Jun 30, 2014

The next great wine region...

When you talk about wine regions and wine with your wine mates, the conversation probably never goes to Hungary. Why should it, its not like they make great wine or we would have heard of it. Right? Yeah nah, they do and you haven't! We were fortunate enough to get to taste a couple dozen nice examples recently at a media and industry tasting in San Francisco at the Hungarian Wine Roadshow and we were very surprised (in a good way). While maybe not the next great wine region it is very good and one not to miss.

Wine was introduced to Hungary by the Romans, and the country was known for its excellent wines until the devastation of World War II and the Communist era. Recently Hungarian wines have had quite the renaissance with their 22 designated wine regions. There are even unique Hungarian wines, such as Furmint or Hárslevelű from Tokaj, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The Hungarian Wine Roadshow was a great chance to taste them first hand.

Even the internationally-known wines made in Hungary are just a little different or special depending on your point of view and taste. The number of hours of sunshine is also a little different from their neighbours to the west in this region and a grapes maturation time is longer, add to that the the south facing slopes with their volcanic soils, and you get a combination of natural conditions that with the the expertise of talented wine makers result in slightly unique and fine wines. These factors make even more of a difference in comparison to wines of other close by countries. Hungary's climate is very favourable for quality wine growing because the average temperature is much higher than let's say in Northern France, and autumn is rather dry with warm, sunny weeks until mid-October.

The country’s distinctive geographical conditions ensure that these varieties do stand out from the crowd. Hungary's wine regions have some unique characteristics like around the area of Lake Balaton which has lots of sunshine, while the subsoil of the Tokaj Wine Region cannot be found anywhere else. Tokaj was declared a World Heritage Site in 2002 under the name Tokaj Wine Region Historic Cultural Landscape. However, its fame long predates this distinction because it is the origin of Tokaji aszú wine, the world's oldest botrytized wine.

Their goal is to get their wine into the US market. Among the wines presented were many that are organically grown, traditionally produced, handcrafted, and aged in Hungarian oak barrels. Hungarian wines they say are healthy. They are produced according to very strict food quality standards and they contain no genetically-modified ingredients.

Horkay and Marton
Enough with the mundane and answer the question. So how were the wines? Lets put it this way. There was not a single wine tasted that we would not choose to open, drink and enjoy and with price points starting and mostly in the US $12-$20 range (all ****) that is quite an accomplishment. This is for whites and reds. Some truly great value good drinking wine. The wines range from 5-6 to 7+ and **** to a couple at ***. Also when you consider that in Hungary they are not allowed to alter a wine with water, reduced alcohol and a whole range of other things making these probably the closest thing to what is the latest buzz term 'Natural Wine' you can drink

The outcome of this tasting experience is that we would not hesitate to purchase Hungarian wine. It is good!
We have also put Hungary on our travel wish list. Thanks to the Hungarian Wine Roadshow for the great hospitality and sharing your lovely wine. Till next time, Cheers!

Happy Wine Adventures,

Kiwi & Koala

We have secured a few bottle samples and will be doing a review on these so stay tuned.

1 comment:

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