When Michael Broadbent visited Villány in 2000, he noted, “Cabernet Franc has found its natural home in Villány.” He was right.
Fast forward to 2022. Villány is the primary red wine region of Hungary, which is becoming increasingly well known for producing its signature wine, Cabernet Franc, thanks to the area’s sub-Mediterranean climate, loess and clay soils, and innovative producers who are making Villányi Franc in a variety of styles.
The 7th FRANC & FRANC Forum, an international conference that included a day of masterclasses and tastings and a second day of winery visits and tastings, was held in Villány November 25-26, 2022, in celebration and recognition of Villány’s success on the world stage of Cabernet Franc. Launched in 2015 and held annually since (except 2020), the conference has grown to include other Cabernet Franc regions like Argentina, Bulgaria, California, Chile, Italy, Loire Valley, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, and Turkey.
Photo Credit Zoltán ‘Gadget’ Kiss
During the first day, conference attendees had the opportunity to taste this year’s top 12 Cabernet Franc wines from Villány, where it has three classifications – classicus, premium, and super premium. Wines in the latter two categories must be 100% Cabernet Franc and are labeled Villányi Franc. In the premium classification, the wines must be made from grapes harvested with a maximum yield of 60 hl/ha. The wines are aged in oak barrels for at least one year and are made to be aged in bottle. Super premium wines must be made from grapes harvested with a maximum yield of 35 hl/ha. The wines are aged in oak barrels for a minimum of one year and in bottle at least one year.
Top Villányi Cabernet Francs Classicus Péter Bakonyi Villányi Cabernet Franc 2020 Tamás Lelovits Villányi Cabernet Franc 2019 Fritsch Villányi Cabernet Franc Barrique 2019
Premium Agancsos Capitalis Villányi Franc 2018 Vinatus Villányi Franc 2018 Gere Attila Winery Villányi Franc Csillagvölgy 2018 Bock Villányi Franc Fekete-hegy Selection 2017 Sauska Villányi Cabernet Franc 2015 Jekl Villányi Franc 2013
Super Premium Tamás Riczu Villányi Franc 2018 Csányi Teleki Tradíció Villányi Franc Kopár 2017 Mokos Villányi Franc 2017
Photo Credit Zoltán ‘Gadget’ Kiss
Participants also tasted the 12 gold medal wines listed below from the first annual Franc du Monde international wine competition held June 10, 2022. Renowned international wine experts, including Masters of Wines, judged 101 entries from eight countries – Argentina, Croatia, France, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Turkey.
Top Franc du Monde Wines
Classicus Vylyan Cabernet Franc Variáció 2020 barrel (Villány) Fritsch Villányi Cabernet Franc 2019 (Villány)
Premium Günzer Tamás Bocor Villányi Franc 2019 (Villány) Bodri Szekszárdi Cabernet Franc “Dűlő” Válogatás 2019 (Szekszárd, Hungary) Tajna Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Franc 2019 (Slovakia) Blum Villányi Franc 2018 (Villány) Havas & Timár Franom 2018 (Eger, Hungary) El Enemigo Cabernet Franc 2016 (Argentina) Csányi Teleki Tradíció 1881 Villányi Franc Kopár 2017 (Villány) Bock Villányi Franc Ördögárok Selection 2015 (Villány)
Old Vintage Csányi Chateau Teleki Villányi Cabernet Franc 2002 (Villány) Bock Cabernet Franc 1993 (Villány)
Photo Credits Zoltán ‘Gadget’ Kiss
In addition to tasting the award-winning wines, key industry experts Dr. Stefano Dini, Ipacs-Szabó István, Ignác Ruppert, Horkay András DipWSET, CEWI, Peter McCombie MW, and Pasi Ketolainen MW led masterclasses on Villány terroir and viticulture, the ripening process of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Franc in the Loire Valley, and Cabernet Franc in Argentina.
Founders of FRANC & FRANC launched the conference for two reasons. Firstly, as Michael Broadbent wisely observed over 20 years ago, Cabernet Franc thrives in Villány where it is currently 14.5% of the black grapes grown in a region that has 52 total grape varieties. Secondly, Villány producers want to learn more about Cabernet Franc as a single variety in its most notable regions worldwide. As evidenced by the breadth and depth of this year’s program, the top Villányi Francs, and the gold medal wines from the first annual Franc du Monde wine competition, FRANC & FRANC remains a relevant international conference and Villányi Franc continues to prove itself as a growing force in the world of Cabernet Franc.
Republished with permission. Originally published by Elizabeth Smith at this link.
Dr. Elizabeth Smith is a former college professor and wine club manager turned award-winning wine writer and wine and writing competition judge. Her day job is wine and winemaker copywriter at Naked Wines USA. Elizabeth is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International Sacramento and Sonoma Chapters, the Circle of Wine Writers and the Food, Wine, and Travel Writers Association. Connect with Elizabeth at easmith.net/contact.
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