Last month, Wine & Spirits Magazine published its “Year’s Best Hungarian Wines” comprised of 16 wines rated exceptional (90+ points) by Executive Editor Tara Q. Thomas and her tasting panel. Here is what she says about the Kikelet Lonyai Hárslevelű: 90 points. French vintner Stéphanie Berecz worked at Disznókó before marrying a Hungarian and starting to produce wines from his family’s vineyards in 2002. Hárslevelu has become one of her specialties, as this wine shows: From a vineyard rich in loess, in Tarcal, it’s silky and broad, with a linden-leaf fragrance. The acidity feels a little edgy, highlighting some of the bitterness of the phenolics, which gives the wine the cut to match a fatty fish, like halibut. Lónyai vineyard lies within the commune of Tarcal in Tokaj where Stéphanie Berecz and her husband Zsolt live. Its soil, made of deep loess mixed with volcanic rocks, brings a bright acidity and aromatics to the wine. It’s a very distinctive Hárslevelű built to age. Find it on our webshop and try it with a Paprika Fisherman’s Stew.
“In Leningrad, back in 1990,” writes Wine & Spirits Executive Editor Tara Q. Thomas, “the Georgian bars were the place to be.” Nowadays, bars are everywhere in Tbilisi, the country’s capital, and the wines you have in your glasses “are anything but thick, semisweet reds. They come in all shades, from pale and fizzy to dark amber to bright red. They include such a panoply of grape varieties that keeping track of them makes my head swim. After 69 years of Soviet rule, the new reality, when it comes to winemaking, is that there are no rules.” There’re indeed no rules for the Wine Thieves, a negociant company founded by three friends Avto Kobakhidze, Givi Apakidze and Zaza Asatiani except get “The finest Georgian wine ‘stolen’ for you.”. The three friends bottle and sell the wines of small family wineries with no resource to market their own production themselves. Tara Q. Thomas gave 92 points to Wine Thieves’ amber-colored qvevri-aged Rkatsiteli: 92 Points. Avto Kobakhidze and Givi Apakidze worked with a grower in the village of Kachreti for this rkatsiteli, fermented and aged in qvevri with skins, and stems for about six months. Marigold-yellow, it’s a meaty, earthy wine with … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #163: Wine Thieves Rkatsiteli
Continuing our celebration of Georgian wine month with Kindzmarauli Marani Original semi-sweet saperavi. The wine has been getting plenty of well deserved attention this month. Here are two independent reviews of the wine. One is by Tara Q. Thomas, Eastern European wine critic for Wine & Spirits Magazine, and the other is a video by James the Wine Guy, San Francisco-based wine vlogger. Kindzmarauli Marani Original 2014 (Best Buy) 90 points This saperavi is made in the traditional semi-sweet style but its not at all cloying. Rather, it tastes like wild cherries, from the leaves to the pits, intense in their clarity, then fades into a steaky, cedary savor. Its like the red version of a good Spätlese riesling, the sweetness serving to bolster flavor, and balance the strong acidity. And like a good Spätlese, this can go with a wide range of foods, in this case from grilled eggplant to seared steak to chunks of dark chocolate. -Tara Q. Thomas, Wine & Spirits Magazine June issue Now enjoy the video review by James the Wine Guy. He gives the wine 92 points citing its versatility at the table and the fact that it’s “not cloyingly sweet” as part of … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #31: Kindzmarauli Marani Original
Review originally published in the June edition of Wine & Spirits Magazine. Written by Tara Q. Thomas. Tara has been a wine writer for about 15 years, mainly at Wine & Spirits, where she is the Executive Editor and the wine critic for wines of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. A Wine & Spirits Wine of the Month for June! 2014 Gotsa Chinuri Beka Gotsadze grows 13 varieties in his vineyards in the hills of the Asureti Valley, at an elevation of 4,200. He works organically, and exclusively with qvevri (the local amphorae), though his techniques are not exactly traditional: His fermentation qvevri have holes drilled in their bottoms so that he can transfer the juice into aging qvevri by gravity; those qvevri are wrapped in silicon tubing that carries cool water from a nearby spring. Perhaps this is how he’s attained such a complex, delicate wine, as crisp and saline as it is redolent of orange blossoms, marzipan and salted capers. The tannins give it an edge of bitter tea, while the acidity keeps the wine lifted and fresh. It feels like it could age for decades; it lasts on the countertop indefinitely, and is especially … Continue reading #WineWednesday Spotlight #30: Gotsa Chinuri
Written by Tara Q. Thomas for Wine & Spirits Magazine. Republished here with her permission. Tara has been a wine writer for about 15 years, mainly at Wine & Spirits, where she is the Executive Editor and the wine critic for wines of Austria, Germany, Hungary, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. 2014 Coronica Crno (Best Buy)- 90 points Bright and tangy, this blend of teran with 10 percent each merlot and cabernet sauvignon impresses with all the details carried on its juicy fruit-the rose scents and hibiscus tea flavors, the spices like star anise and cloves. It’s fresh and thirst quenching, ready for cookouts this summer. Our Notes: Faced with variable and cool conditions throughout the summer of 2014, Istrian Teran master Moreno Coronica opted to make a lighter, less extracted red cuvee using declassified premium Teran, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Whatever role the international varieties play, it is the Teran and the Terra Rossa soil that dominate the character of the wine. It is bright and spicy with notes of myrtle, thyme, orange, clove and the region’s characteristic briny iron note. A great wine to enjoy on its own or with pizza; it’s comfort wine for comfort food!