Author: Kristian Kielmayer, Ágnes Herczeg
The variety is associated with the name of Ferenc Király, who created this crossing of Ezerjó and Bouvier in Pécs in 1951. It was registered in the national variety catalogue in May 1976. Initially, it was known as Badacsony 7.
It is another one of the five varieties beginning with “z” that Ferenc Király bred by crossing Ezerjó and Bouvier. Zengő was named after the highest peak of the Mecsek Hills, but the literature does not mention how Zenith got its name; however, it means apex in the both the figurative sense and in astronomy. Perhaps this is the most obvious explanation for the variety’s name.
It is characterised by medium-sized, symmetrical round leaves and uniform, moderately large, densely packed clusters with thick-skinned berries. It buds early, ripens relatively early and produces average yields. It tends to retain relatively high acidity despite being early maturing and preferring volcanic soils.
Today, it is grown on 705 hectares in Hungary and is the most widespread in the Balatonboglár, Bükk and Etyek-Buda wine districts. The majority of plantings can be found in the Mátra wine district, but small amounts can basically be found all around the country.
It thrives on volcanic soils and so feels right at home around the Balaton, with some producers in the Balaton Highlands taking the variety very seriously. Its fresh acidity is in balance with the rest of the wine, so the wines are harmonious and delicately aromatic in style. The neutrality and high acidity of Ezerjó pairs well with Bouvier’s floral, perfumed style. It is a relatively good sugar pump, resulting in full-bodied wines in the right hands..
The variety undeniably boasts perfumed and floral notes. A touch of residual sugar complements its fresh acidity. It is characterised by green apple, elderflower, candied pear, delicate spice, peppermint and restrained perfume. It is often found in off-dry styles where its high acidity is balanced by a ripe, fruity style, together with moderate alcohol and body.
Zenit grape bunch and leaf
Zenit is a full-bodied yet fresh, floral wine that is typically popular during the warm, sunny months, i.e. from early spring to late autumn. The variety is essentially aromatic and boasts fruity, floral aromas. Its fresh acidity is often balanced by some residual sugar, making it a pleasant, refreshing wine to sip on its own. To enjoy its freshness at its best, choose one of the latest vintages; however, its vibrant acidity also means that quality Zenit can benefit from a few years of bottle ageing. Always store in a cool place, away from direct sunlight and heat, to best preserve its floral aromas. Serve straight from the fridge at about 8-10°C in a tulip-shaped white wine glass.
Ingredients that best match the flavour and texture of wines made from Zenit are lettuce, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, fennel, oranges, apples, pears, young light goat and cow’s cheeses, poultry and lean white meat. Styles with some residual sugar would work well with pineapple chicken with rice, for example, while dry Zenit would make a perfect match with tarragon game soup. Its aromatic notes and sweetness also make it great with spicy, Asian and Indian food, for example delicately spiced chicken or fish dishes, especially when accompanied with fragrant, plain basmati rice.