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Stylized image of Strekov 1075

Natural Skin Contact Welschriesling: A Wine in Context

There have been many attempts in the last 100 years to draw European borders neatly along linguistic lines – some violent, and some peaceful .These efforts have rarely been 100% successful. And so it is that wine-maker ​​Zsolt Sütó finds himself on the Slovak side of the border with Hungary, even though he, like a majority of his co-villagers, are Hungarian speakers.

But national borders, and languages that we humans speak, are of absolutely no regard to vines, who care only about the sun, water, and the soils in which they grow In the case of the village of Strekov, this means marshy lands and alluvial soils deposited by the Danube.

It also means an appropriate climate to grow one of the traditional grapes of the area, what the locals call Rizling vlašský and what we normally call Welschriesling. It’s a grape, unrelated to Riesling, of uncertain origins – though it is perhaps from somewhere not so far from here to the east of the Balkans.

The vines may only care about these physical facts, but the wines that they produce are very much the product of history and tradition. This history is honored in the name Zsolt chose for his winery Strekov 1075, as Strekov is the name of the village and 1075 is the year the village was founded.

Very recent history is actually also quite relevant to those wines, for Strekov has found itself, in this post-communist era, becoming one of Europe’s hotbeds for natural wines. Zsolt is very much part of this movement, and he is farming his vines naturally and producing wine without any sulfur additions.

​​He makes today’s Welschriesling with skin contact, giving it an orange hue. It’s a grape that takes well to this treatment, producing gorgeously textured wines with explosive aromatics.

This is natural wine from a corner of the wine world that is likely completely new to you. It is delicious and truly horizon-expanding:

Strekov 1075 Skin-Contact Welschriesling Supkac 2022 - $27.99


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