SZÖRÉNYI WINERY – PÁLINKAS
Like winery, I have learnt the basics of the pálinka-making profession from my father. I have continued to develop this with the help and guidance of Péter Pintér, a parachutist friend from Hajdúszoboszló. Being a small producer, We make pálinka in a double-walled 65 litre stainless steel pot, applying a pot still distillation process (double distillation), mostly from fruits grown in our own land in Felsőörs near Lake Balaton. We use small quantities of cherries, sour cherries, apples, figs, apricots, peaches, and quinces, both during harvesting, mashing, and distillation. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel barrels, with the addition of special yeast species, taking care to ensure appropriate temperatures and periodic mixing of the mash. We try to optimize the second phase of distillation by careful organoleptic separation, then each batch will ripen for at least 3 months in the cellar to develop the fragrance and aromas. At the end of the maturation period, the alcoholic strength is generally adjusted to between 45 and 46 degrees using only pharmacy grade distilled water. In our opinion, fruity flavours and fragrances are most dominant and best served with such alcohol content, while the spirit does not flatten or lose its strength. Because very limited quantities are produced per batch, the finished fruit essences are enclosed in 0.35L bottles, which are labelled and marked with serial numbers.
In good vintages, we harvest our own sour cherries in mid-June. After sorting and washing, the seeds are separated from the fruit with a stainless steel machine and after a minimum of 3 weeks of fermentation, we distil the mash using 10-20% of the dried seeds. The sour cherry pálinka is usually characterized by citrus and spicy scents, with long marzipan, full-bodied finish.
Most of the fruit comes from the black cherry tree in Szomolya, planted by my grandmother in 1975. It grows small-grained, dark, honey-like cherries, which is complemented by the crisp fruit of other cherry trees in the area. There are intense citrus fragrances and flavours, with an emphasis on the alcohol content.
The fig trees adore the Lake Balaton area. The first time I made fig palinka it was merely an experiment, but the end result was dazzling. Super intense jam aromas, very long and rich flavours with a slight spiciness. Next year I planted 2 more trees quickly, but unfortunately, we have to wait a few years for them to yield figs. In the meantime, the spirit created from the honey-sweet figs harvested from our “miracle” tree can only be tasted by the privileged. It can only be distilled in special vintages, even then there is at most 10 bottles made.
Two trees are grown in the area, yielding large pear-like fruit. Harvesting, fruit processing, and mashing are challenging, but the result is worth the fatigue. The brew is characterized by fresh and intensely fruity scents followed by a sweet, velvety taste.
For mysterious reasons, apricot trees in the area only grow in special vintages. For a long time, we didn’t have any ripened fruit, but in a special year, the trees yielded a generous number of beautifully healthy fruit. For the sake of predictability, additional Hungarian apricot seedlings have been planted but the fruits of these will only be enjoyed a few years later. So far, there has been one vintage with apricot palinka, which carries ripe apricot jam notes.
Complex process, it is harvested continuously in small quantities from 19 trees for approximately 2 months and the fruit of each harvest stage is mashed in separate inox barrels. Despite the juicy fruit, it has a low distillate yield, the aroma and taste are mild but the overall effect of peach jam is clear and enchanting. Only in more plentiful vintages can it be bottled, when a maximum of 20-30 bottles is produced.
We pick the finest and richest bunches for the mash during the harvest, combining white and red grapes. After selection, the fruit is crushed and de-stemmed, which usually gives very good essence after fermentation and distillation. It is characterized by a very juicy, long, sweet taste. Award-winning potion.
At first I experimented with a combination of grape varieties, but the end result was so great that next year I made the blue grape and the pinot gris separately. I make both items juicy with must and young wine, and the end is not a “classic” pomace, but a special distillate carrying the grape’s characteristics and flavours. The blue grape distillate is also aged in wooden barrels in extra small batches, creating the elegant oak notes.
For many years, our “organic” apple trees produce a healthy and plentiful crop without spraying. From 15 trees, 4 different fruit varieties are harvested for 2 months, the fruit is de-seeded and, after manual cutting, crushed to a paste for perfect fermentation. Each sip is reminiscent of a freshly harvested crisp apple.