Classic cabernet – Kiss Gábor Code 2016

Kiss Gábor (fotó:

I have always had a soft spot for Gábor Kiss’s reds but it never meant uncritical acceptance. Like with most other Pannonian winemakers the name in itself is no guarantee for year in, year out consistency (and by consistency I don’t mean ironing out vintage differencies). Let’s just say that when I’m looking for a proper Villány wine I always start with Wassmann and Kiss Gábor.

Code is just code for cabernet franc, as Enigma is for merlot. In my experience Code has always had the edge over Enigma. This year I didn’t even bother to compare the two, in fact, I wouldn’t even have bothered to taste any of them at all were it not for the recommendation of a friend whose judgement I trust. Sadly, my expectations for affordable South Pannonian reds have hit rock bottom in recent years.

2016 is not a great vintage for reds, certainly it wasn’t particularly „warm & sunny”. That still leaves the door open for balanced, “classic” reds. And of course to doctored, botoxed, “hi-tech” reds too. Thank God, Code belongs firmly in the first category.

There is nothing stunning about this wine. But in the space of three days it managed to convince me that it still holds good promise and it is as “naked” as possible. A wine its maker will be proud of in 4-5  years’ time.

The nose is rather shy, it takes time to coax anything out. On the third day when it was at its most expressive it showed pencil shavings, dark chocolate, tobacco, cherries and hints of green pea pods. The balance was right from the get-go and it is probably the wine’s greatest asset. There is nothing overdone, perhaps the tannins need a little taming but that’s only fair with a youthful cabernet. The palate is brisk and vivacious, with peppery spices and juicy cherries. It’s relatively light and is great to drink. The finish could be longer and could do with more fruit, as it is it’s slightly too tannic and bitter for my taste. All in all, this is a classically restrained and pure cabernet that holds good promise for the future.

5-6 points and by international standards it is definitely uncompetitive at 25 euros.