Wine Buying Guides

Heimann conquers the international wine scene

by Dorli Muhr

Zoli Heimann is on the right track. When the young wine pioneer launched his new product line two years ago, his unconventional style was initially met with a degree of scepticism. Unlike many of his Hungarian colleagues, Heimann has placed his focus on specific origins and indigenous grape varieties. The most recent reviews published by the renowned US wine critic James Suckling show that he has indeed made the right choice. He received a whopping 96 points for his single-vineyard Kékfrankos Szívem, while thirteen in all of his wines were rated 90 or higher.

A Kékfrankos that ‘lights up the skies’

Very fine tannins are married to a mineralic acidity that lights up the very heavens in the explosive finish.’ This is how Stuart Pigott, writing on on the wine review platform jamessuckling.com, describes the spicy Kékfrankos, from a vineyard whose name refers to ‘my heart’ in Hungarian (and not without good reason). Pigott mentions a touch of spritz that brings vibrancy to the remarkable Kékfrankos, along with a fantastic interplay of elderberry, smoke and moist earth on the nose. The single-vineyard Kékfrankos is charming already, but shows even greater potential for cellaring. Pigott suggests 2024 as the optimal tine frame for pulling the cork. The grapes for Kékfrankos Szívem 2019 grew on fifty-year-old vines, harvested from a distinct parcel in the vineyard Baranya-Völgy, where the clusters enjoy plenty of sunshine. The southeast-facing valley opens up to the Great Hungarian Plain, which ensures that the grapes ripen early and yield juicy, aromatic wines. The historic vineyard was restructured in 2009 and has been one of the jewels in the crown of the estate ever since. Its old vines are the Heimann family’s most highly prized possession, which is why the grapes are harvested in several passes to ensure optimal quality.

Heimann & Fiai

Pioneering work that pays off

Heimann has been doing pioneering work in matters of terroir for several years now, enriching the world of fine wines with sophisticated bottlings from a corner of Hungary that is unknown to many, if not to most. He owes his initial international successes to his boundless dedication and his first-class training in Geisenheim, Montpellier and Udine. He gained formative experiences in an international variety of vineyards, and has always retained his fascination for the unmistakable flavour of a single specific origin. After returning to his native winegrowing region Szekszárd, Zoli decided to start his own line at his parents’ estate, producing complex wines for sophisticated palates under the name Heimann & Fiai. In order to unlock the full potential of his homeland, he began to immerse himself in the autochthonous expression of its origins, and has become particularly devoted to the native vine Kadarka. Zoltán has focused his efforts on the delicate variety and grows it to vinify two wines from varying sites.

The powerful counterpart to Kadarka is the spicy Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch), which possesses the laudable characteristic of precisely reflecting its origins in soil and microclimate. Zoltán articulates this quality of the remarkable variety with four Kékfrankos from different terroirs. In order to be able to accentuate the differences in origin as fully as possible, his wines are matured in large, neutral oak casks or amphorae.

Zoli exclusively vinifies grapes from his own vineyards for these sleek wines, carefully selected and harvested by hand. They are fermented spontaneously with whole clusters and then remain on the must for up to twenty-four days. His alternative method of fermentation ensures unparalleled freshness and intensity of flavour. In order to achieve ideal growing conditions for his vines, Heimann has avoided using pesticides and herbicides for years now. And none of his wines have more than 13.5% alcohol by volume, which gives them a pleasant lightness. Heimann’s silky wines reach the consumer unfined and minimally filtered. According to Zoltán, preserving the expression of origin, the least possible intervention by the cellarmaster and great precision in vinification are the keys to the unaffected and straightforward character of his wines.

About Heimann&Fiai

Through his brand-new wine series, Zoltán Heimann has rewritten how the wine world understands how native fruit expresses Szekszárd, his southern Hungarian home. Starting with his family's well-established winery, including mother Agnes running the cellar, Zoltán Jr. went on to select the most thrilling vineyard sites for production of challenging and highly expressive terroir wines. His love for an ancient native variety, Kadarka, is clear. In Hungary, it is usually deployed as a refreshing element of a classic Bikavér blend. Zoltán however felt that it was for it to shine as a soloist. His work producing two wines of different origin using the delicate variety is nothing short of groundbreaking. The powerful counterpoint to Kadarka is the spicy Kékfrankos, known for its outstanding capacity to render its soil origins in precise detail. Each of Zoltán’s four Kékfrankos wines hold up a mirror of their individual terroir.

Ivánvölgy 9814/13. hrsz.,
7100 Ungarn


Mitarbeiterin Lisa Heinzl
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With a passion for culinary and communication the PR expert now supports companies around the globe by realizing their goals.