Sunday, 25 January 2009

Hungary - an update

We have worked our way through about half the plunder from Hungary and the results have been mostly fair to disappointing so far. As a reminder here is the list. Comments on the bottles opened to date follow in blue.

Harslevelu (Tornai) 12.5%. Clearly Harslevelu is a sweet variety only of interest as a component of Tokaj. This was a well made wine but need not detain us in purezza.
Harslevelu (Tornai) 13%
Furmint (Tornai) 12%
Very good indeed! Drier as well as less alcoholic than other Furmints we have encountered. Perhaps not surprisingly we have found this wine in London imported by Zelas Wines and Sprits and available albeit at a rather hefty price from 'Wine of Course', 216 Archway Road, N6 5AX (2028 347 9006).
Leanyka (Toth Ferenc) 13% Turns out to be the same as Feteasca (Romania). Pleasant but off-dry. No 'ethnic' notes (in other words 'individuality'). Not unlike a Vinho Verde.
Cserszegi Fuszeres (Gelbmann Pince) 10.6% Quite pleasant but again off-dry. Reminiscent of Riesling.
Keknyelu and Olaszrizling (Badacsonyi Tomaj Cuvee) 12.5%

This is a find. We were beginning to think Hungarian white was all off-dry to medium sweet. This was refreshing and interesting. Not a sensational discovery but let's say worthwhile importing provided the price was right (£6?). Better than anything Chapel Hill has to offer!
Juhfark by Pantlika at 12.5%
Slightly petillant, less aromatic and perhaps less characterful than the example tasted in Buda but pleasantly drinkable. Sadly not an essential candidate for export.

Kadarka (Duzsi Tamas) 12.5%
More enjoyable but less 'ethnic than the Kadarka tasted at the Kiraly Borhaz cellars in Buda. Akin to a light Beaujolais. By the same token a bit 'international' and so less interesting.
Cabernet Franc (Tamas & Zsolt Gere, Villanyi) 13% This was "good enough but not enough good" as my dear artist, the great Russian bass Evgeny Nesterenko used to say.
Egri Bikavers by Tibor Gal for Gundel at 13% and the other by Thummerer (13.5%) The first should be passed over in silence and the second soon forgotten.
Bock Kekfrankos from Villanyi (13%). Again pleasant while it lasted but to be honest - unmemorable.

There are surely better Hungarian wines to be had but it is beginning to become clear why they are not very much in evidence internationally, with the exception of Tokaj of course. We will have to find another pretext to return there and perhaps come back with a mixed case from the (more expensive) wine merchant, Bortarsasag.

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