A few weeks ago, journalist Chris Wilson attended his first wine tasting brunch: ten Hungarian-inspired small plates and ten different Hungarian wines, hosted by the Hungarian Embassy in London. Impressed by the breadth of styles and flavors of the wines, this was for him a revelation.
Also organizing the tasting was British wine writer Oz Clarke, an Hungarian food and wine enthusiast who sees a bright future for Hungarian wine around the world. Among his top 10 Hungarian wines that he recommends, here is the Kolonics Juhfark:
Once we’d got over the similarity of the producer’s name Kolonics to the word ‘colonic’ and stopped sniggering into our shirtsleeves here was a wine that was rich and full with concentrated tropical and stone fruit characters and a chewy, Burgundian texture. Made from the Juhfark grape – which means ‘sheep’s tail’ due to the long, cylindrical shape of its bunches – this hails from Somló where 80% of the world’s Juhfark is planted.
Károly Kolonics (pronounced Kolo-nitsch) is one of our newest producers from Hungary. He is a 4th generation winemaker whose grandparents were born and raised in Somló. His labels show photos of his great-grandparents from the late 1800s. Today, Károly organically farms about 9 hectares of Olaszrizling, Furmint, Juhfark and Hárslevelű. All wines are fermented with native yeast and aged in large 1500L Hungarian oak and Acacia barrels to get less oak contact. According to Károly, “I usually say that when you taste a wine and you speak about the barrel you do not speak about God but of his dress.”
Oz Clarke also recommends Stéphanie Berecz’s Kikelet Hárslevelű from the village of Tarcal in Tokaj:
A muscular straw-like nose with a dash of stone and stone fruit. This is lush and pure with a tangy and chewy profile – lots to get the tongue and teeth around. There’s apple blossom too and a sappy finish. Winemaker Stéphanie says that her wines are the first dry wines to be made in the region of Tarcal – she believes that only when you make dry wines can you understand the nuance and specifics of the terroir without characters being masked by sweetness.
Read Chris Wilson’s article and discover Oz Clarke’s top 10 Hungarian wines here.