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Furmint and Friends

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This tasting was on the 27th February 2024, in London, organised by Wines of Hungary UK in partnership with the newly established Hungarian Wine Marketing Agency. It showcased an impressive array of 29 producers, presenting over 150 wines.

The highlight of the event was a masterclass led by Caroline Gilby MW who imparted her extensive knowledge and insights. This masterclass provided attendees with a unique opportunity to deepen their understanding of the nuances of Hungarian wine.

As usual, my focus was primarily on wines that are readily available in the UK market, rather than those seeking distribution, so you can obtain the mentioned wines.

These are the wines that particularly left an impression together with my notes and thoughts:

Oremus – Mandolás Furmint 2021 Furmint dry 13%.
Minerally, ripe fruit with slight nutty flavour. Citrus taste with good saline finish.
2020 vintage won Decanter award and 97 points.
Importer Berkmann Wine Cellars, £25.

Royal Tokaji – Sauska Aszú 5 puttonyos 2019 Furmint sweet 11.5%.
Dried apricot and mango with maybe herbal notes. Orange peel flavour.
Importer John E Fells & Sons Ltd, £34.

Bodrog Borműhely – Tokaj Brut NV Furmint, Hárslevelű brut 12.5%
Sparkling using Traditional Method, 24 months on lees. Apple and lemon flavours. Strong acidity makes it very fresh in the mouth. Excellent.
Importer The Old Cellar Ltd.

Bodrog Borműhely – Lapis Furmint 2021 Furmint dry 13%.
Citrus aroma. Somehow superior balance of taste apple, pear, minerality and citrus.
Importer The Old Cellar Ltd, £17.

Bodrog Borműhely – Tokaj Aszú 6 Puttonyos 2016 Furmint sweet 9.5%.
Excellent peach, apricot, pear, honey taste.
Importer The Old Cellar Ltd. £49.

Patricius – Tokaji 6 Puttonyos Aszú 2017 Furmint sweet 10.5%.
2018 vintage won Decanter award and 96 points.
Sweetness of dried apricot, tangerine and slight oak.
Importer Enotria & Coe, £49.

Béres Tokaj – Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos 2017 Furmint, Sárgamuskotály sweet 10%.
2016 vintage won Decanter award and 96 points.
Orange/tangerine and dried apricot with citrus acidity.
Seeking representation

Patricius – Tokaji Furmint Selection 2021 Furmint dry 13.5%.
Fresh, classic Furmint aromas with a extra slight nuts and extra honey taste. Long finish.
Importer Enotria & Coe, £16.

Disznókő – Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos 2016 Furmint sweet 12.5%.
Aromatic tropical fruits. Long finish.
Importer Gonzalez Byass UK, £84.

Tokaj-Hétszőlő – Tokaji Furmint Dry Selection 2011 Furmint dry 13%.
Won Decanter platinum award and 97 points. Was part of the masterclass.
Example of aged dry Furmint. Still fresh and fruity and still has typical apricot and apple characteristics.
Importer Les Caves de Pyrene, £77.

Füleky – Mestervölgy 2018 Furmint dry 14%.
Limited release. Apple and apricot. Slightly smokey, good mineral acidity.
Importer Amathus Drinks, £27.

Füleky – Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos 2013 Furmint, Hárslevelű, Kabar, sweet 10%.
Floral initial notes. Strong apricot, citrus/pineapple taste.
Importer Amathus Drinks, £59.

The masterclass commenced with a short speech by Ferenc Kumin, the Hungarian Ambassador to the UK, setting the stage for an exploration into Hungary’s vinicultural heritage. Historically, Hungary was renowned almost exclusively for its sweet wines, a narrative that has dramatically shifted over the past two decades. The masterclass explained how Furmint is a relative of Riesling and Chardonnay, highlighting their shared characteristics and demonstrating Furmint’s versatility and complexity.

The masterclass looked into the influence of grape blends and the significant role of terroir, particularly the impact of volcanic soil, on the flavour profiles and characteristics of Furmint wine. The content and knowledge gained from the masterclass is the foundation of my new article, Understanding Furmint.

For those eager to experience a typical dry Furmint that embodies the essence of this grape variety, the Disznókö Tokaji Dry Furmint 2022, from the masterclass, comes highly recommended. This crisp, refreshing wine captivates the palate with high acidity and vibrant flavours of green apple, pear, and lime, complemented by a distinct minerality and a long finish. It serves as a benchmark for dry Furmint, showcasing the grape’s potential beyond sweet wines. Available for purchase from Ocado and independent retailers, the Disznókö Tokaji Dry Furmint 2022 is priced between £14 and £19.