Roger the Great - Vintage Berkeley
Roger the Great.

There's more than one kind of tweener

2019 Losonci 'Roger'
Skin-Contact White

Only $27! Buy here!


By the time you read this?
It will have begun.

Once again, one of the greatest mammals ever to waggle its limbs on this green-grassed earth— a nominal 'human' they call "The Roger" — will begin his 18th Wimbledon quarterfinal. (Yes: in one lifetime.)

With movements so lithe his species classification will be called into question, he will once more commence the gliding of the grass. Pentagon poindexters will analyze his kinetics (but Jim... that's impossible!); jaguars in jungles everywhere will shed the heavy tears of big sad cats, knowing as they will — finally and for all time — that there is a grace beyond theirs, unattainable outside of feline dreams.

The palpable feelings I'm experiencing of proleptic mourning aside  — could this be the last time we are visited by alien beauty? — what, pray tell, does this have to do with wine? 

Freaks walk among us.

In the late 90's, at exactly the same time tennis was casting about for its new savior, so Hungarian wine rousted itself from five decades of  hibernation under Communist rule. And 1150 miles southeast of Wimbledon, in a small town called Gyöngyöspata, a man named Bálint Losonci dedicated himself to the re-awakening. The second largest wine zone in the country, Hungary's  Mátra appellation was typically the province of big, lumbering industrial winemakers.

 Enter Losonci. An unprecedented farmer/winemaker for his region, he privileged quality over quantity. In a place where none of this was done, he planted native grapes, converted to organic farming, drastically reduced his yields, and increased vine density (making it way harder to farm, but yielding deeper and more complex fruit). All around him, huge winemakers treated their wines like industrial products... while he sought beauty through economy of motion. ("I do as little as possible to the wine once it arrives in my cellar.") Bálint quickly became his region's icon... but he became equally famous for his community-oriented mindset, and for helping others out to collectively lift Mátra back up the wine ladder. 

What's that you say? A stylistic renegade and a class act to boot? A man who privileged grace over power? He'd almost remind us of someone even if he didn't label a wine after his hero:

Yes. For reals.

You can admit it, can't you? Like us, you've been secretly waiting for a freakishly beguiling Hungarian orange wine named in honor of the most freakish and beguiling tennis player of all time. Right?

The wait is over, friends! Our man Bálint has taken his organically farmed Chasselas and Müller-Thurgau, let some of it ripen into late-harvest territory, and then let it sit on skins for five weeks for additional phenolic richness. The result is one of the most stunning wines in our shop right now: apricots, chamomile, green pears, salt, white flowers and more. (And as great as this is out of the gate? It evolves gloriously over hours and even days, open.)

David Foster Wallace famously wrote of Roger, "A top athlete’s beauty is next to impossible to describe directly. Or to evoke. You more have to come at the aesthetic stuff obliquely, to talk around it, or — as Aquinas did with his own ineffable subject — to try to define it in terms of what it is not..." and Bálint's own "Roger" is not like any wine you've ever had. It's a kind of vinous "tweener" (see above): neither red nor white, neither too light nor too heavy, it's an amber, or "orange" wine, as versatile at the table as the most famous of all human Swiss Army Knives is on the court.

The Losonci vineyards

Sadly, there's still one more parallel, and this one's not a reach: the amount of Roger still available to us earthlings is very limited! (This is one of our fave wines of the year, and we grabbed more than any shop in California... but there wasn't much made to begin with!) So: witness one while you can (not to do so is akin to willfully missing Halley's Comet)... and get the other while we have it!

2019 Losonci 'Roger'
Skin-Contact White

Only $27! Buy here!
(Quantities very limited!)