Interview With Glass of Bubbly Writer – Marco Barbieri

5th June 2024

Glass of Bubbly Writer Interview With Marco Barbieri

The World of Wine is beautifully showcased by some very passionate people, who love to write and share their knowledge and experience of wine just as much as they love to taste it, in this feature we speak with an incredible Glass of Bubbly Writer living in Hungary, Marco Barbieri, you can discover his fantastic feature on The Renaissance of Hungarian Bubbles here, and we can’t wait to share his next feature, so without further ado, let’s find out more about An Italian Guy In Hungary and his life in the wine industry.

It’s Great To Speak With You, Marco, Can You Tell Us About Yourself & What Inspired You To Become Involved In The Wine Industry?

“I’ve had two ‘epiphanies’ in my wine journey.

The first occurred when I decided to become a sommelier.

Back when I worked in Italy as a simple waiter, I still vividly remember my Maitre D’, Alessandro, as he opened and decanted a bottle of Amarone.

From uncorking the bottle, to the tasting, and the gentle pouring into the decanter while checking the sediments by candlelight, the entire process captivated me. It was at that moment I decided that sommelier was the path for me.

Upon moving to Hungary, I had to adjust my course a bit, and wine became more of a hobby. Nevertheless, exploring beautiful regions such as Tokaj, Balaton, and Villany inspired me to start writing about this enchanting country. Thus, my blog was born, along with my new identity: “An Italian Guy in Hungary.”

Since then, my mission has been to spread the word about the amazing wines from this wonderful and promising country.”

Do You Remember Your First Experience With Sparkling Wine? When It Was And What Kind Of Wine It Was?

“In all honesty, my first experience with sparkling wine is a bit hazy in my memory.

It was probably some mid-to-low-quality Prosecco back in Italy. Utterly forgettable.

However, I distinctly remember my first encounter with Hungarian sparkling wine which made me exclaim, “Wow! They can make really good bubbles here too!”

It was back in 2016, shortly after moving, when I attended a tasting at a winery south of Lake Balaton. I sampled both whites and reds, and I was genuinely impressed. As I was about to leave, Mr. Garamvari, the elderly gentleman and owner of the winery, brought out two bottles of sparkling wine and invited me to taste them.

I won’t delve too much into the history of the winery and winemaking, as I’ve extensively covered it in a previous article.

However, what I can tell you now is that both the Brut Nature (a blend of Chardonnay & Pinot Noir) and the Rosé (100% Pinot Noir) completely blew my mind with their impressive quality.

From that moment on, I embarked on an adventure to discover and taste all the interesting sparkling wines this country has to offer.”

After Your First Successful Feature Delving Into The Renaissance of Hungarian Bubbly, What Can Our Readers Expect To Discover From You As You Continue To Share More Of Your Experiences & Knowledge On Glass of Bubbly?

“My goal is to delve deeper into the Hungarian sparkling wine world, showcasing the potential of this wonderful country. I am planning to write a ‘Summer article’ to introduce readers to some of the best sparkling wines and the ideal places to enjoy them on a hot and sunny day, particularly around Lake Balaton.

Additionally, there will soon be a winery tour in the Etyek region, the ‘cradle” of Hungarian bubbles. Naturally, I will ensure that everything is properly documented.

Exciting times ahead!”

You’re Also Known As ‘An Italian Guy In Hungary’, You Have Great Love For Hungarian Wines, Are There Any Regions Or Styles That Hold A Special Place In Your Heart?

“With its 22 wine regions and 33 PDOs (and increasing), it’s very difficult for me to pinpoint a favorite.

However, if I let my heart speak, my top three would be:

Tokaj: This region holds a special place in my heart due to its huge array of wine styles, ranging from bone-dry to honey-like sweet wines. It was my first love of Hungarian wine. Tokaj is best known for its historic Tokaji Aszú, a sweet wine made from botrytized grapes. The region’s volcanic soils and unique microclimate contribute to the distinctive character of its wines.

Somló: Although it’s the smallest wine region in the country, Somló has a big space in my heart. The wines here are wonderfully mineral, with a distinct salty touch that you can recognize from miles away, thanks to the ever-present basalt soil. Somló is known for its indigenous grape varieties, such as Juhfark, Olaszrizling, and Hárslevelű. The region is also home of many eccentric and flamboyant winemakers who produce many funky wines for the most curious explorers.

In addition to still wines, Somló is also home to some of the best sparkling wine producers in the country. French champagne makers have even come here to consult and help produce high-quality bubbles to rival their own.

Lake Balaton: This is where my journey with Hungarian sparkling wine began, as I mentioned previously. Lake Balaton is not only the largest lake in Central Europe but also a region with a growing reputation for producing exceptional sparkling wines. The region benefits from a mild climate and diverse soils, which contribute to the complexity of its wines. In addition to sparkling wines, Lake Balaton is also known for its crisp whites and fruity reds, with popular grape varieties including Olaszrizling, Kékfrankos, and Szürkebarát (Pinot Gris).”

Where’s The Most Memorable Place You’ve Enjoyed A Glass of Bubbly?

“What’s a better place to taste a glass of bubbly than where it is actually born? I have two memorable places where I had this delightful experience. I consider myself quite lucky to have been able to drink wine in these vineyards.

The first was in 2014, on the hills of Tokaj, while visiting the Holdvölgy winery. There, on the beautiful rhyolitic soil of the Betsek vineyard, I had the chance to sip a special edition of ‘Pop-UPP’, a once-in-a-lifetime Méthode Traditionnelle that was discontinued soon after. Truly, an “Expérience Exceptionelle.” as written on the label.

The second was in 2016 at Clos du Mesnil, home to one of the best Champagnes on the planet. This extraordinary plot, owned by Krug, is where Chardonnay grapes become one of the finest expressions of Champagne. I had the luck and the pleasure to sip it right there, where the magic of nature happens.”

Thank you Marco Barbieri, for sharing your story and experiences with us and we at Glass of Bubbly wish you the very best for the future!

Images belong to Marco Barbieri. Glass of Bubbly was granted permission to use them.

Oliver Walkey

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.