Exploring the world of wine!

Furmint trade tasting 4.0 in London!

On Monday I was lucky enough to go to the Furmint Wine Tasting in London, sponsored by Wines of Hungary.

As well as meeting some great wine makers who are seriously passionate about their homeland, I learnt a few things about Furmint along the way.

A brief overview of Furmint!

Furmint is the most widely planted grape in Tokaj, around 70% of all plantings in the area. The beauty of this grape variety is that it can produce a range of styles from dry to sweet.  Even when fully ripe, unlike some varieties, it retains it’s full acidity very well.  Tokaj has a long sunny growing season and so vineyards with the right aspect and altitude can optimise this characteristic of the grape.

Tokaj, for many decades, has been largely known for producing sweet wines as despite being a thick skinned grape, Furmint is very susceptible to Botrytis.  As sugar builds in the grapes naturally through the growing season, botrytis can set in at harvest or late harvest, concentrating the grape’s sugar, whilst preserving acidity.

However, winemakers are now working much harder to promote dry styles of Furmint.  Furmint when fermented to dry is typically, full bodied, medium to high in alcohol, and high in acidity.  Flavours include lemon, green apple, pear and a hint of ginger – a very refreshing wine on a hot summer’s day.  The wines can be young and fresh, or matured in oak for a short or longer amount of time, giving a range of styles.  I also found some examples of extended skin contact and oxidised wine styles similar to oloroso sherry.

Here’s three wineries at the tasting I found very interesting:

Bodrog Bormuhely – I think this is a great example of how a wine label can be used to really encourage trial.  The label shouts young, modern, different – as well as DRY wine from TOKAJ

Breintenbach is a modern winery founded in 2006.  They are working with different winemaking techniques to create oxidised styles of wine which could be described as either orange or made with the encouragement of flor (a technique used in Sherry).

Gilvesy – an organic vineyard since 2014, shows the real flexibility of Furmint.  Producing sparkling, dry, off dry, oak aged, and extended oak aging wines.

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