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Showing posts with label Hungary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hungary. Show all posts

15 February 2018

Hungary: Tokay (and Slovakia), Hárslevelű, Furmint, Pinot Noir...

Why not start with Hungary's (and Slovakia) most famous wine creation, sweet Tokay, by launching into a couple of recommended ones tried or bought last late summer while on holiday. I finally opened the Royal Tokaji 'blue label' below recently (apparently called 'red label' in the States, as you would), which was savoured on a Saturday wine workshop event I just ran in Belfast and hence was the prompt for this overdue blog post.

Royal Tokaji Tokaji Aszú 5 Puttonyos 2013 (Furmint, Hárslevelű, Muscat; 11% abv, sugar 156 g/l, total acidity 7.9 g/l) - Delicious alluring classic style with lashings of honey, sultanas, marmalade, dried apricot, quince... Mesmerizing opulence and quirky spice, lush sweet and richly textured with beautiful underlying fresh acidity holding it together effortlessly. Drinking nicely now (try with blue cheese or plain ice cream and nuts say) but will definitely develop over many years in bottle. Full price was €25 at Budapest airport, although it was on offer at the time equating to about £15 for a 50cl bottle. Majestic Wine in the UK sells it for £24/£21.60 depending on quantity; and some Waitrose stores stock a handy 25cl size for £12.99. 

10 October 2010

Wines of the moment: France, Hungary, Chile

2009 rosé from France (organic): Domaine Saint-Julien Les Vignes, Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence - nice classic style Provence rosé with pale pink/orange colour and fresh floral, red fruit aromas/flavours; understated yet lively and juicy with crisp dry and elegant finish. About €9 for a half-bottle in Hippopotamus restaurant, Chartres.
2009 white from the Roussillon: Dom Ici Chardonnay/Macabeu vin de pays Cotes Catalanes, Dom Brial/Vignerons de Baixas (13%) - well made "modern" unoaked style with appealing mix of white peach and citrus fruit, floral almond edges vs lightly lees/buttery texture; medium bodied and rounded vs zesty and crisp/bitter finish. €3.80
2003 Szamorodni (sweetie) from Tokaji in Hungary: Dániel, István Szepsy (13.5%) - caramel, demerara, raisins, dried apricot and honey with spicy citrus undertones; luscious dried fruits vs lemon, weighty and rounded with super sweet caramel flavours vs some cutting acidity; developing very nicely although lacks a bit of real zest. And here's what I said about this Szamorodni four years ago (from a trip to the region: much more on that here): 1 year new Hungarian oak. Voluptuous tropical honey, vibrant pure and concentrated; very light chocolate oak tones, subtle freshness v lovely fruit; drinking nicely now, maybe lacks a bit of bite.
2009 red from Chile: Casa Mayor Carmenère Single Vineyard Reserve, Bodegas Santo Domingo in Colchagua Valley - quirky mix of roasted vegetables, soy sauce and herbal red pepper (touch reduced even?) vs dark burnt/smoky damsons, peppery and punchy too; similar on the mouth with those wild herby notes coming through vs lush almost "tar" like texture, contrast of crunchy vs dried fruits giving attractive "sweet/savoury" flavours; a touch of grip and acidity add bite, quite powerful too (the label says 14% alc. but I'd say it's higher). Next day: still quirky although attractive with it, with a combo of bitter chocolate & roasted coffee beans vs ripe almost stewed fruit lending raisin and prune flavours vs tarter finish. It works though somehow! About €6.

14 January 2010

"Interesting" statistics no. 9: Austria et al

I got an email from those nice Austrian wine people today: "It’s almost eerie – the 9 series! The legendary Austrian “9er” vintages certainly live up to their reputation even in the new millennium. It began in 1959..." Apparently, so it goes on: 69, 79, 89, 99 and now 09 were all top vintages (so I'm told). Fascinating stuff, I hear you say. I can vouch for 1999, I've tried some excellent Austrian wines from that vintage from memory, dry and sweet whites and reds too (hopefully I'll find the time to rebuild the several pages and tons of wine reviews from a memorable trip I went on to Austria back in 2004 - click here for a couple of articles I penned for the wine trade press at least, and scroll down a bit). It was also a cracker in Hungary I believe, especially for Tokay (my in-depth wine touring feature from 2006 with more on Tokay vintages can be found HERE in "wine words" archive, and here too under "wotm" Hungary). But not very good at all in Bordeaux (rather charmless Médoc wines but better in St-Emilion from memory?), although much much better elsewhere in France, e.g. the South in general. Austere yet some exciting 99 Barolos and Barbarescos (see here and scroll down a good bit), and I think it was generally good in Spain too... 89 was pretty classic across much of Europe, and I'd have to check various guides for the other 9ers. What about California, Australia (I think so) etc? Although this is beginning to get a touch too dull already to be bothered trawling through old tasting notes and vintage reports... Anyway, looking forward to trying some Austrian 09s, which looks like a fab vintage elsewhere in Europe too.


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Header image: Château de Flandry, Limoux, Languedoc. Background: Vineyard near Terrats in Les Aspres, Roussillon.