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HOME page : slogan: ELEGANT, HARMONIOUS AND TERROIR FOCUSED WINES
One of the important elements specific to the vineyards of MAD is that it is located in a basin bordered by volcanic cones. These hills protect the vines from the north and west winds, so, compared to neighboring regions, the microclimate in Mad is warmer, the air has a higher moisture content, both of which favour the ripening of the grapes and the aszu botrytisation.
The local vulcans, former islands in the ancient Pannon sea that covered this area over 10 million years ago, have created very favourable conditions for grapes, with its soil structure, easy drainage and sheltering from harsh elements. The locals «crus», parcels such as Betsek, Kiraly Nyulászó and Szent Tamás have risen to cult status, due to their extremely beneficial characteristics for producing wines of excellent quality and complexity
The Tokaj wine region, home of the legendary «Aszu» wines, is the picturesque north-eastern corner of Hungary. The region has a long and rich history of winemaking, dating back several thousand years. Many historian estimate that viticulture here dates back to Celtic times, before the birth of Christ. This land has seen the settlement of many cultures throughout history. The Romans inhabited the area, followed by the Slavs in the 5th century, the Magyars arrived 400 years later. The area became part of the realm of the Hungarian King and continued to welcome cultures who enriched its viticulture. Latins, Italians arrived to the region, and by the time of the Renaissance, Tokaj was considered a major wine region.
Wines of Tokaj became an important trading commodity, highly coveted by the European nobility. Tokaj wine was famous and desired even by the Sun King, Louis XIV, who after taking it at his court in Versailles, declared it "Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum" ("Wine of Kings, King of Wines»).
In the 18th Century, Tokaj reached the height of its prosperity. Both Poland and Russia had become major export markets for its wine. Such was the importance of Tokaji in Russia, that the Russian emperors maintained a de facto colony in Tokaj in order to guarantee the supply of wine to the Imperial Court.Revenues from the trade of wine increased significantly and played an important financing the fight for independence from the Habsburgs.
The 19th and 20th centuries brought an unfortunate wave of setbacks for the region and amongst other factors, its winemaking. The phylloxera epidemic ravaged in Europe and reached Tokaj in 1885, destroying a vast majority of the vineyards. The political climate, including the Treaty of Trianon, where Tokaj lost a considerably large part of its area, and the events leading up to and including the communist era did not favour the development of the wine culture of the area. However, after the fall of the communist regime, a revival began, known as the "Tokaj Renaissance», and has lead to the phenomenal improvements in the viticulture and winemaking of Tokaj. There are today over 50 wineries producing excellent quality wines, backed by a large number of local growers.
It is no coincidence that this region has thrived in wine culture. Its geography and geology make it unique, and especially suited for viticulture. An array of unique characteristics makes Tokaj one of the most prestigious wine regions of the world.
Vineyards The Tokaj region is composed of fine quality vineyards surrounding the villages of its region, similarly to the patchwork sub-regions of the Cote d’Or in Burgundy. Each has unique characteristics determined by its terroir, including its soil, exposition, and microclimate. BIRO vineyards are located around the Mad commune, one of the most prestigious sub-regions of Tokaj, with 1200 ha of growing area.
Soil The Carpathian basin, in which Tokaj is located, was once a prehistoric sea, The Pannon Sea. Its remnants, the island of the sea, are today's volcanic cones that create the slopes of Tokaj by the rivers of the Tisza and the Bodrog. Its soils are made up clay and loess, which absorbs the heat of the day, encouraging ripening of the fruit. This is complimented by volcanic subsoil, minerals and trace elements, which vary from parcel to parcel, adding a desirable unique characteristic and complexity to the wines.
Microclimate The hills, in combination with the effect of the rivers create a special microclimate in Tokaj. In general, the region enjoys a rainy spring, followed by a long and sunny growing season. The region around the town of Mad, where Biro parcels are located stands out in its favourable geographic characteristics. One of the important elements specific to the vineyards of MAD is that it is located in a basin bordered by volcanic cones. These hills protect the vines from the north and west winds, so, compared to neighbouring regions, the microclimate in Mad is warmer, the air has a higher moisture content, both of which favour the ripening of the grapes and the aszu botytisation. The local vulcans, former islands in the ancient Pannon sea that covered this area over 10 million years ago, have created very favourable conditions for grapes, with its soil structure, easy drainage and sheltering from harsh elements. The locals «crus», parcels such as Betsek, Kiraly Nyulászó and Szent Tamás have risen to cult status, due to their extremely beneficial characteristics for producing wines of excellent quality and complexity
Grape Varieties The indigenous grape varieties of the region are especially suited for its terroir and offer distinct palate to the wines of Tokaj. Furmint and Haslevelu are the main pillars of the region, complimented with Yellow Muscat, Kabar, Kövérszöllō and Zeta. Furmint, whose cultivation in the area dates back to the 16th century can be used successfully as a dry and a sweet wine, through the natural botytisation process. Its high acidity assures its long aging potential, and complexity, as well as harmonizing the intense sweetness of aszu wines. It has the characteristics of a powerful, complex wines. Its characteristic aromas are especially of smoke lime and pear, and its complexity is further developed by the minerals and elements of its growing location.
Cellars A vast system of cellars, carved out of solid rock between 1400 and 1600 add to the uniqueness of the Tokaj region. Reminiscent of the deep cellar system of the Champagne region where the best crus are aged longer to achieve the fines bubbling, here in Tokaj the cellars are filled with the characteristic noble botrytis of the region. Its powerful wines, both dry and sweet are especially suitable for long aging.
Appellation System By the 17th century Tokaj wines were so highly regarded throughout the Courts of Europe that a classification system was put in place, recording the finest vineyards surrounding the 28 villages of the region. It became, along with the Chianti, one of the first areas to develop such a classification system.
The BIRO winery story stems from a passion and respect for the wines and history of the region of Tokaj. Janos BIRO, a medical doctor, acknowledged in the field of research and development has always had a special interest in wine culture, especially for wines of Tokaj. Closely following the viticultural headways of the area, Janos and his family were frequent visitors in the Tokaj for years, getting to know the winemakers and growers. His passion for tradition and excellence, brought him to the city of Mád in the heart of Tokaj region, and in 2001, what began as an adventure in learning more about this region and its wines, led to the purchase of an estate. Since then he has been developing his vineyards, improving the viticulture with the help from that time his vineyards grew to 8ha in famous locations as Betsek, Veresek, Makkos, Danczka.
Janos, in his professional life values the authenticity and elegance, and with his small team of like-minded experts, he is determined that the wines that bear his name reflect that. A trio of Janos’s ensures the authenticity of the wines. Viticulture is overseen by Janos Kubus, a veteran of Tokaj soils and grapes, with a knowledge of the lands that dates back generations. Similarly, Janos Arvay, the winemaker for BIRO is one of the most respected winemakers of the region, his knowledge and experience also passed on from past generations. His daughter Angelika continues the legacy, overseeing the production of Biro wines, as well as their own estate.
Together, owner, viticulturist, winemakers and sales team, our goal is to create elegant, harmonious and terroir focused wines
We have 7 wines....I do not have photos for all, but will soon.
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Elegant, harmonious, terroir focused wines. This is our goal from the caring for the vines, the harvest, winemaking and assemblage, our small team of dedicated experts keeps this goal in mind.
The wines are cared for with the utmost care, as a chef will know, the main key to a fabulous dish is the best quality ingredients. All the grapes are parcel selected and harvested at their optimum, even if that means hand harvesting the same parcels several times. The batches of the individual parcels are vinified and aged separately, so they can all develop individually to show the full character of their terroir. We are careful with the use of oak. While certain parcels take to oak aging very well, others develop the best expression when left to mature without the influence of barrels. We carefully keep track of the developments of each batch.
Once the wines are ready, they are classified and blended through a series of blind tastings. We believe that this small-batch process, inspired by the winemaking practices in champagne, is the most effective way to create authentic, elegant, harmonious and terroir focused wines.