NEW HUNGARIAN WINES FOR FALL
9/15/2016, 10 a.m.
The Romans brought wines to Hungary in the 5th cerntury AD. Over the centuries, new grape varieties were brought in from France and Italy. Most of the production has been in white wine, particularly the sweet wines created from the Furmint grape of the Tokaj region. Furmint is a late-harvesting grape, often subject to botrytis, the "noble rot" that produces spectacular sweet dessert wines. Of late, dry wines made from the same full-bodied grapes are gaining traction. The Hungarian Consulate was the setting for an eye-popping display and tasting of new releases, destined for a restaurant or wine shop near you in the new fall season. A few may already be familiar; Beres Estate 2014, a mere $14, is among the most versatile of the bunch with flavors of crisp golden and green apples and hints of white flowers, white pepper and a touch of cardamum spice on the backnote. This is a white wine with an unusual mix of flavors and surprising backbone that you rarely see in a white wine. It can stand up to really spicy dishes like curried lamb or thai basil chicken or, one of my favorites, lamb or chicken tagine redolent of Harissa and mint. Kvasinger Winery Estate Furmint 2013-$22, is another crisp, bright wine with a lot of complexity. The Erzsebet Cellar 2012-$22 is another moderately priced, beautifully made white wine that is perfect with a variety of foods. One thing is for sure, your palate will not be bored with these wines. They pack a lot of flavor into the bottle and for a very reasonable price. A veritable smorgasbord of goodies, ranging from various hams, cheeses and other charcuterie showed off the versatility of the wines presented. Somewhere in between, in terms of temperament and flavor was the Szent Donat-Estate Furmint 2014-$20. A real middle-of-the-road white wine, but still sure to please those who are just getting into wine appreciation. Serve it at your Fall Leaves soiree for one of the last meals on the patio before the dazzling colors of fall give way to the chill of winter. It will warm the soul.