My generation is growing up, now it’s official. The time when friends come over and bring interesting wines has finally come. And they’re not even wine freaks, but without any coordination three guys are now able to put together, independently, the following wines for a simple mid-week friendly conversation:
1. Hollóvár, Furmint 2008
2. Gróf Buttler, Pinot Noir 2007, Szarkás dűlő
3. Légli Géza, Jánoshegyi Merlot, 2008
4. Disznókő, Tokaji Late Harvest, 2000
Warming up with a Hollóvár can bring tears to the eye of any wine lover and virtually any Tokaji from 2000 would be a closure which would drive wine lovers mad.
As far as I can tell this Hollóvár Furmint 2008 has a deeper straw color than when I first tasted it in 2009, a new wine back then. It used to be more lively and more minerally, today it’s much more mature and maybe even a bit oxidated. Notes of baked corn and popcorn make it good enough, but not so exciting as the fresh and vibrant Furmint this wine used to be. Scores 5+/6- today.
Gróf Buttler’s Pinot Noir of Szarkás Dűlő from 2007 is still in very good shape right now, fairly complex just like before, but now reminding me of shrinken aszú grapes but dry, with firm tannins and flavors ranging from beetroot, through dried date to tobacco and some synthetic aromas at the finish. 7 points.
Légli Géza’s Kislaki Bormanufaktúra probably produced a lovely Merlot in 2008 but I screwed it up with some duck breast I prepared. I came to this conclusion by taking positive notes first but didn’t like it very much after I started the meal. Let’s leave it for next time.
Disznókő Tokaji Late Harvest 2000 is a Furmint but I can’t be sure, I won’t learn it from Disznókő’s website either (and once again, Flash websites should be banned). Anyway this wine is, as I expected, in very good shape and certainly will age well for another couple of years. It’s full of overriped, dried apricot and tea on the nose. Very well balanced palate, soft, botrytis-flavored highly concentrated substance flowing slowly into a very long and pleasant finish. You can call this a perfect closure.
(I had too much wine to be able to give out an objective score for this wine but a fair rating would be between 6-7 points probably).
Whereas Balaton is the prime summer destination of Hungarian working class and a gangsters’ paradise, Balatonfüred is the last major city with some charm and also the starting point of a coastline of less than 50 kilometers actually worth visiting. I don’t know how they achieve that while being one of the most crowded places of the lake, but even the tourists are different here. You can walk on the most aristocratic promenade sipping your wine whilst spotting hundreds of women wearing their best dresses (cheap, of course, sometimes provocative but always clean, ironed, selected carefully and with no taste at all). They often walk calmly with their partner hand in hand, the men usually wearing a sandal (still often with socks). Charming, adorable. There are very few drunk people, mostly the youth, who are loud and drunk but the landscape is different. The buildings are, of course, the main source of elegance of this city, the old villas of the Monarchy’s bourjoisie and the similarly old commercial buildings. All of these are getting renovated and refurbished, villas turned museums and wine stores opening here and there. Only for a good meal you need to cross the lake otherwise you have to rely on the local kiosks’ offering (usual suspects: lángos, palacsinta) and, especially in the row of wine kiosks’, sausage and fish, the suspiciously tasty deep-fried Hekk (of which a larger portion with some potato and kovászos uborka costs as much on a paper plate than a 3-course menu at Budapest’s Gold Bistro, for two persons!).
Balaton is nostalgy to me and for many of us I suppose (why else would people go there?) and I love it. For an hour or two at least. It gives me an enormous pleasure to be there, to smell the burnt oil of the food kiosks’, to watch the lake with the sailing boats, the hills, the gangsters, now the hypsters too, the inevitable remembrances of the communism (every employer in the country form the 60s on owned one, or sometimes a dozen buildings granted to their employees fora week or two, especially to those who had children) but mainly the heros of communism, the working class, and I mean it in a very positive way.
The Balatonfüred wine festival is not a place for the yuppies to show-off and hence its charm. The wines are poor but who cares. They’re very well chilled (much better than at any other wine festival I’ve been at) and the people are relaxed and funny. A good reason to grab a glass of wine at one of the kiosks’ is that it’s the only place around Balaton where you’re not cheated, where the prices are more than reasonable, where a decent Fröccs comes cheaper than a mediocre, warm beer.
I wasn’t impressed with the wineries present but one: Koczor’s Sauvignon Blanc was so good I had to buy their most expensive bottle which, guess what, was very good too, for HUF 1 300 I think, an Olaszrizling from 2007 (!) of which I’ll post a review when I tasted it properly.
Zöldveltelini isn’t one of my favorite varietals and as such seldom is poured with much expectations, or at all. Yet after Szabó Zoltán’s surprisingly good Merlot recently I thought why not give it a go when it only costs a thousand forints (well, that’s why, I know), but it proved money very well spent.
It has an unmistakable apple pie nose with a lemon balm edge, the pie made with cinnamon. Warm, sweet and well rounded. Apple juice flavored palate with lot of acidity, not in a crunchy way. Thin Zöldveltelini but filled with aroma. Later supported by a hint of saltyness. Very good wine for the price.
Price: HUF 1200
Rosé wines come and go these days as temperature stabilises above 25 degrees in the evenings but I’m losing my appetite for them this summer. I’ve become a fan last year, well, many years ago in Provence actually but I dared to admit it only last year. My scores don’t seem to reflect my preferences but that’s not relevant. And in the past few days bottles of Légli Ottó, Kreinbacher and Szőlőskislaki Bormanufaktúra all marked their presence in my glass but only the latter did leave good remembrances really and even that wasn’t so impressive. Is it me or the vintage 2009 I don’t know. But I miss the good rosé wines of the previous years.
In my eyes Dereszla created a school now repeated by many when they launched the Dorombor series by blending Furmint (still viewed by many as a varietal not to be bottled as a standalone dry wine) with something like Sárgamuskotály, or Furmint with Sárgyamuskotály and Hárselvelű as in case of Dry, to create a more (indeed, a very) approchable wine for everyday consumption which is light, very aromatic and affordable. I must admit I find these efforts pretty successful from consumer point of view.
In 2008 the Muscat – Furmint blend is 50% Furmint and 50% Muskotály and it’s marketed by Monarchia under their own brand.
Similarities with Dorombor are endless. It’s pale lemon with pale greenish reflections. Light nose with lime aroma that translates into Caipirinha on the palate with some residual sugar that is a good match with the rest of the elements, mainly citric, lime-ish acidity and lemon flavored substance supported by a hint of saltiness (quite unexpectedly, but very positively). Lots of elderberry too with gooseberry notes when warmer. Good apple-flavored finish.
It will be an instant success of pyjama parties but it’s also ideal for anyone looking for a good light wine to be enjoyed on your balcony at dusk.
Serve it well chilled!
Score: 5, 5+ points