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Located on the right bank of the Danube in Komarom County, the wine region occupies the southwestern flanks of the Gerecse Range and its northern plateaus dipping toward the river, as well as the northern foothills of the Vertes and the Bakony Mountains, where the hills meet the Kisalfold (the “Little Plain”).

Aszar-Neszmely has a temperate continental climate with annual fluctuations of temperature far less wide than in the Great Plain. The region is characterized by relatively high humidity, moderate rainfall, and rather low heat quantity and insolation. Spring frosts are infrequent and not particularly severe when they occur. The cool and damp conditions are ideal for the production of delicate aromatic wines, almost exclusively white.

Neszmely and its environs boast a wine tradition going back to medieval times. Starting in the 18th century, a few aristocratic estates took charge of caring for the good reputation of local wines. The second half of the 19th century saw the creation of a model vineyard and winery by the Esterhazy Estate in Csakvar. The scrupulous professional work at this estate paved the way for the official recognition of the Neszmély wine region in 1897. In 1959, the area was subsumed under what was then the Bársonyos-Császár wine region, in a move that reflected the preferences of a planned economy for state farms and forced collectivization. (The name Barsonyos, meaning “velvety,” refers to a low plateau of loess-covered hills north-west of the Vertes Mountains.) In 1977, the wine region Aszar-Neszmely was restored to its former status as an independent wine region to encourage the reconstruction of neglected vineyards and promote quality wine production.

The leading grape varieties are Chardonnay, Rizlingszilvani, and Zold Veltelini, followed by smaller quantities of Cserszegi Fuszeres, Olaszrizling, Muscat Ottonel, Ezerjo, and Kiralyleanyka. The region’s wines, invariably of the high-acid and lean “northern type,” commanded great respect in former times. The most notable examples in the 19th and the early 20th centuries were the Neszmelyi Rajnai Rizling and the Neszmelyi Szemelt Rizling. This latter wine was made from “hand-selected” (szemelt) grapes as indicated by its name. Today, the wines are generally vinified in reductive conditions to retain intense primary aromas and the wide spectrum of fine acids that are so typical of this region.

Area: 1485 hectares.

Climate: cooler than the average, less sunshine, medium precipitation quantity.

Vine varieties, wines: Italian Riesling – fine, nice acid, fits most meals. Leanyka – harmonious, round, suave fragrance and bouquet. Ezerjo – vivid acid, fits heavy, fat meals. Rieslingszilvani – light, fine, primary fragrance.

For more interesting information:
> Hungarian wines and wineregions (authors: Zoltán Benyák, Tibor Dékány)
> Terra Benedicta 2003: Tokaj and Beyond (authors: Rohály Gábor, Mészáros Gabriella, Nagymarosy András)