Szomolya is not a place one can say they find themselves often. Or ever for that matter. But if you do happen to find yourself in this beautiful land outside of Eger take pleasure in the fact that you have stumbled upon one of the great hidden gems of the wine world. Here you will find Hegyi-Kaló. Don’t look for a showpiece winery, or even a sign: you won’t find one, this is a home. The Kaló family makes its one of a kind wines in their modest cellar hand carved out of the hillside behind their house.
Until 1987, Imre Kaló was employed as a forester by the Soviet government, charged with keeping the land and wildlife in balance. He has since become a legend of Hungarian winemaking. His methods are atypical, cultivating his vines to yield tiny amounts of fruit and utilising up to 100 days of skin maceration for both reds and whites. Imre is now ceding control of the winery to his daughter Julia and her husband Adam, formerly Imre’s assistant winemaker and right-hand man. Many of the wines released are labelled ‘Örökségül’ or ‘heritage’, but the young couple are now forging a winemaking identity all their own.
Hegyi-Kaló produces authentic traditional wines from local varieties, like Leányka, Olaszrizling, Medina, Kékfrankos and Turán. The family estate cultivates the vineyards by historical Hungarian methods, fermenting without selected yeasts, aging the wines in barrels for years without any additives or industrial technology. Before bottling they never use filtration or fining methods and many of the wines are the contents of a single barrel.