Alana alana, give me three wishes, I want to be that dirty finger and his sex bitches.....
I can't look at Alana without hearing the inimitable Lovefoxx from Cansei de Ser Sexy singing almost the same name... Slightly distracting, but less so because it's a great song. Oh and the wines are quite stunning.
Alana arrived on the scene with some dash and verve a couple of years ago. They obviously have some money behind them, though this wasn't fully elaborated upon, because they've arrived to really shake up the scene in Mad.
The village of Mad is sort of the spiritual home of the new generation of Tokaji producers. With Royal Tokaji having their cellars only a couple of doors up from Istvan Szepsy's boutique operation. Growers like Gabor Oroz skirt the periphery of the main road and the whole town is dominated by it's most famous produce.
Alana has set up shop on the main street, purchasing in two goes a 900 square foot cellar and 17th century house which they are in the process of renovating. The goal is to have two separate entries, one from the main road which visitors can use and the other at the top of the property for wine making traffic.
They have around 23 ha which is divided into 10ha of Furmint, 6 of Harslevulu, 2.5 of Yellow Muscat and the rest between other varietals like Zeta.
Their policy regarding Oak, as slowly evolved as they have gone on. Always using Hungarian Oak they have moved from Trust with western Hungarian Oak, to Kadar with their guaranteed Zemplen Oak to finally using the local Tonellarie in Erdobenye, where Atilla has found that simply having a good working relationship with some one close has benefited him the most.
In Atilla Gabor Nemeth they have found themselves a winemaker thoroughly up to the challenge. Quiet and thoughtful he's regularly singled out as the philosopher of the younger generation. This might be doing him a slight disservice, but his wines have the rare quality of showing a very distinct character, and one that runs through the range.
Furmint 06 Betsek. Betsek is regarded as one of the traditional cru vineyards, however Atilla is of the opinion that the upper and lower parts differ radically in terms of quality, with the upper half being much better. Sadly their holdings encompass both areas, though the lower part is more likely to suffer from botrytis, so for the dry wines it's mostly the higher fruit.
This had some slightly toasty peach/ripe pear fruit characters on the nose, it is medium bodied on the palette with quite high acidity. There is an abundance of fresh fruit still on the palette which is lovely to see as the wine has spent 3 years in barrel, yet still finishes with fresh clean youthful fruit.
Harslevulu 05, there was about 20% of Botrytis affected fruit in this wine, as such it took a very long time to finish fermenting, however the extra marmelady apricot notes on the nose complement the white flower notes very well, and the slight extra viscocity helps offset the higher alcohol nicely. Again for a wine that spent three years in barrel it is remarkably fresh. Atilla comments that this was a wine he didn't like for most of it's evolution, before finally blossoming later on in its life.
2005 Muscat/Harslevulu blend, one of only 500 bottles that probably wont see a commercial release this was a blending accident that turned out very well. A beautiful golden colour with slightly sticky ripe tangerine notes and perfume on the nose then a marmelade and apricot palette.
2008 Muscat. I've never had a hankering for Passion fruit cheesecake before, it's not something that I usually find myself yearning for. However this stunning sweet muscat succeeded in lighting that particular flame. A glorious confected lime and perfume nose led directly onto a superbly sweet (140g residual sugar) palette that maintained a directness and minerality that succeeded in keeping it fresh.
2008 Kiraly Furmint, at 220g residual sugar this is in the Szamorodni category and from the Kiraly vineyard. There was 30% of Botrytis fruit in the blend, the rest was plain late harvest. Unlike a lot of Szamorodnis this isn't lacking any freshness, and indeed it demonstrates (the bar I'm sat writing this in has just started playing Backstreets Back, by the Backstreet Boys, it's incredibly disconcerting) minerality, fresh super ripe peach notes, a lovely opulent creamy palette and a very fresh finish. For a 100% Furmint sweet wine it is very fresh with really good poise.
It's a great shame that at present Alanas wines are not available in the UK as I think they're a Tokaji hose of the highest quality, their production is still on the low side, so I imagine that when they finally get an importer willing to make the individual hand sales the wines require that the prices will be a long way from the bottom of the price scale.
This is quite simply how it has to be. As wines of this quality only come about as a result of serious care and attention to detail.