#WineWednesday Spotlight #112: Apátsági Juhfark

apatsagi vineyard under the snow
Apátsági vineyards under the snow

“I was intrigued to see Matt Kramer’s article this summer highlighting four wonderful wine regions to visit: Santa Barbara, the Douro Valley, Ribeira Sacra and Tokaj,” explains wine lover and blogger John Brooks in his recent blog post The Charm of Somlo.

But on one of these trips, he found the lesser-known and tiny Somló appellation and the vineyards growing on this cone-shaped volcanic mountain:

Somló Hill in winter

The grapes in the vineyards on the hill at Somló include furmint and harslevelu–as do the vineyards in Tokaj–and olaszrizling, a soft and fruity grape known as welschriesling in Austria (unrelated to the better known riesling). But the signature grape of Somló is juhfark–Hungarian for “sheep’s tail” because the long and tightly clustered bunches which curve at the end bear resemblance to a sheep’s tail. Juhfark, which is only grown in any significant quantity in Somló, is considered something of a transparent grape–it takes on the characteristics of the place it is grown. In Somló, the juhfark grapes get good sun, producing a wine of richness–on a frame of strong minerality with the hints of saltiness that can be found in some volcanic soils.

Accompanied by Eva Cartwright, owner of the Somló Wine Shop, he visited several wineries:

zoltan and new truck at Apatsagi
Zoltán Balogh, manager of Apátsági

Among the best known of Somló’s producers is Apátsâgi (Hungarian for “abbey”). Zoltân Balogh bought the historic property from the former abbey and kept the name. Tibor Fazekas and his daughter Dora make the wines and were generous in pouring them for us. They’re rich, ripe and distinctive–combining that richness with the strong structure that underpins all the wines of Somló.

Apátsági’s 2015 Juhfark perfectly reflects Somló’s unique volcanic terroir. The wine is highly mineral, well structured, with a vibrant acidity and a rich, fruity taste. Plus it should pair wonderfully well with your Thanksgiving feast!

“We’ve been blessed to go to some special places in search of good wine,” concludes John Brooks. “Somló is a really, really special place.” You should read the whole story here.

If you can’t go there, check our webshop for more wines from Somló. Indeed, they’re special, stylish, and delicious.