The J&J Eger Wine Co. is a partnership between Hungarian winegrower János Stumpf and Toronto-based Master Sommelier John Szabo. After a stint working in Tokaj in the early 2000s, Szabo began to recognize the enormous but mostly unrealized potential in Hungary to make wines of real distinction and class from native varieties.
After a couple of years of prospecting, John met János, a long-time winegrower in the northeastern wine region of Eger, about halfway between Budapest and Tokaj, and explained his vision. János was intrigued and agreed on the spot; he would help John find vineyard land and provide both the year-round grape growing expertise and his cellar facility to make the wine. It was also agreed that each year, the partners would bottle under the J&J label the best of what came into the cellar, whether the grapes came from John’s or János’ vines. The year was 2003.
Now into its fourteenth vintage, J&J have learned a great deal about how to bring the best out of the region’s most planted local red variety, kékfrankós (aka blaufrankisch). They've identified what they believe is the best site in northern Hungary to grow kékfrankós: the Nagy Eged Hill overlooking the town of Eger on the east side. At 500+ meters, Eged is the highest vineyard in the region and dominates the topography. It’s also unique in that it is one of the only limestone hills in an area otherwise dominated by volcanic tufa soils.
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