11th September 2019
This is the first in a new series of posts about grape varieties, and this first grape is a particular favourite of ours.
The Furmint grape is perhaps best associated as being the white grape variety used to make the famous Hungarian sweet Tokaji Wines from the Tokaj region – Hungary’s most famous wine region, and in 1730 was declared the first official classified wine region in the world. Here, the mineral-rich, rocky, volcanic soil yields full-bodied wines with mineral notes, capable of supporting powerful acidity. Moreover, thanks to its special microclimate, botrytis occurs every year. The Furmint grape is highly susceptible to botrytis (noble rot) – the fungus which is vital for the production of some sweet wines. The grapes are left on the vine to naturally dry out, thus concentrate the natural sugars and flavours that are characteristically found in sweet Tokaji Aszu. Louis XIV declared these wines to be “the wine of kings, the king of wines”.
However, over the last 10 years or so, a new breed of young and forward thinking winemakers have been producing dry, single varietal versions. These wines have now found their way on to restaurant wine lists and have picked up press coverage too.
We currently have one Tokaji Aszu wine in stock at the moment, but I’ve no doubt that another one will be added as this is one of Andy’s favourite wines!
Chateau Pajzos Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2013
One of the best vintages for the last 20 years in this region. This stylish Tokaji has a delightful aromatic quality combined with superb richness yet balanced by classic Tokaji acidity. Lots of citrus, dried apricot, peach, caramel and praline. £35.00
Dry Furmint wines will particularly appeal to lovers of crisp, minerally and flinty wines like dry Rieslings, Chenin Blancs and Chablis style Chardonnays. We’ve been a fan of dry Furmint wines for quite some time now – they are very food friendly but equally a lovely wine to sip and savour! We wholeheartedly recommend for you to try.
We have two dry Furmint wines from Hungarian producer Kardos Vineyards Estate.
Both are excellent within their price bracket, with the extra outlay guaranteeing more concentration and layers of complexity.
Hard to tie down – think very elegant Sancerre fused with equally elegant Chablis and you’ll be getting there. The fruit flavours of pear, gooseberry and lime are very understated but not in a wishy washy way. The crisp minerally overtone adds freshness and balance.
A lovely wine to sip and savour. £10.90
Padihegy Furmint 2015
Sensational. This is a truly world class white wine – it just keeps morphing into different textures and flavours as it develops in the glass.
Austere – in a very nice way – for lovers of all things minerally and linear. Match with cod loin with lemon butter.
From vines grown in the Betsek vineyard of Mád and the Padihegy vineyard of Rátka (where the vine age averages between 35 – 45 years), grapes were carefully hand harvested into small containers before being placed into an old wooden basket press to gently extract the juice. After barrel fermenting with natural wild yeast and a further 6 months barrel aging, the wine is bottled. £26.50
Located in the Mád region, Kardos has been in the family for centuries, however, the opportunity to build the Kardos winery was only possible after the Central and Eastern Europe revolution of 1989. From humble beginnings of selling wines from their cellar door and to local bars, this boutique winery started to get more serious when the owners son, Gábor Jnr. came on board full time in 2008. Abandoning a law degree for the land, Gábor Jnr started modernising the winery, introducing strict yield restrictions, multiple bunch selection and selective harvesting techniques – all of which dramatically increased overall wine quality. Their philosophy is to ‘Create of as natural wines as possible from concentrated, healthy, raw materials, in a clean environment and with as little intervention as possible’.