Frisecco Irsai Olivér – New Release Bubbly By Frittmann

8th August 2023

Frisecco Irsai Olivér New Release Bubbly By Frittmann

Wine of the Weekend

Would you like to convert your young adult daughter from a ready-made-drinker to a winelover? Start with Frisecco Irsai Olivér by Frittmann Winery! Grape flower, peach, ethereal body, creamy bubbles, low alcohol – an ideal summer wine with refreshing carbon dioxide.

Olivér – a gentle gentleman

Irsai Olivér is a Hungarian made crossing between Pozsonyi Fehér and Csabagyöngye grapes – see the story of the name below. It belongs to the aromatic grapes with intense, crispy, juicy table grape aromas and flavours. It can get overwhelming and too aromatic, the key is the proper day of the harvest. Frisecco Irsai Olivér is an aerated sparkling wine, hence the name Frisecco, referring to the family name and the “prosecco-like” style.

Frittmann wines are available in several countries. In the United Kingdom Frittmann is imported by MALUX.

How to make a good Irsai Olivér?

It is indeed easy to work with Irsai Olivér, says Tamás Frittmann, but he adds that for a great Irsai you need serious professional background. When Irsai became popular, a huge amount of Irsai got on the shelves, but – according to Tamás – many of them “lacked the heart”. The Frittmanns respect these easy-to-make varieties as well, even though it is hard to achieve accolades with them at wine competitions. They are not meant to win gold medals, however, they are still celebrated – by the consumers. “A full bodied red wine is more likely to win even if it is not outstanding in its flight, while for a light white wine it is not enough to be great, it must be unforgettable as well” – says Tamás. And what’s the secret of the great aromatic wines? Visit the Frittmanns and they will explain. Just some hints: canopy management meaning not thinning the leaves, early harvest to retain acidity – and many others.

Frittmann Generosa

The Frittmann family really has the craft to make great wine out of grapes that are not even appreciated by others. Generosa is a cross between Ezerjó (important in Mór and Kunság wine regions) and Piros Tramini (Savagnin Rose). This pink-berried cross was obtained in 1951 by Bíró Károly in Hungary, tested since 1976 by Edit Hajdú at the Kecskemét viticulture research centre, and finally christened Generosa in 2004.

Desperate gambler or respected professor? The real story of Irsai Olivér

Irsai Olivér is a crossing created by Pál Kocsis in 1930. There are several legends of the naming of the grape, one says that Kocsis was a passionate gambler and he gave away the name of the crossing due to his massive debt.

Another story – similar to the previous one – is that Kocsis had habits of that of a rich nobleman, spent a lot of money in pubs, drank till dawn – and his faithful carter took him home after the whole night drinking session. And he was so grateful to him, that he named his grape after his servant. Well, this story is probably a misunderstanding of Pál Kocsis’s name – Kocsis literally means carter / driver, and maybe the confusion is the lack of proper information.

The truth is none of the above stories: Irsai Olivér was the son of a respected wine merchant, and the wine merchant was a good friend of Kocsis. Kocsis did not want to give his rather simple name to the new grape – which is aromatic, even flamboyant, so it has nothing to do with simplicity. Kocsis showed a great respect towards his wine merchant friend, who happened to have a lovely son with a fairly interesting name – so that was it! The grandson of Irsai Olivér still lives in Szeged.

Ripening early, Irsai Olivér gives a very aromatic, intense wine with grapey aromas, delicate spices. Easy drinking wine with medium-low acidity and alcohol, almost always vinified reductively for instant consumption. Irsai is planted widely in Hungary due to its popularity. Wonderful examples of the grape are produced in Kunság region, where the best winemakers can keep the aromatic character of the variety under control: not too perfume-like, aromatic, but still elegant. Also popular in Mátra, Balaton, Pannonhalma, Etyek–Buda, Neszmély, Sopron.

Ágnes Németh

Hungarian wine writer living in Penedes (Spain), in the heart of bubble production. Apart from passionately promoting Hungarian and Spanish wines, she constantly travels and tastes wine wonders of the world.