VOLCANIC WINE REGION
Volcanic activity at Mount Saint George is estimated to have begun 8 million years ago and ceased to be active 4-5 million years ago. Today, we are surrounded by ancient, crumbling edifices, witness to a violent history, but now so bucolic, and natural. Cultivated since Rome's governing of Pannonia, the mountain’s gifts have been recognized in the vineyards and cellars ever since.
"A good vintage can be recognized by the need for only the lightest of touch in the cellar, as nature and good work in the vineyards forms the basis of expression.”
Róbert Gilvesy, founder
The cellar was erected circa 1680 by the Lengyel family and was later part of the noble Esterhazy estate. In 2012, the renovation and modification was completed just in time for the 2012 harvest. All Gilvesy vineyards have been organically cultivated since 2014.
Soil: eroded basalt and tuff integrated in Pannon loess, sand or clay
Varietals grown: Riesling, Furmint, Olaszrizling and Sauvignon Blanc.
Robert Gilvesy grew up on a tobacco farm in Canada, near one the Great Lakes named Lake Erie. Thanks to his Hungarian parents and grandparents, Robert was imbibed with Hungarian culture since childhood.
When he was 15 years old, his parents took their family to Hungary, but it never occurred to him that he would someday live there. Europe intrigued him, and in an earlier carrier as an architect he lived in Paris, and later in the nineties, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he moved to Hungary. When he first visited Mount Saint George, he knew it was a unique place that he would return to. By 2012, he not only returned, but he gained the skills and the vineyards to lay the foundations of Gilvesy Cellars.
Since then, the estate has progressively developed. Alongside rehabilitated vineyards planted in the socialist ’70’s there are many replanted and now maturing vineyards. Plans are in the works to build additional tasting and reception areas to welcome our wine loving friends.
THE FORMATION OF THE TERROIR
Szent György-hegy is one of the Balaton highland’s landmark “witness” mounts, decorated with the well known hexagonal basalt columns. Dotted with existing or ruined chapels or monasteries, the name (translated as Mount Saint George) is said to come from a chapel by that name that once stood at the foot of the mount.
The base strata underlying the vineyards is from the sediment of the ancient Pannon Sea, from which thundered Stromboli type volcanoes some 3-4 million years ago. These volcanoes spewed a ring of basalt tuff leading to the formation of lava lakes which solidified and subsequently formed the basalt columns. Exposed and worn by erosion, a stone mountain cap was revealed, and the vineyards benefited from the melange of the volcanic rock and sea sediment among its skirts
With a unique sub-mediterranean climate, volcanic-sedimentary soil and optimal hours of sunshine, this is an optimal region for quality vineyards. Mount Saint George is part of the Badacsony appellation.
Mount Saint George (Szent György-hegy) in the 1930s. Photo: Fortepan
Martinus Estate is part of the early story of Gilvesy Cellars. Having worked together with winemaker Márton Ruppert, and realizing the excellent but starkly different geology of his home vineyards, we have set Martinus Estates on its own path. The soil of Mount Tagyon consists of dolomitic limestone and clay-loam as opposed to our volcanic stones. Martinus wines, previously produced by Gilvesy Cellars will now continue, led by Márton. Márton lives on Mount Tagyon with his family and grows organic grapes in his vineyards. The character of the Tagyon Hill is conveyed in Martinus Estate’s wines.
Besides our vineyards on Mount Saint George, we also make wine from Tagyon Hill.
VOLCANIC WINES OF PANNONIA
We are a founding member of Volcanic Wines of Pannonia, an association of like minded estates that are located on volcanic terroir in the Pannonian basin. Our purpose is to promote volcanic wines of Pannonia.