Péter's devotion to winemaking was clear from a young age. "Unlike others in my age group, I did not spend my graduation money on a camera or car", he says; "I bought the Epreskert vineyard." Péter studied enology at university, and worked for half a year at a winery in Napa, California. During those years, he absorbed a lot of useful information and became more open-minded about the wine world. Today, he tries to use this innovation in his winery. The Benedek winery aims to produce easy-drinking, lovely, high-quality wines in great harmony with nature in the Mátra.
It is said that Péter is the dreamer and his brother Balázs is the realist, and it's this combination that leads to success. So far, however, Peter's dreams and plans have always worked. Working together, the whole family gets along well, and relies on the professional knowledge of Peter.
The wine cellar was built in 1947 by Péter's great-grandparents. At the time it was considered a rather large cellar. In 1998 the family replanted most of the grapes, and they became productive in 2000. They consciously chose varieties to reflect the new winery, including chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon, pinot gris, sárgamuskotály (yellow muscat) and cserszegi fűszeres.
The estate in Gyöngyöstarján is hilly, with good drainage and regular breeze. The topsoil is thin and the deeper layers have a high clay content, which keeps moisture on the vines during the dry summer months. The soil is volcanic, rich with chalk, andesite, and rhyolite.
The Epreskert ("strawberry garden") vineyard lies on a plateau 380 meters above the ground. Thanks to its great location, grapes can be left on the vines for a relatively long time. Because of constant winds, the area is not in danger of frost, and there is a low risk for fungi diseases to develop. There is northern – southern exposure, so the sun surrounds the vineyard on all sides. The microclimate is excellent, and the terroir is brown forest soil with andesite.
Because of its great locality, the Rétföld ("meadow soil") vineyard easily warms up and the soil structure is looser. Muscat-type grapes enjoy themselves here. This terroir is absolutely favourable for yellow muscat, and the warmth ensures its ripening.
There is a 50 year old hárslevelű plantation on the Barnatanya ("brown ranch") vineyard. The winery produces its top wines from these grapes. The bottom layers of the soil contain chalk powder, which has a powerful effect on this variety.
The Hajnalhegy ("dawn mountain") vineyard has volcanic soil and eastern – western sun exposure. On the vines, the sun-drenched sides of the grapes ripen well, while the grapes' shaded sides develop nice acids. This is the vineyard of the premium kékfrankos.
On the Hajagos vineyard, the Benedeks exclusively harvest kékfrankos for their rosé wine. The wine has great minerality from the soil, along with a light fruitiness.
The Öreghegy ("old mountain") can be called the grand cru vineyard of the winery. Öreghegy – looking over Barnatanya – was long one of the most famous vineyards in Gyöngyöstarján. It is steep, surrounded by forest, with volcanic subsoils and southern sun exposure. This vineyard is a recent acquisition and will be planted in the near future.
Size of vineyards: 42 acres
Grapes grown: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sárgamuskotály, Pinot Noir, Cserszegi Fűszeres, Cabernet Sauvignon, Kékfrankos
Soil and terroir: Brown forest topsoil with rhyolite, chalk, and andesite volcanic soils