Integrity unharmed – Vida La Vida 2013

The new Vida labels are works of art

I’m not sure I’ve tasted a single Hungarian red from 2013 that I was happy with (or for that matter from 2015). I know that in Szekszárd it was long spells of rain in September that ruined an otherwise promising vintage so I wasn’t really expecting the Vidas to come out with their top wine.

The 2011 and 2012 La Vidas belonged to my favourite Hungarian reds so I approached this wine with some trepidation. My fears were mostly unfounded. This is not a wine to undo the great work going on at the winery but unsurprisingly it is also not on par with its great forerunners.

The nose immediately places it in Bordeaux. There is more than a whiff of bell pepper coupled with the cigar box of quality oak. If you manage to see beyond this quite thick smoke screen then you are rewarded by peppermint, raspberry and wild strawberries. The palate shows a deft hand and good taste: it’s balanced, finely extracted, lively with gentle, chalky tannins. It walks the fine line between gravitas and fun. The finish is slightly bitter but really persistent. Overall the 2013 La Vida is a complex and noble wine that cannot completely hide the difficulties of its vintage but I find this attitude much more preferable to inept adjustments.

If it’s true that grapes for great wines should be harvested just before full ripeness this wine has every chance of achieving greatness.

6-7 points and good value at 15 euros.