Vína Herzánovi

Minimal Winemaking, Maximum Biodiversity

 

Quick facts:

Location: the village of Kobylí, Moravia, Czech Republic

Owner & winemaker: Jakub Herzán with sister Zuzana and girlfriend Sandra

Vineyard area: 4.3 hectares (= 11 acres), estate-owned

Vineyard management: practicing organics and biodynamics (transitioning towards certification)

Soils: humus soils on loess subsoil, sand

Main varieties: Gruner Veltliner (Veltlínské zelené), Muller Thurgau, Cabernet Moravia, St. Laurent

Annual production (approx.): 25,000 bottles

Winemaking: sparkling wines made as pet-nats, whites and reds made in French oak barrels, qvevri and tanks. Spontaneous fermentation only, no filtration, little to no sulfur added.

 

Fun facts:

  • The Herzánovi winery started as a small family affair in 1997 when Jakub and Zuzana’s father planted their first wines in Kobylí
  • The current generation took the helm of the family estate in 2012, faced with a sudden challenge after Mr. Herzán’s Sr. untimely death
  • Jakub and Sandra are both trained winemakers who met while studying at the winemaking college in the nearby Lednice
  • Part of the wines are made in Georgian qvevri, as a consequence of Jakub’s PhD. research on maceration and its influence on wine
  • The trio are strong believers in biodynamics and count among the founders of the Czecho-Slovak Demeter group  

 

Jump to wines | Víno Herzánovi Instagram 

 

“Well, I guess most of the locals think we’re the weird ones,” laughs Jakub Herzán when asked about how many natural winemakers besides them you’d find in Kobylí (one, to be precise). Similar to their fellows from the Dlúhé Grefty winery (that we also import), Jakub, his girlfriend and fellow winemaker Sandra and his sister Zuzana are a stubborn natural wine “island” in a village otherwise dominated by a huge conventional winery. And just like Jara Tesařík in the nearby village of Mutěnice, their approach (and beautiful wines!) speak of dedication to respectful winemaking, a vision that we immediately felt attracted to. 

The trio works with 4.3 hectares of vineyards planted by Jakub’s father from 1997 onwards, all pretty much on the same south-oriented hill with fertile black soil on loess. After Mr. Herzán Sr.’s untimely death in 2012, Jakub and his sister Zuzana, although young and inexperienced, suddenly found themselves responsible for the estate. Jakub had only just begun studying winemaking college back then and had quite a lot to take in at once; but, led by his innate belief in environmental sustainability and influenced by the natural wine movement that many of his classmates became part of as well, he gradually landed on his feet and started to make wine in a more and more natural way, both in the vineyard and in the cellar located under the family house. 

The winemaking is really minimalthe wines ferment solely with indigenous yeasts, mostly age in used French oak barrels and nothing but grapes is used in their pet-nats and off-white label wines. The only exception are the “Black Label” wines, which receive a small addition of sulfur at bottling in order to preserve a “more polished” character compared to the funkier part of the range. Jakub’s interest in skin-contact also led him to purchase four qvevri in Georgia back in 2016; this PhD. research tool has been buried in his garden and has served as a fermentation/aging vessel for a part of Herzánovi’s wines ever since. 

“This light hand in the cellar wouldn’t be possible without respectful viticulture, leaving enough natural yeast and nutrients both inside and outside the berries,” the winemaker asserts the belief that led him to turn the estate fully organic in 2016 (Herzánovi are in a transition period for the certification at the time of writing). Since then, they have also been implementing more and more biodynamic methods and even co-founded the Czecho-Slovak branch of Demeter. “Each year we add something new to observe the influence on our land and wine. We want to give the soil and plants all that we can, live in close contact with them, and limit the impact of our viticulture,” Sandra confirms. 

Sandra met Jakub while studying at the same winemaking college a couple of years ago, sharing an interest in holistic, respectful agriculture among others. Together, they now patiently work towards sustainability and self-sufficiency, one step at a time: “We’re currently looking for a field where we could start our own compost since our garden is not big enough. But the biggest dream is having a horse to help with the vineyard work, although that’s still a bit far away as we’d need to have double the current vineyard’s size,” the winemaking couple outlines, describing a sandy parcel they are eyeing as perfect for Riesling. “It’s not easy to get new vineyards in Kobylí, as the “mogul” winery historically owns most of the land here. But that’s OKwe’re in it for the long run,” they add with calm determination and we can’t help but do our best to help this dedicated young trio to reach their sustainable dreams as soon as possible.

 

 Wines


Herzanovi Pet-Nat MT SBHerzánovi Pét-Nat Sauvignon Blanc & Müller Thurgau — Back to the top

Grape: 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 50% Müller Thurgau

Vineyard: loess with sand and humus, planted in 2002

Cellar: the grapes were harvested together by hand and gently pressed with stems after few hours of maceration. The juice is bottled while still fermenting (indigenous yeast only), to finish the fermentation in bottles as pet-nat. Undisgorged, unfined, unsulfured.

Personality: cloudy aromatic fizzy fun! “The fermentation was really fast, so the wine didn’t have a lot of time to sediment”, the creators explain – and we predict that given its chuggability, this wine won’t spend much time in your glasses and bottles either.


Herzanovi Pet-Nat MullerHerzánovi Pét-Nat Müller Thurgau — Back to the top

Grape: Müller Thurgau and a tiny bit of Riesling

Vineyard: loess with sand and humus, planted in 2002

Cellar: the grapes were harvested by hand and gently pressed with stems after few hours of maceration. The juice went through alcoholic fermentation (indigenous yeast only) while waiting for the Riesling to be harvested; once the Riesling juice started the fermentation, it was added to the Müller Thurgau and bottled right away, to finish the re-fermentation in bottles. Undisgorged, unfined, unsulfured.

Personality: playful and accessible. The Riesling addition, however tiny (2%) provides zing and energy to Muller’s primary floral-fruity aromatics; what a successful marriage.


Herzanovi Pet-Nat RoséHerzánovi Pét-Nat Rosé — Back to the top

Grape: Cabernet Moravia, St Laurent

Vineyard: loess with sand and humus, planted in 1989 (Cabernet Moravia) and 1997 (St. Laurent)

Cellar: the grapes were harvested together by hand and gently pressed with stems after few hours of maceration. The juice is bottled while still fermenting (indigenous yeast only), to finish the fermentation in bottles as pet-nat. Undisgorged, unfined, unsulfured.

Personality: high-jump into ripe red berries, with an extra layer of delicate spice.


Herzánovi Gruner Veltliner Black Label — Back to the top

Herzanovi Veltlinske ZeleneVarieties: Gruner Veltliner

Vineyard: loess with sand and humus, planted in 1997 and 2009

Cellar: the grapes were harvested by hand. 15% spent 9 months on skins in qvevri, 25% fermented in stainless steel tanks (few hours of maceration in the beginning), and 60% fermented in older (5th use) French oak barriques. Bottled with a little bit of sulfur (total sulfur in bottle 38ppm).

Personality: a compelling image of its grape variety. This Veltliner is juicy (think pineapple, ripe apples, Meyer lemon) and pleasantly peppery.


Herzánovi Amfora — Back to the top

Herzanovi AmforaGrape: 60 % Pálava, 40% Traminer 

Vineyard: loess with sand and humus, planted in 2004 (Pálava) and 2012 (Traminer)

Cellar: the grapes were harvested by hand, destemmed, and put in qvevri (clay amphora) „buried“ in the garden outside, to let the wine experience the natural temperatures. Alcoholic fermentation before winter, malolactic once nature warms up again in spring. After 9 months on the skins, the wine was ladled by hand into the press, gently pressed, left to sediment, and bottled without fining, filtration, or addition of sulfur. 

Personality: you get what you expect here – an intensely aromatic skin-contact white, with layers of tropical fruit and chai spices. 


Herzánovi Modrý Portugal   — Back to the top

Herzanovi Modry Portugal

Grape: Modrý Portugal (Blauer Portugieser)

Vineyard: loess with sand and humus, planted in 1997

Cellar: After the manual harvest, the grapes were destemmed and fermented as whole berries in open-topped tanks for 2 months. Once pressed, the wine spent 10 months in older French oak barrels of various sizes. Blended, naturally stabilized by sedimentation and bottled without filtration or addition of sulfur.

Personality: red as we like it! Soft tannins, playful acidity and dark berry tones, gentle spicy tang and only 10.5% ABV. 


Herzánovi Dornfelder   — Back to the top

Herzanovi Dornfelder

Grape: Dornfelder

Vineyard: loess with sand and humus, planted in 2004

Cellar: after the manual harvest, the grapes were destemmed and fermented as whole berries in open-topped tanks for 2 months. Once pressed, the wine spent 10 months in older French oak barrels of various sizes. Blended, naturally stabilized by sedimentation and bottled without filtration or addition of sulfur.

Personality: Dornfelder is known for its super-dark color and deep fruit/earthy notes and that’s exactly what you’ll get here – think blueberry, blackberry and cooked plums.