The wines of István Spiegelberg, Somló, Hungary
Stunning wines from a special Hungarian terroir


István Stephan Spiegelberg (above) is a German/Hungarian who decided to change lives. In 2007 he moved to Somló, one of Hungary’s (and possibly the globe’s) most remarkable terroirs. It’s an old seabed volcano that just sticks out of a plain, and is covered in small pockets of vines. It’s almost exclusively planted with white varieties although I have had an amazing experimental Syrah from the region.

Spiegelberg was born in Berlin and grew up there, but regularly visited relatives in Somló. His parents brought the farm in 1993. It has no running water, but the two hectare property has a hectare of vines, from which he makes small quantities of superb wines. Winemaking takes place in 500 litre Hungarian oak barrels, with indigenous yeasts.

He was a student of Somló legend Béla Fekete, but he doesn’t make his wines the same way. His belief, though, is that the terroir is so strong that after three to five years the grape variety disappears and the terroir is more emphasized in the wine. As these wines have time to mature they weill change to be wines more similar to Fekete’s – ‘the hill is so strong.’ He says that all Somló wines need time, and the top wines should be opened 24 h before drinking.


Nászécszakák Bora 2010 Somló, Hungary
This translates as wedding night wine, and it’s a blend. The idea is if you drink a Somlo wine before doing the act you are guaranteed a male child. Lovely aromatics are fresh, fine and a bit pithy with taut apples, pear and spice, with some tangerine/marmalade notes. Real minerality here: fine, expressive  and concentrated. 92/100 (03/13)

Nászécszakák Bora 2010 Somló, Hungary
Lovely textured, mineral pear and peach fruit with broad fruity flavours and nice mineral notes. Real finesse here: broad but fine. 92/100 (05/12)

Olaszrizling 2010 Somló, Hungary
Concentrated and lively with mineral and citrus notes. Grapefruit with hints of melon and apricot. Lively and rounded with great precision: a textured, multilayered wine of real appeal. 94/100 (03/13)

Olaszrizling 2010 Somló, Hungary
Open textured with pear, citrus and minerals. This has a nice texture and a really fine mineral character, with some pepper notes. 93/100 (05/12)

Furmint 2009 Somló, Hungary
Lively, intense nose with grapefruits and herbs, together with hints of wax and white peach. The palate is textured and dry with some sweetness to the fruit. Rounded with lovely spice, pear and peach notes. Really long with lovely minerality. Textured and bold. 94/100 (03/13)

Furmint 2010 Somló, Hungary
Distinctive, powerful nose of herbs, peaches and pears. The palate is fruity and intense with taut mineral notes and some pithiness, as well as some tangerine and spice. Nold and lively. 93/100 (05/12)

Olaszriziling Semi-dry 2009 Somló, Hungary
Lively, pithy, citrussy nose with wax and a hint of plastic character. Smooth palate with a sweet edge to the fruit. Stylish and smooth. 90/100 (03/13)

Juhfark 2010 Somló, Hungary
Amazing analysis: 16% alcohol, 13.8 g/l sugar, 9.7 g/l acid, 40.7 g dry extract. Lovely nose of spice and marmalade, with herbs, wax, citrus pith. Intense, sweet palate is very mineral with great acidity and a lovely sweet palate. Lively and fresh with amazing concentration. Remarkable wine. 94/100 (03/13)

Juhfark 2009 Somló, Hungary
Ripe, smooth, off-dry and textured with minerals and pepper. Boldly textured with melon, peach and pepper on the palate and a long, spicy finish. Real depth of flavour here. 93/100 (05/12)

See also:

The Somlo wine region
The wines of Bela Fekete, Hungary

Wines tasted as indicated
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