2022 Oszkár Maurer, "Crazy-Lud" Red
2022 Oszkár Maurer, "Crazy-Lud" Red

2022 Oszkár Maurer, "Crazy-Lud" Red

Serbia, 2022 (750mL)
Regular price$30.00

2022 Oszkár Maurer, "Crazy-Lud" Red

 The wines that are born in the vineyards and cellar of Oszkár Maurer are adored by sommeliers and natural wine devotées in dozens of countries. That’s no small feat for someone working in an obscure region of Eastern Europe, and with grape varieties that even experts have a hard time pronouncing. That is a testament to his particular genius, as well as his devotion to ancient viticultural techniques that by coincidence or fate have become all the rage in the past decade or two. “Crazy-Lud”–a fresh, bursting with life red blend–is Oszkár’s version of effortlessly drinkable country wine, with the added spice of his unique grapes and terroir. Despite their global success, the idea is to eventually sell everything locally. So I highly recommend checking out this daringly different elixir before you have to travel halfway across the planet to find it!

If Oszkár Maurer was based in France, or Italy, or Northern California, his wines would be among the growing ranks of naturally made “unicorns,” or in layman's terms “hard to get your hands on.” As it is he has managed to gain a global following from his ancestral homeland in Northern Serbia, where the borders of Central/Eastern Europe have been shifting for centuries. This is the region of Subotičko-Horgoškoj, in far northwestern Serbia, which surrounds the thousand plus year old city of Subotica, or Szabadka in Hungarian. This is truly an ancient crossroads town: Today it is a part of Serbia (since the partition of the Austro-Hungarian Empire following WWI), but it sits barely a mile from the border with Hungry, while the Danube flows by a few kilometers to the west and Romania is about the same distance away to the east. The region is a mix of Hungarian and Slavic cultures and languages, but the winemaking tradition here has always ignored the shifting national borders, preferring to keep the focus as local as possible.

This philosophy lines up neatly with that of Oszkár, whose family has been involved in the farming of vines and making of wine here for at least four generations. He began working the vines in 1994, when “organic” and “natural” methods were just known as how it had always been done. Oszkár and his wife Irene didn’t become full time winemakers until 2010, and then for a couple of years they dialed back their devotion to zero manipulations in order to attract the local wine drinkers who had become accustomed to more internationally styled wines. But they quickly changed course and reverted to their original vision of completely unadorned wines made with traditional methods and (mostly) local grapes. 

The red blend that they call simply “Crazy-Lud” is a perfect encapsulation of the Maurer philosophy: It’s a rotating blend that in 2022, and most vintages, is anchored by Kékfrankos, which is the Hungarian name for Blaufrankisch, and then complemented with local specialities Kadarka and Prokupac, as well as a healthy dose of Cabernet Sauvignon (yes, a familiar face in the crowd). There’s also a touch of the regional clone of Muscat that adds some subtle aromatic complexity. “Crazy-Lud” is a play on words and phrases–to the English speaking ear it sounds like “crazy loud,” which is no accident and plays perfectly with the Hungarian saying, ““Ha

lúd, legyen kövér!” That translates to “if it’s a goose, let it be fat,” or if you’re going big, go really big. I also think of this as going all in, 100% devotion to the cause, which in this case is naturally made, terroir driven wine.

“Crazy-Lud” is delicious served with a slight chill in all-purpose stems. This is not a wine to fuss with too much (decanting is optional), but that doesn’t mean it lacks complexity. The nose is a beguiling and wonderful kaleidoscope of fresh strawberries, tart plums, wild currants, peach skin, lavender, jasmine, pink peppercorn, mint, and hints of wet earth and truffle. Indeed the wine will gain additional depth and texture as it warms up slightly in the glass, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its ability to be both effortlessly drinkable and contemplative at the same time. It’s a nifty bit of sleight of hand that only a master winemaker like Oszkár can pull off. As mentioned his goal is to eventually sell all of his wine locally–much of it at his rapidly ascending restaurant that is devoted entirely to local produce and wild, foraged ingredients–so if you want to try his genius without taking a trip to far northern Serbia then now is the time!

2022 Oszkár Maurer, "Crazy-Lud" Red

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