Enjoy a day tasting with Samuel Tinon in Tokaj! Writing and all photos by Colm FitzGerald of The Paprika Project. I’m sitting across the table from Samuel Tinon at his home in Olaszliszka, a tiny village in Hungary’s mystical Tokaj Wine Region. He is of medium height and build. His hair is graying and he wears rectangular glasses. Behind him, his Vizsla is curled up on a velvet armchair. To my left, a white rabbit sits on another, matching chair. Rain is coming down in waves of heavy showers and Samuel is very pleased; rain in Tokaj has been scant this summer. Together with my wife Anita, we’re sampling his wine at a long wooden dining table. Samuel is spontaneous, animated, talkative and passionate; the things I love most about the French. He speaks in concepts and rarely has simple answers to my questions. While he talks about Tokaj’s fascinating history I swirl his dry Szamorodni around in my glass and take in the dream-like scene around me: the dog and the rabbit, the sound of rain, Samuel’s French accented English and his cozy home. I then take a sip of the golden wine. It is amazingly complex and unlike … Continue reading The Life and Wines of Samuel Tinon
In the Spring of 2013 we hosted Judit and József Bodó of Hungary’s Bott Winery in California. With their giant map of the Tokaj appellation, box of soils, and rock samples, I dragged them all over the Bay Area for the usual sales gambit. In addition to all of the tastings, dinners, and semi desperate pleading with many of you for some sit down time, we also took a short trip to California wine country. The shared experiences and risks of growing grapes and making wine for a living quickly bypass the often stale formalities between strangers. Within minutes Judit and Cathy Corison were digging into gender politics of the wine business and József was on his hands and knees inspecting old vines at the Library Vineyard with Tegan Passalacqua. After their first (ever!) encounter with Mexican food, our final stop was with Steve and Jill Matthiasson. As it turns out, Jill has both Hungarian heritage and a penchant for Furmint and Hárslevelű. We tasted through the one another’s lineup, ate oranges off their tree (too cold in Tokaj for citrus), walked through the vineyards, and the Bodós attempted to hide their feverish jealously over the new Matthiasson tractor. While … Continue reading New California and New Tokaj: Furmint and Hárslevelű
TheStreet lists Črnko Jareninčan in their top 10 wines to “Chill out in August” with, written by David Marcus. Silvio Črnko says in this video (see below) that he drinks his Jarenincan white blend every day, and who can blame the man from Stajerska, Slovenia, just across the border from Austria? A blend of several white grapes, it has a charming nose of flowers and orange peel and a nice crispness on the palate. You’ll enjoy it so much that you won’t worry about what to pair it with. See the full list here. We are currently sold out of this wine in our webstore but more will be coming!
Our time in Khvanchkara was only long enough for us to fall in love. It is a magnetic location inhabited by people who would live nowhere else. Aleko’s Guesthouse is a window onto this special place. The wines and accommodations reflect the local way of life. It as as easily accessible as could be for such a remote wine region which only a few years ago could only be accessed by Jeep. Aleko is a proud young champion of Khvanckhara. His wines and hospitality had us shouting as we drove away: “We will return!” -Stetson Robbins on his visit to Guesthouse Khvanchkara Aleko Sardanashvili is the owner of this traditional guest house located in the Racha-Lechkhumi region of Georgia. Racha is about a three hour drive from the capital of Tbilisi, in the northwestern part of the country. Aleko is from this part of Georgia originally, but spent several years living in Tbilisi before moving to Malta for eight years. During his time abroad, he gained experience in the tourism and hospitality industries. After spending so much time away from home, Aleko decided to return and apply the skills he gained in his own village. First, he starting making wine, … Continue reading Guest House Khvanchkara: The place to stay in Racha, Georgia