Jun 30 2015

The aromatic white wines of Badacsony

The (aromatic white) wines of Badacsony

I have been a long advocate to put more emphasize on the fragrant, fruity and aromatic white wines. Especially in Hungary where 67% of the planted grapes are white and the majority of them is aromatic or at least semi-aromatic. While there are some outstanding varieties which are categorized as neutral such as the Furmint, Kéknyelű and perhaps even the Olaszrizling yet there are such a diversity from Muscat based wines, old and new bred varieties to several very locally grown varieties. Badacsony stands out in many respect when we talk about varieties and soil.

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Apr 27 2015

The great Bikavér (bulls blood) tasting Szekszárd vs. Eger

Bikavér a.k.a. Bulls blood in English is produced in two regions of Hungary, in Eger and Szekszárd. While people say historically speaking, because of the “co-operative” it was more famous in Eger, but this if so was purely based on volume and nothing else. On the other side the majority of people reckon from the historical point of view Szekszárd Bikavér was first, yet the story with the battle around the castle of Eger sounds somewhat more exciting. There is an ongoing and never ending battle between Egri Bikavér vs. Szekszárdi Bikavér. Which is good in a way that they push each other to make better and better wines. At least this is my idea of this battle which is best shown when you taste the wines side by side.

It would be too bold to say Bikavér has a definite and easy to recognize style in Szekszárd or Eger. This is not the case, at least not at the moment. But there are certain rules which the producer have to obey.

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Apr 05 2015

The great Furmint tasting reloaded

Can you ever get tired of Furmint? Don´t think so. The very first of “varietal” tastings was the Furmint February roughly 5 years ago, which shows the variety in great depth mainly from the dry and dryish side. While the quality and style is still very much varying across the line there seems come a little closer to a certain style. But as a rule of thumb you could refer to the dry Furmint´s in general terms as pale lemon green to medium deep lemon colour (depending on age/vintage, amount of sweetness, oak use perhaps some deeper colour), usually a neutral, non aromatic nose. The main aromas kick off with quince, pear, ripe apple and citrus fruit but never as perfumed or floral as let´s say for instance Hárslevelü. It has a tendency to ripen late and gather plenty of sugar which later transforms into a fair amount of alcohol, hence usually medium to high alcohol and usually medium to full bodied. Somló tends to shows more narrow character of not too much alcohol, mineral edge with spice and linear style. Tokaj depending where it comes from: lighter and fragrant around the town of Tokaj (predominatly loess soil) and much harder, richer with depth for instance around Mád but usually broader texture more alcohol and overt fruit character with spice. Yet it all depends of course on winemaking and the different soils since Tokaj-Hegyalja is so versatile and rich. Furmint is indeed a variety which can translate the “terroir” into the glass, perhaps one of the reasons while we all like it and consider it an excellent and noble variety.

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Feb 11 2015

Fanti – vertical Brunello tasting

Luca Vitiello sales director at Fanti, our host at the Veritas Wine Merchants in Budapest started his presentation by sharing some figures: Fanti covers 300 ha in total from the south of Montalcino. From this 50 ha are vineyards, 100 ha planted with olive trees, the rest wood land and bare. At the beginning they had only 8 ha of Sangiovese and late 90´s started to introduce some French varietals. It was 1980 that the was the first vintage of Brunello di Montalcino.

The fame comes from Brunello which is always 100% Sangiovese by law. The history of Brunello is a young one, it goes back to the second half of XIX. century, focusing on one particular grape Sangiovese di Grosso. Limited to small number of families till the late 60´s and there after the number of producers increased, 245 wineries produce today Brunello.

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Dec 01 2014

Big vertical Disznókö Szamorodni tasting – “Tokaj Pleasure of Purity”

Published by under Tokaj

Sweet Szamorodni is a niche category was the opening sentences of László Mészáros general manager of the Disznókö Estate. Only a few countries appreciate the category. While the there is a story behind it and a long running tradition and heritage as well but the question what comes to my mind is with the introduction of late harvest wines the category certainly has suffered a bit. While the techniques are slightly different having healthy and botrytized grapes processed as well opposed to the late harvest which sometimes has little to no oak aging and is much fresher in style.

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Oct 14 2014

Bussay – a legend passed by

Published by under Hungarian Wine

Sad news reached Gabor (the author of the article below) and me in the middle of August at our annual Wine Festival in Hévíz, I just tasted few days earlier the Rajnai Rizling 2012 which was one of the best wines of the festivals wine competition. One of Hungary’s finest and very possible the best winemaker of Zala county passed away, dr László Bussay has left us. Unfortunately I never met him but I did taste many of his wines. I was lucky enough to be in jury who selected in 2013 his Esküvé as the wine of the town Hévíz. The International Wine Academy enjoyed his Csókaszölö a very rare grape variety during their visit earlier this year. Overall he managed to find some of the best plots of historical importance and graft outstanding wines.

I asked Gábor Cseke sommelier, winemaker who knows the area and dr. László Bussay very well to write a short article about his friend and mentor. Gábor will have a difficult legacy to follow his mentors foot step, but we all look very much forward to see some great wines from Zala and the region needs people like dr. László Bussay…

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Oct 02 2014

Quick catch up: 23rd Budai Borfesztival, the Wine Festival at the Castle

Published by under Hungarian Wine

Its been now a couple of weeks that the 23rd of Budai Wine Festival (Budai Borfesztivál) closed its doors at the Buda wine castle. The site (Unesco Heritage) is one of the most amazing where you can hold a wine event. However, this year (once again) weather was everything but merciful to the visitors and exhibitors as well. While you run such a risk with outdoor events all the time there is room for improvement from the organization side. Not necessary to prepare for bad weather (but more places with a roof could work wonder), but to adjust and come up with new ideas and to improve this wonderful idea, wine festival.

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Sep 20 2014

Big player from North to the South, Maison Louis Jadot

Published by under Burgundy

The winery has over 120 ha of which 18 ha are in the Pouilly Fuissé region and 90 ha in Beaujolais. Over 125 different wines (labels) are produced by Jadot in a single vintage. Discounting Gamay for the Beaujolais cru´s and others, the share is divided between 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. It´s one of the largest houses in Burgundy, negociant and grower/producer. And it covers basically all of the Burgundy region from Chablis to the south and owns some Gamay in the Beaujolais district as well. But the centre of action is undoubtedly in Beaune. The new cellar was completed in 1997, truly great place for vinification and maturation. The main hall is set up in a circle shape where in the centre core the vinification of the red Grand Cru reds takes place while moving further out to the middle it´s where the 1er Cru Pinot´s are made and so on…

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Sep 08 2014

Austria vs. Hungary at the Austrian Wine Academy

Published by under Hungarian Wine

The annual meeting of lecturers of the Austrian Wine Academy is usually held around the first week of September just before the new school year begins. Last year there was a wine match between Germany and Austria (funny enough at the same time there was the WC qualification game as well) which Germany not only won on the pitch but also wine wise. Quite high if I remember well. So this year perhaps a slightly weaker “football” opponent was selected: Hungary. But it wasn´t about football once again but about wine. Here are the results…

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Aug 29 2014

A successful marriage in Chambolle and beyond, Domaine Amiot – Servelle

Published by under Burgundy

Domaine Amiot – Servelle is the “product” of a marriage between Christian Amiot and Elisabeth Servelle. They own vineyards from Chambolle Musigny over Morey St. Denis. Since they sell quite a bit also at the cellar door they figured why not have some white wine as well. Therefore they trade some of their Pinot Noir to Chardonnay, to receive from an organic grower some village Puligny Montrachet, by the way very delicious.

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