Winnica Golesz

Update on Polish wine

An update about Roman Mysliwiec progress at Winnica Golesz in south-eastern Poland. While this remains a purely academic subject to readers on this board, positive response to my original post encourages me to make this known.

Mysliwiec has had quite a successful harvest in 2000, following a very warm vintage, and produced about 30 hl of wine. Due to favorable climate conditions only 1-2% of chaptalizing was necessary (from 18 to 20% sugars), with Bianca, Seyval Blanc and Hibernal not needing any. This allowed Mysliwiec to reach his target 11.5% alcohol in most of the wines. Yields were higher in 2000 than 1999. The harvest took place at the end of September.

Wines tasted at Wiktor's estate in the Lake district, mid-August (sorry for the delay).

Seyval Blanc 2000

A French-American hybrid crossed by Seyve and Villard from vinifera, lincecumii and rupestris material, quite widely grown in Canada, so possibly familiar to some readers on this board. It ripens late and is notably high in malic acid, so malolactic fermentation is encouraged. It is very productive, gives rather large, compact bunches of sweet grapes. Considered one of the most valuable of classical hybrids, ripens dangerously late for the Polish climate, although the wines so far have been very convincing. Very light golden colour. A cool, fleshy nose with only hints of yeast and shades of ripe gooseberries, fresh onion, lemon zest and lettuce leaves immediately sets this a class higher than the already convincing 1999. What is astonishing here is that the degree of cleanliness which Mysliwiec has been able to reach. Or perhaps it is a matter of some bottle age; previous wines were tasted in March and were still a bit under bottle shock. The palate here is quite focused, suffering just a bit from a high, mouth-drying acidity. The dominant flavours is of lemon peel and citron givré, increasing in intensity and bitterness on the finish. Good, almost creamy texture. The intensity decreases significantly after the promising attack, but for what it is, I believe this Seyval has quite decent length. Malolactic fermentation brought acids down from 8.7 g/l to 6.3. The extract figure is close to 20 g/l. Once again Mysliwiec's most racy, convincing white IMO.

Bianca 2000

This is a 1963 Hungarian crossing of Bouvier x Eger 2, the latter being in turn a clone of Villard 12375; it includes only 7% of non-vinifera genetic material and in Austria it is officially recognized as vinifera and authorised for production of Qualitätswein. Gives cylindrical, rather small bunches; grapes have thick and hard skins giving good rot resistance, and the variety reaches 18-20% of sugar even in cool climates. The thick skins give wines with considerable extract and some tannins, so careful, reductive vinification is needed. Moderate productivity, but ripens quite early and is quite resistant to frosts, making it good material for wine production in Poland.
The colour is slightly darker than the Seyval Blanc. The nose is flowery and spicy, with notes of parsley and lemon as well as double cream, followed by quite interesting hints of flintstone, marshmallow and green apple. Quite intense on the palate, with milder acids and a lemon peel bitterness on the finish which is similar to the Seyval. Grey fruit profile as in Pinot Grigio. Less refined perhaps and not as intense on finish as the previous wine. Here there is a note of goat's cheese in the aftertaste, suggesting possible food matches. But much cleaner than when tasted previously, and already what I think a complete wine. Not bad at all. This has a bit less than 6 g/l acids.

XXX 2000

A new blend without name as yet. 40% Bianca, 40% Seyval Blanc, 20% Alden, blended and bottled 6 weeks prior. Ashy-straw colour. This starts with some dirty socks, raw chicken guts and cigarette ash, followed by marjoram, assorted stems and herbs, and some processed cheese. In a word it is nowhere as clean and sleek as the previous two, though still less upsetting than some wines tasted in March. On the palate it seems a bit watery, but has structure which one felt a bit lacking in the other two; the intensity is good throughout, although the finish is a bit short. Same goosberry and ash register of grey fruit as above. Less convincing now, although the evolution of Bianca suggests we should give this one the benefit of a doubt for now.

Muscat d'Odesse 2000

Pale straw colour. Nose of sweet grapes, quite clean at first, but then the dirty socks note sets in again. Also candied lemon peel, pineapple, sawdust, some boiled eggs. Needs aeration to blow off the funk. On the palate quite intensely lemony, with good acidity and some dustiness. Gets strongly herbal. But a huge step forward for this wine respect to the 1999 version: it is significantly riper while at the same time a bit drier, without the upsetting residual sugar. It will never become my favourite varietal, but clearly can be made into as convincing wine.

Alden 2000

I have no information about this variety. Pale straw colour. The nose is foxy, but reasonably pleasant, with mixed spices and cat pee aromas, followed by melted cheese and a dirty note as of soaked towel. Strongly herbal on the palate, with lots of extract, but quite cheesy and foxy here as well and difficult to enjoy. An oddity.

Jutrzenka 2000

Mysliwiec's experimental variety meaning 'Sunrise'. The nose is quite yeasty, reminiscent of some industrial NZ Sauvignons, with a strong herbal touch over the not-entirely-ripe gooseberry and motor oil profile. Unfortunately quite a cheesy and dirty showing for a wine which we liked quite a bit in March; the cleaner notes are of slate and ash, lemon sorbet, and fresh mint. The palate is highly acidic, with a tannic touch, and quite heady, which is to mean that the alcohol and structure are not entirely filled with fruit. But the finish is perhaps the longest in Mysliwiec's career, approaching European standards, and brings clean lemon peel impressions. Not entirely satisfactory evolution for this wine, although there seems to be some future potential.

As during the previous tasting, I felt at this point that a convincing blend could be made to pick up the best characteristics of the separate wines. An on-the-spot mix of Muscat and Seyval Blanc showed quite cheesy and ashy, but with a quite sleek, interesting structure and, amazingly, some mineral notes finally emerging. Another blend was made with equal parts of Seyval Blanc and Jutrzenka: this became less aggressive than either of its components, with good balance and smoothness. Might be a winning combination in the future.

Sibera 2000

Perhaps a tad darker colour than all of the above. Fresh nose with processed cheese notes and some butter, a touch of lettuce, mown grass and perhaps hawthorn; overall grey and herbal, but much cleaner than when tasted previously, if not for the faintly cheesy note appearing at times. On the palate there is good overall freshness and quite focused flavours of grapes and gooseberry. Attractive parsley note on the finish. Mysliwiec likes this wine very much; at both tastings I found it less immediate and appealing than either Seyval Blanc or Bianca, but it does show promise. Could be used to add freshness and structure to a blend.

Rondo 2000

Medium dark pink colour with some purple. Clean and inviting nose of tar and strawberries, with a touch of milk, seems rather neutral at first, but then develops notes of candy, cloves and juniper. Significantly less tarry and varnishy than when tasted in March. Palate is mainly focused on flavours of sweet, almost burnt strawberry. Perhaps a tad short and lean on the finish. In March we longed for an acidic uplift on the finish, perhaps some tannins, and less residual sugar; while this Rondo has certainly not develop any more tannins and acids than it used to have, it seems now better integrated, especially in the sugar component, and amazingly clean for what it is. There is no denying its weaknesses of structure, and it is and will probably remain for some time a Cerasuolo-type of very light, all-about-fruit red, but the very idea such a beverage can be made in Poland is, once again, a huge surprise. Bravo!

Red blend 2000

Blend of Wiszniowyj Rannyj, Cascade, Medina, Illczewskij and Sebar, mostly Russian-developed grapes at it seems. Made in an off-dry or semi-sweet style, about which I have been less than kind in my previous post on the subject. I am pleased to say this proved quite pleasant to drink this time. The colour is saturated raspberry. The nose is again very clean, with notes of cherry liqueur, freshly picked raspberries, dried porcini, some herbs and cow milk, and a touch of strawberry jam. On the palate the sweetness is now very much integrated in the mild and lean texture. Not very complex, and again one would wish it drier, more acidic, and longer, but a reasonably decent glass of light red.

Conclusions: a very favourable showing for most of the wines. The dirtiness / foxiness, which we thought an innate characteristic of the grape varieties used, has in most cases blown off with time in the bottle, leaving lightweight, still structurally imperfect, but now clearly very promising and clean wines. From Mysliwiec's range I believe the white Seyval Blanc and red Rondo to be already finished wines, apt to be presented to the public. That Mysliwiec has reached such a level of quality with the harsh climatic conditions in Poland, experimental varieties, rather antiquarian equipment and constant bureaucratical discouragement cannot be praised enough.

Nerval 12.03.01

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