On my palate – I

It would be highly appropriate to give you a few notes on who am I, what I do, and why I do it. So here comes a short introduction.

I have started running this blog because I think it would be great to have a place on the Internet where you can find references on Hungarian wines, from the local point of view. I am an amateur wine enthusiast, an economist by profession (if that qualifies for a profession) and I plan to run the blog unsponsored, buying wines in retail & posting my own, private opinions here.

I have probably tasted some 5.000-10.000 wines before starting this blog. They are mostly Hungarian wines, but we also try to taste a lot of foreign wines –  we are trying hard to get the best international coverage we can afford. This still rules us out of top Burgundy, and Bordeaux first growth is rather met at tasting events and festivals. You will also not find any Sauternes verticals, either. Vintage port and champagne will also not be covered, as there are no consistent top-flight producers in Hungary yet.

We are still lucky to be able to test the best of Tokaj every year, so there is some compensation available in being Hungarian, I dare not complain.

It is from brandies where I arrived to wine, and Hungary has a really great selection of fruit brandies called “pálinka”. These are strong liquers, ca. 40-50% abv, very intense on taste, pure in fruit, and supply is really versatile: practically any fruit that is willing to ferment is subject to becoming a great pálinka-material.

So I appreciate intense flavours, complexity,and rich flavour profiles in wines, while not being particularly afraid of alcohol. I am also slightly immune to it, high alcohol begins at ca. 14% abv for me, and structure and fatness may compensate for even higher levels. Low alcohol starts under 12%, but it may also go unnoticed occasionally. In the meanwhile, harsh tannins are tolerated much less.

Great structure, sharp acidity, and a very precise cellar work is something that is a bit harder for me to appreciate, though I recognize there is quality behind the winemakers work. I am definitely on a learning curve for great white and red Burgundy, I still have a lot of top-flight chardonnays and pinot noirs to taste in order to rate a juveline Burgundy a true gem. Wines with high acidity may be classifed simply as ‘zippy’ or ‘green’, rather than ‘high potential’, depending on whether they tip my scales or not.

I also need the same experience with bottle-ageing clarets, but I may have acquired a bit more understanding here. I am fond of mature wines, I adore the complexity of developing terciary aromas. I am even willing to tolerate a slight oxidation or tiredness, that is just beginning to appear in a wine.

On a final note, all sweet wines will probably be tested and scored against Tokaj for the moment. This may allow for a reasonable comparison on my side, while I acknowledge that it may mean cruel and unfair competition for some of the sweet wines in the world.

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One Response to On my palate – I

  1. Attila Halasz says:

    That’s right, I love Pálinka! It is really good gear, oak aged versions can be clumsy so I steer clear of those.

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