Welcome to the International #Syrah Day advertised by the Hospice du Rhone. Find another Hungarian Syrah Day participant here.
Today’s post marks the debut of our friend Attila Halász, guest writer & Aussie/Hungarian wine expert. Attila is of Hungarian origin, lives in Australia and he has over 20 years of experience in the wine world. His expertise includes aussie wines, with lots of old world & Hungarian experience. He is visiting Hungary on a regular basis since communism fell apart in 1989.
Here you can read Attila’s notes on a recent syrah tasting that also included a Buttler Syrah from Eger. The post arrived from Attila, and posted ‘as is’, using his scoring and commentary.
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.
The Sopron winemaker Franz Weninger junior is of Austrian origin, his father Franz Weninger senior is running his own family wineyard in Horitschon, and he was among the first to start to cooperate with a Hungarian vintner, namely Attila Gere in Villány, founding the co-owned firm Gere-Weninger as early as 1992.
Franz Reinhardt Weninger (the younger) is living in Balf, making his wines in the Sopron region, and has a tradition to rely on due to the family business. He also gained further international winemaking experience in the USA, Italy and New Zealand. The Hungarian winery completed the transition to biodynamic farming in 2006.
His wines are more and more recognized for their ability to age well in the bottle. This tasting included some of the prestige wines (excluding the flagship variety kékfrankos,) plus some of the more basic wines, and none of them failed they maker.
The first Hungarian cult wine, a prestige merlot from Villány, coming from the winery of Attila Gere. A long time personal favourite, due to my passion for merlot, and also for this particular wine. The latest vintage on the market is 2007, with 2008 just about to make its debut.
From now on, February will be about the furmint variety. I have already kicked off in style, and the rest is yet to come.
The Vinoport guys have launched the nationwide Furmint February programme last year. It was a real success, several wine sellers and restaurants joined, serving special offers on furmints, plus a public festival tasting took place with some 30-50 winemakers presenting their furmints.
Let me introduce you today one of my favourite furmints, that I also hold representative of the furmint grape itself. The wine is made by Kerkaborum in Csörnyeföld of Southern Zala. Kerkaborum is a small winery run by 3 friends, two of whom also have their well-respected own operations. Furmint and hárslevelű varieties were planted in 2004, cuttings arrived from Tokaj, and the first vintage was in 2006.
Mad ideas always turn up, and they quickly gain legitimity by simply lingering around. This one was about binge drinking with some extraordinary wines,
that is, opening a few truly great bottles just for fun while getting wasted in the process – and never jotting a single line down about them.
It took a few years for everyone to give in, but finally we popped the necessary corks for the fun – but we failed to drop the pens, though. We were just not ready for that yet.
All Hungarian tasters have some idols from Tokaj. You just cannot escape falling in love with some aszús on the way. But we always wondered how these idols show their class when tasted blind. We also wondered if we are able to tell good aszús from excellent aszús apart, and frankly, I also wondered if a pecking order may exist. So we emptied our wallets, our pockets, and checked the suits hanging in the gardrobe in order to pick up the most memorable aszús from our cellars, added some benchmark wines, and had a blind tasting. This is how it went:
This blog is about Hungarian wines. It aims to present the top wines of Hungary from a consumer’s perspective.
As we draw a huge lot of information from the internet, from wine blogs, reviews, the Cellar Tracker, wine journalists to set up our tastings,
this is a site to give something back – a place to provide information on the fine wines of Hungary, either for tasters looking for new regions, emerging producers, exotic varietals mostly unknown to the wine world, or for wine enthusiasts travelling to Hungary and looking for a short introduction on what to taste, where to travel, whom to visit.
I also plan to benchmark top Hungarian wines to internationally recognized products so that a reasonable comparison becomes possible for anyone looking for an educated guess on where Hungarian wines are at the moment.
Plus anything else may appear that I drink, eat, or dream of…
just enjoy the ride!