Kádár Hungary: Heritage Meets Innovation
In Hungary's northern forests, on a range of dormant volcanoes, the extreme growing conditions produce the tightest grain oak trees in all of Europe. For over 1,000 years, coopers have prized the Quercus Petraea species above all others, and to this day the forests of Tokaj are protected by a strictly-enforced forestry law from 1769 restricting cutting to a 100-year cycle and requiring replanting within 2 years. The same species as French oak, Petraea grown in Tokaj is typically lower in tannin and vanillan compounds, higher in eugenol (spice flavor), and 30% denser (resulting in heavier, less evaporative barrels).
Kádár Hungary is one of the oldest cooperages in Central Europe, established in 1951 when seventeen historic coopering families formed a cooperative to survive the transition to socialism. In the '90s, Peter & Arpad Molnar traveled to Budapest to live and work in their ancestral homeland as it emerged from the Soviet era, and recognized the historic opportunity to invest in this singular resource.
Over the thirty years since, we have combined sophisticated research and experimentation with traditional craftsmanship and artistry to make Kádár one of the most artisanal coopers in the world. From the rigorous selection of trees (less than 2.5% qualify), meticulous milling and aging staves in our own natural environment (average 36 months), to a scientific approach to toasting to optimize natural flavor compounds, we custom produce 5,000 barrels per year for 500 wineries worldwide to consistent specifications unique to each wine profile.
Since the beginning, Obsidian Wine Co. has exclusively used Kádár barrels for all our wines. This is not a limitation, but rather an opportunity -- to trial a complex array of size, toast and style of custom barrels to best elevate each of our wines, and also to protect and cultivate a forest, a craft, a community. To connect people and nature through wine.