Hungarian wines are ‘Back with a Vengeance.’ At least that’s the motto of a new initiative sponsored by Wines of Hungary with a kick-off seminar at the Hungarian Consulate in NYC last June.
We tasted 3 flights of 15 different wines, including the better known dry furmint and the world famous Tokaj. But we also had the opportunity to taste other rarely exported indigenous grapes such as harslevelu, olaszrizling, juhfark, kadarka and kekfrankos.
Furmint and tokaj were the clear favorites, maybe because they had familiar aromas and flavors. The other varieties had original, unique flavors and aromas that most of us had never experienced before. Not that they weren’t drinkable; it’s just getting used to a new set of tastes is never easy, or love at first sight.
If you haven’t tried dry furmint, it’s an experience you as a wine lover should not miss. It has subtle aromas and a soft taste with just the right amount of acidity. It is very reminiscent of assyrtiko from Santorini.
The furmints we tasted ranged in price from $20 to an unrealistically high $110! The two least expensive were nevertheless good examples of the furmint profile and are worth looking for: Dobogo at $25 and Tokaj Hetszolo at $20.
Tokaj of course is in a category by itself, being one of the world’s top dessert wines. Similar in production and flavors to sauternes, it is the result of noble rot- a fungus that allows moisture to escape and leaves a concentrate of sugar which is then vinified. You can find decent examples for about $50 so add both dry furmint and tokaj on your bucket list of ‘wines to try.’