Friday, May 30, 2014
A couple weeks back I happened upon a chance tweet from @HUN_WineRoad announcing the Hungarian Wine Roadshow tour of the United States. Even better, they were stopping in at the Screwtop Wine Bar, close to home in Arlington Virginia. If you are unfamiliar with Hungarian wines, there are a couple indigenous beauties such as Furmint, Hárslevelű, Irsai Oliver, Kadarka; with German\Austria influences of Kékfrankos (Blaufrankish), Müller-Thurgau, and Olaszrizling (Welschriesling). International varieties flourish in Villány as well as Eger & Szekszárd.
When I arrived at the tasting, there were maybe 30 wines lining the table with the Roadshow's rep Martin, ready to pour. The wines ranged in retail price from $1.50 (yes, some bulk wines) to $15 for the serious brands. So affordable. There were only about five white wines, which generally reflects the composition of the Hungarian wine industry. The most interesting of these were the Figula Winery 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and the Almagyar-Érseki Vineyard 2011 Lelkifröccs White Cuvée - a blend of Leányka, Traminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Rhine Riesling, and Olaszrizling.
For the reds, I found that the Tamás Günzer Winery was the most consistent, followed by Mészáros Winery, and Polgár Winery, and . Tamás Günzer is located in Villány and their single varietal Cabernets were the highlights of the tasting - both had juicy characters with soft tannins. Their Stílus blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Kékfrankos was not bad either. Mészáros is located in Szekszárd and specializes in Kékfrankos. Their Bodzási Lemberger was the best Kékfrankos of the group, portraying the typical slightly spicy flavor with a twist of toffee. The winery's 2011 Merlot was also well received - nice acidity and cherry flavors. Polgár is also based out of Villány with their 2011 Cuvée (Syrah and Cabernet Franc) and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon both drinkable now with their soft tannins. A couple other interesting reds were the Demeter Winery Franc de Franc, a blend of Cabernet Franc and Kékfrankos, and the Thummerer Winery 2009 Bull’s Blood Superior. This later is a blend of Kékfrankos, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot and is velvety smooth, and like the former, juicy sour cherry flavors.
The road trip continues through mid-June, so check their schedule to see if they are visiting your area: Jacksonville, New Orleans, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Napa. And if so, definitely plan to attend. Cheers.