The history of the Babits family in the Tokaj Wine Region stretches back to the time of Béla IV (13th century) when Italian settlers came to the region to bring modern technology for vine cultivation and winemaking. The winemaking traditions have since been passed down the generations.
“Someone in the family has always been involved in growing grapes and wine. And they always did it in a quantity and quantity appropriate to the time. And I was practically born into this medium. There are three of us but I am the only one who saw a future and possibilities and love so I stayed here and am still doing it,” told me László Babits, owner and head winemaker of the winery.
Centuries ago the first vine survey classified as First Growth the estate on south, south-eastern slopes of the volcanic Zemplén Mountains. The family vines are in Poklos Vineyard in Szegi, Vay in Olaszliszka, and Kincsem Vineyard in Tolcsva. As the most distinctive wine in the Tokaj Wine Region is Aszú, along with Sweet and Dry Szamorodni, the family starts the harvest in the second half of October as is tradition when the grapes are overripe and the grapes’ sugar content reaches around 24-26 Brix.
“The cellar has a key role in the development of the distinctive nature of Tokaji wines along with the noble rot covering the cellar walls and great tradition of aging in oak barrels. I think we should make what we are good at. Tokaj is very good at Aszú and Szamorodni, and I see our main opportunity in them. Of course, it is difficult because the market is highly saturated. There is lots of great wine both here in Hungary and abroad,” added László Babits, who was deeply affected by his stay in Napa Valley, California.
“I can easily say that I’m mad about Pinot noir. After my visit to the US I started to experiment with it here as it would be good to make a wine with such flavours. I don’t know how to reach the American level that I like yet, but it is a challenge too.”