Szepsy Furmint 2008, Szent Tamás vineyard

The Saint Thomas vineyard of Mád has a cultic role in the current Tokaj landscape, as it produces the top dry wine of the icon producer István Szepsy. His wines present the Tokaj vineyards in a consistent way, reproducing a certain typicity every vintage. Describing St Thomas has eluded me a few times before, in this post I attempt to tackle its unique, but elusive flavour profile.
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Tokaj vs Sauternes

On March 19 the second annual VinCE event was held in Budapest, with several great tastings and wines. Among them was a comparative tasting with some great Sauternes, and several Tokajis. The event also qualifies as the Budapest Master Class for the Institute of Masters of Wine.

The Sauternes wines were introduced by Pierre Montégut, manager of Chateau Suduiraut, and the Tokaj wines by winemaker István Szepsy. Conclusions are at the end of the post. As this was a tasting event with limited time and wines, it is naturally less comforting than a pleasant wine trip at home. Please treat the scores as such.

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Raping the Cabernet – the Coonawarra Edition

“Some terroirs are just stronger than the others. They penetrate the vines, ooze through the grapes, and overwhelm the wines, regardless of the varietal. They are capable of turning the mighty cabernet into a submissive,  oversensitive pinot noir so highly praised for expressing the nuances of the terroir.

Up to date I have encountered only two such wine regions of the world. One is the region of Sopron, on the western borders of Hungary. The other is Coonawarra in Australia, famous for her cabernet sauvignon.”

This is the sequel to the Ráspi merlot and the Sopron terroir. As it turned out, a great Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon was waiting for me right around the corner. My ambitious phrase comparing the power of the Sopron and the Coonawarra terroir could not be put to a better test, than having a blind tasting with Coonawarra somewhere in the lineup.

I love tasting blind, I think it is a very honest way to assess the wines. Unfortunately, my friends have not yet learned to hate me enough when tasting blind. They just refuse to pick a number in the first round, that makes me pick the first two or three wines. And I seem to have a huge talent for picking the top 2 wines. This ruins both the tasting, as you need to taste the wines in descending order, both the actual wines, as there is practically no warm up, they have to stand out on their own, immediately. Well, it was no problem for this particular cabernet, starting high, and stealing the show.

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Raping the Cabernet

Some terroirs are just stronger than the others. They penetrate the vines, ooze through the grapes, and overwhelm the wines, regardless of the varietal. They are capable of turning the mighty cabernet into a submissive,  oversensitive pinot noir so highly praised for expressing the nuances of the terroir.

Up to date I have encountered only two such wine regions of the world. One is the region of Sopron, on the western borders of Hungary. The other is Coonawarra in Australia, famous for her cabernet sauvignon.

This post is about a Sopron merlot I particularly liked, not a cabernet – still, it is a Bordeaux varietal, not as terroir-friendly as a pinot noir or kékfrankos – but it would not be hard to find some Sopron cabernets, either.

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Furmint February – the Tasting II

After the first part we managed to try a few more furmints. The tasting this year gave a chance to make some international comparison:

Four Slovenian producers presented their furmints, or šipons, plus 2 Austrian wineries, both from Burgenland. Unfortunately I missed the latter, but the Slovenian wines came from relatively small wineries, producing cca. 1000 bottles generally, and their base wines cost between 6-10 EURs, so they seem to be a reasonable comparison to their Hungarian artisan counterparts. The wines did well, and now I long to have a shot at their top wines.

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Furmint February – the Tasting I

I am now a month down on the blog, so I owe you a lot of furmints. Let me start catching up with Furmint February. The Grand Furmint Tasting organized by Vinoport took place a month ago, here are the findings:

Average wine quality was good, very good. Some 60-80 wines have been on display, with no bad wines at all, and only a very few just above pass grade. Most wines would have scored between 85-90 points, which is really satisfactory. I tried to stop and have a closer look at a few wines in detail.

Most wines came from Tokaj, a few from Somló, and only 2 from Eger. Slovenian šipons and Austrian furmints gave a chance for some international comparison.

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Syrah International

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.

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