Chersegi in Chateau Chizay. Why do we love it here?
Chersegi is a special grape variety for our winery. It is an exclusive grape for Ukraine, which yields excellent results in our vineyards. Our vineyard workers and winemakers also love it for its beautiful, juicy clusters and the opportunity to experiment. Experts and wine enthusiasts appreciate it for its unique character, both in dry white wine and Carpathian Sekt made from Chersegi grapes. So, why do people fall in love with it? Let’s get to know Chersegi better!
When we established the Chateau Chizay vineyards in 2006, we decided to pay special attention not only to classic European varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Merlot but also to the Pink Traminer (to revive the legendary dessert wine of Zakarpattia – «Rose of the Carpathians»).
We also decided to experiment and planted a Hungarian grape variety that was not known in Ukraine at that time but suited our conditions because this grape is native to the Carpathian micro-terroir.
Our hopes for an interesting result paid off, and we began creating Chershegi wine to introduce it to Ukraine and the world. This also aligned with the trend towards vibrant and local wines.
So, how did Chersegi come into being?
This variety has been around for more than half a century and hails from Hungary. In 1960, the breeder Karoy Bakoni developed a new grape variety by crossing the noble Roter Traminer and Irshai Oliver. The full name of the variety is Chersegi Fuseresh (Cserszegi fűszeres, from Hungarian – Spicy Chersegi). The name Chersegi itself comes from the breeder’s native village.
What is it that people love about this variety?
Gennadiy Vachylia, the Director of Viticulture at Chateau Chizay, says, “Our Chersegi is not the fussiest, unlike Rieslings, which can be more temperamental. I love this variety for its beautiful, almost golden, clusters and its good yield. In recent years, we harvest this grape in two stages: an early harvest for sparkling wine (where preserving its bright acidity and freshness is crucial) and about two weeks later for still wine. Chersegi grows on two of our vineyard blocks: Midyanytsia and Mala Hora”.
In vine care, including Chersegi, Chateau Chizay vineyard workers employ yield restriction technology. The goal is to prevent overloading the vines and ultimately obtain the best grapes for wine production. The smaller the yield per vine, the more valuable each berry becomes. This is a winemaking best-practice and a principle we apply at the winery. While not limiting yield can lead to more wine, this operation is crucial for creating the best wine. The results of this practice bring satisfaction to our winemaking team and, subsequently, to consumers.
Zoltan Udvargelyi, the chief winemaker, also expresses his love for this variety: “Wonderful grapes! They allow for creativity. You can experiment and achieve different, but consistently interesting and vibrant results each time!”/
Today, in addition to dry wine, Chateau Chizay produces two sparkling wines, Carpathian Sekt Chersegi in the Brut and Extra Dry styles. Experts and wine enthusiasts appreciate these wines for their distinct freshness and pleasant spiciness.
The founder of Chateau Chizay, Hugo Gutman, believes that Chersegi fully aligns with the company’s philosophy of creating wine that is not just of exceptional quality but is also unique, with its own character.
Wines of the Chersegi variety represent the winery in Ukraine and abroad, becoming one of the company’s trademarks and, in general, a symbol of winemaking in Zakarpattia and the entire country. For example, the sparkling Brut Carpathian Sekt made from Chersegi grapes serves as an ambassador of national winemaking at the World Wine Culture Center – La Cité du Vin (Bordeaux, France).
And, without a doubt, a bottle of Chersegi wine makes an excellent gift from Zakarpattia and all of Ukraine!