Richárd Hörcsik, winemaker
PortiusWinery was built on the historic row of cellars on Gombos Hill in 2006, but its history dates back to the 1950s. A special atmosphere surrounds the cellar, which was named after the estate by Robert Wojciech Portius, Polish wine merchant in the 17th century.
The cellar row,one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites in the Tokaj Wine Region,is located on Gombos-hegy, a hill onthe edge of Hercegkút, just 3 km from Sárospatak. The four-floorPortiuscellar, carved in rows above each other, evokes the traditional cellar culture, the way of life of the old peasant world. It’s a beautiful sight itself and a great destination for an excursion, but the fact that you can also taste wines makes the place even more exciting. PortiusWinery was built on this classic row of cellars in 2006.
The winemaker is RichárdHörcsik, the first generation of professionalwine producers in his family. “I did not inherit vineyards nor a cellar nor any expert knowledge. I had to learn everything from scratch. My grandfather was a master cooper in the 1950s, and so he encountered not only barrel making but also wines. In fact, so did I. The love of grapes and wine was reborn in me. At the age of 5 I already had a small glass and I had to drink wine -although I didn’t have a hard time doing it!” says Richard Hörcsik.
“My dad also has a small cellar. He just collects the wines, but they had to be tasted too. So, I was able to quickly differentiate between quality wine and bad wine. Then I noticed that as a student I spend all my money on wines. Of course, I was also a quality, middle and upper class wine drinker. I was already paying as much as I could pay as a student. That was when I went to business college, but one morning I woke up wanting to make wine,”he told us, rememberinghis beginnings as a winemaker. He bought his first grapes in 2003, but the first vintage – without tools and professional knowledge – was not too successful.
“I knew that I had to learn this profession. I applied to the Patricius Winery as an intern. To this day, I am grateful to have been included in the team and to have been shown the foundation of Tokaj winemaking. Now I am an agriculture graduate and a viticultural and winemaking engineer by my degree.
“The winery cultivates 12 hectares in historic vineyards with outstanding assets. There is constant growth; they are looking for areas that are outstanding, so only first-class wines are made. They work with the grape varieties Furmint, Hárslevelű, Sárgamuskotály and Sauvignon blanc.
“My goal while making my wines is to be able to emphasize the individuality of the vineyards and terroirs. It is important to recognize and consciously use the opportunities provided by the vintage. I think that the charm of the wine is given by the terroir itself, the place where the wine is born,” added Richárd, who also revealed that the partly wooden barrels, slightly creamier, rounded Furmint and Hárslevelű wines are closest to his heart.