rich, and highly concentrated aszú berries.

2015 was one of the hottest and driest years in Tokaj-Hegyalja,  resulting in early and perfect ripening. This produced aromatic, full-bodied, and flavorful aszú berries. The second half of the harvest experienced more rainfall, allowing for intense botrytization and the collection of numerous perfectly balanced, aromatic aszú berries.

In 2017, a year characterized by variable and extreme weather conditions, the harvest yielded great wines in quantity and quality. Despite the challenging growing season, the grapes ripened earlier than usual, and noble rot settled on fully ripe berries. This led to aszú berries with a thick layer of botrytis, a creamy texture, and beautiful aromas.

The richness and exceptional concentration of the grapes from the Kapi vineyard give rise to wines with a crystal-clear structure, characterized by perfect balance and refinement. Kapi wines are rightfully reserved for special occasions. They possess a creamy, full-bodied nature and are suitable for extended aging. They captivate with their clean, excitingly spicy finish.

We extend our sincere gratitude to Károly Zoltán Kovács from the Institute of Geography and Geoinformatics at the University of Miskolc for their invaluable assistance with this article.