I’ve been preparing to write about this wine until many things I wanted to write are now out of date. But please continue reading, having in mind that these are my thoughts today (yesterday, actually).
I must admit that I’m relatively new to Tokaj wines. At the heights of my snobbery, drinking sweet wines was out of question. This only started changing 3 years ago under heavy influence of a local winemaker. Now I can only laugh at myself, how pathetic it was not being able to find the place of Tokaj wines in wine drinking. Anyway, my attention towards Tokaj started few years after Tokaj producers realised the potential in Furmint and Hárslevelű. Even today, only a handful of them are taking the dry Tokaji seriously. Most of them still think of it as a side-effect of variable climate: botritis-based noble rotting does not happen every year, at least not with the required intensity. And the result is either late harvest wines (which do not sell in large quantities – although it should, but this will be the subject of another post yet to come) or dry Furmint. Traditionally, these were mostly sold as bulk-wines but fortunately some quality winemakers started exploring the terroir in these wines. And the grapes appreciated their efforts, resulting in exceptional dry furmints in 2000 repeating it in almost every year. Of course, its quality still varied each year, so the better the conditions were, more Aszú were produced and less dry Furmint. In spite of this, you can still buy from the exceptional Oremus Mandolás Furmint 2003 and I celebrated this so much I bought several bottles from that year’s harvest.
I must admit I like Furmint a bit more than Hárslevelű, which tend to be more spicy.
Now let’s get to the wine.
First of all, the nose is still at its best: very intense, a mixture of honey, cinnamon and lemon raspings. Beautiful, very dense. Unlike the more elegant Hétszőlő (Hétszőlő represents to me a whole other school of Furmint making), Mandolás is (although heavier on the nose and on the palate) more playful, sunny. Its maker’s objective was to impress you immediately when you sniff it. Good job, well done. Well balanced in on the nose, a whirlpool of sweetness and a bitter undertone. When you taste it, the whirlpool takes to the rocky bottom: it’s a mixture of minerals and pear, or rather quiche. Yes, because almond is also present with a mouth-filling sensation. Then suddenly, earlier than just a few months ago, its age takes over the taste and turns it into a tart, but still tasty, long finish. It recalls the memories of multi-colored fall leafs in its taste. And nice touch of mineral sensation remains.
This wine is now on sale with a discount, at around HUF 2 100 which still qualifies it for a best buy but only just, and not for long. So go and get one and drink it immediately.
Score: 6+ (it used to be a 7/7+ not so long ago)
Price: HUF 2 100 (EUR8)