See What Happened @ Xpat Wine Club, With Basilicus & Janus

  • 28 May 2015 11:40 AM
See What Happened @ Xpat Wine Club, With Basilicus & Janus
Words by Liz Frommer: Happy attendees of the most recent Xpat Wine Club, held last Thursday 21 May, received a special treat: a slew of top tastes from two of Hungary’s best wineries, all served amidst a scarcely seen vestige of Budapest’s historic castle district.

Click here to see a full gallery of event photos

Richárd Basa of Basilicus Winery, and Dénes Pécsi-Szabó of Janus Winery, were both center stage to show us their wares. Basilicus started with a Sárgamuskotály 2013, a light “terrace wine”, and ended the evening with a gorgeous, golden "Eleven" Cuvée 2012, not too sweet and amazingly smooth.

Janus began their tasting journey with a fresh Rosé from last year, leading all the way to a lovely Syrah from 2011. Prior to that delight guests particularly enjoyed the 2012 “Joy Ride”, a 75% cab franc and 25% merlot blend that had everyone, well, “joyful”.

Zoltán Árvai, the hotel's General Manager, together with's Stephen Linfitt, warmly welcomed a great turn out of guests on that rather rainy evening.

Mr. Árvai shared some interesting history behind the special setting for the event, and then had a little taste himself. Afterwards he said, “We were very glad that we could host the Xpat Wine Club at Hilton Budapest.”

Zoltán added, “Guests not only enjoyed tasting the eight great Hungarian wines among the elegant ruins of a 13th century Dominican Cloister, but also had a chance to experience the hotel’s newly refurbished Lobby and Bar area.”

"A great night... Lovely environment, and people. Thank you!!" wrote guest Alan Rees in a follow up note.

"It was an enjoyable and informative evening. My visitors from Scotland, Finland, Luxembourg and Poland loved it. Well done to all at XpatLoop!" commented guest Patrick McMenamin, pictured below left with Zsuzsanna Bozo, both of The Caledonia Pub in Budapest.

All involved appreciated the hotel's hospitality, tasty snacks, and super service from Zoltán’s entire team, as usual. We look forward to accepting his invitation to return to Hilton Budapest again soon, for a follow-up event with more amazing wines and captivating views of the Danube and Pest.

This time, aside from tasting a variety of vintages and mingling in the medieval, vaulted hall, we also were treated to a bit of unexpected culture from both Richárd and Dénes. Richárd touted his Tokaj cultural wine center, bringing the top wineries together to share and spread their viticultural gospels.

Denés was a great presenter, and a highlight of the evening was his story about the rabbit who loved the Pinot Noir grapes on the hills of Villány, ask him about it if you get chance in future. He also let it slip about his role as band manager for the chart-topping Hungarian pop group The Carbonfools, an expat favourite as they sing in English.

Everyone agreed it was worth enduring a bit of drizzle to get there as the event atmosphere was sparkling, and organisers thank all the guests who braved the stormy weather. Cheers to famed photographer Stephen Spinder and longtime friend of for joining in. He’s back in town to be awarded the Tiszteletbeli Magyar prize for his contributions to preserving Hungarian folk culture through his work entitled “Ten Years in Transylvania” and “Budapest Through My Lens - A Solitary Perspective”.

And, of course, thanks are due to Melinda, Nóra, and Stephen for making this all possible, and to Russell for the fab fotos. Nóra Szegedi rightly said that while the previous XWC gathering was a really good kick-off event, this one was truly outstanding.

Stephen Linfitt concurred, "It was great both in terms of the blend of venue with the wines, and the friendly personalities involved and the overall event feeling, somehow the stormy weather contributed in a helpful way too, adding an extra element to the electric atmosphere", he said with a smile.

We’re all looking forward to next time, keep an eye on XpatLoop for details about XWC3, it's due to be held around the end of June

Photos by Russell Skidmore:

Related Articles:

Update: Xpat Wine Club @ Hilton Budapest

See What Happened @ Xpat Wine Club With Sauska

Fully Booked: Xpat Wine Club, Sauska @ Le Meridien, 23 April 2015

  • How does this content make you feel?