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At a recent tasting in New York City, a wide array of Hungarian wines were on display. Most wine lovers who have any familiarity with Hungarian wines probably think of dessert wines first, and for good reason; they make some of the best examples in the world. However there are plenty of dry wines, both white and red, being produced in Hungary that are more than worth diving into. The assortment includes both selections made from indigenous varieties and international grapes. I sampled 35 or so wines that day, which really ran the gamut of diversity. As interesting and good as some of those produced from international varieties were, my favorites were from grapes that are either native to Hungary or thrive there in particular. Five wines stood out to me above the rest:
Patricius Wines 2012 Tokaji Harslevelu, Suggested Retail Price $17.00
This winery was founded in 2000 and first released wine to market seven years ago. Their focus is on dry varieties. White flower aromas light up the nose here. Melon and lemon zest are prominent on the palate. The super long finish is marked by bits of crème fraîche, honey, white pepper and persistent fruit. The gentle complexity of this wine makes it a stunningly good value.
Eszterbauer 2011 Kadarka Nagyapám Szekszard, Suggested Retail Price $18.00
The family at the heart of this winery emigrated from Bavaria in 1746. They’re best known for their red wines. The hue of this selection is a very light red; it almost looks like a rosé. Wild strawberry aromas are in strong evidence on the nose. Cranberries, sage and copious spices are all present on the palate. Continued sour red fruits, spice and hints of sage are all present on the excellent finish. This profile of this wine brought to mind a fine cinsault. This offering craves food; falafel with a spicy dressing would be an inspired pairing.
Fekete Bela 2011 Olaszrizling Somlo, Suggested Retail Price $25.00
Fekete Bela, the namesake, owner, and winemaker, dry-farms all of his grapes. He embraces natural methodology in his production of white wines which are meant for aging. This wine leads with a deep golden hue that shimmers in the glass. Stone fruit and flower aromas are accented by hints of smoke. Tons of apricot flavors dominate the palate along with continued spice. Limestone and mesquite honey emerges on the above average finish. This is a fruity and engaging wine that demands attention and pulls you back in for one sip after another.
Dobogó 2011 Dry Furmint, Suggested Retail Price $25.00
Isabella Zwack, who runs the winery, is part of a family well-known in Hungary for their production of liqueur. She purchased this winery, which has a long history, in 1995 and has been restoring it and the wines ever since. The bold nose of this wine features some bright melon aromas and little wisps of tropical fruit. The palate is rich and full with prominent fruit flavors in abundance; continued melon and bits of peach and papaya are all present. Zippy acid, spice and a wisp of crème fraîche are all present on the substantial finish. Pair this wine with Indian cuisine for tremendous results.
Demeter Zoltán 2012 Harslevelu Szerelmi, Suggested Retail Price $60
This winery is literally a one-man operation. The focus here is on estate grapes farmed on nine distinct single-vineyard parcels. Minimal intervention is employed to help each of those parcels speak forcefully in the bottle. Super fresh yellow peach aromas leap from the nose here. The palate is substantial and layered with stone and tropical fruit flavors and depth to spare. The intensity continues on the long finish which shows off hints of mellifluous sweetness, spice and firm acid. This wine is a delight on its own and will also work quite well paired with light to medium flavored foods that have a bit of heat to them.
Hungarian Wines are just beginning to gain some traction in this country with the savviest of wine lovers, and that provides some great opportunities. There is of course tremendous value to be had because they largely haven’t become known commodities that the average wine lover is seeking yet. Even more exciting than that is the sense of discovery; find some excellent Hungarian selections first so that you can introduce them to your wine loving friends. They’ll thank you for that for years to come. I’m excited to continue exploring Hungarian wines; taste a couple of these, and you will be too!
How to Eat Your Way Through Summer
You're invited to join us in celebrating #HowISummer.
As I write this, on the first warm(ish) day of spring, the sidewalk tables have suddenly reappeared in my Brooklyn neighborhood. Sunlight pours onto my kitchen counter, setting aglow a bright-green salad of sugar snap peas, radishes, ricotta, mint and lemon.
From where I sit—with a cardigan layered over my too-hopeful sundress—summer seems to stretch out ahead like some endless sunbaked highway, the same way it looked to us as kids. The singsong of an overeager ice cream truck, echoing down the block, is certainly playing its part. (If you’re like me, that ragtime melody both delights and drives you crazy.)
The promise of lilac season, the knowledge that ripe nectarines might be on the not-so-far horizon, the prospect of grilled strawberries and juicy tomatoes and beachside barbecues when you wish the sun could stay up all night with you…there are so many scenes to look forward to, so many summer moments to love.
Perhaps that’s why Joshua McFadden’s brand-new book made such an impact on us at F&W. In Six Seasons: A New Way with Vegetables, the Oregon-based chef introduces the notion of "microseasons"—there are actually three distinct stages of summer, he says𠅊nd shows us how to shop, cook and eat accordingly. (Much as we crave all of the season’s bounty all the time, you shouldn’t be buying sweet corn in June, any more than you𠆝 seek out snap peas in August.) Check out McFadden’s sunshiny recipes in our June issue for a tantalizing glimpse of what’s in store.
The way I see it, summertime is when we’re at our best. The days are longer, the nights are warmer we’re unencumbered, activated, fully alive. And summer is ripe for exploration, so we’re taking you to one of the hottest destinations on the planet, with a deep dive into Cuba. Our intrepid reporter Anya von Bremzen settled in for more than a month on the island. She came back with a revealing look at a country in flux, and a food and drink culture that’s unlike any other.
Closer to home, our editors have been on the road, too, visiting the country’s most exciting new openings to bring you our Top 10 Restaurants of the Year awards. From an inspired sandwich spot in NOLA to an unapologetically luxe temple of fine dining in New York, these are the places defining America’s restaurant scene right now.
But summer also invites you to stay put and kick off your shoes𠅊nd you don’t even have to leave your backyard to get the party started. In June&aposs Handbook section, you’ll find our indispensable grilling package, including a foolproof recipe for the perfect steak, the ultimate rubs and marinades, must-have grilling tools, and—this is exciting𠅏&W’s own signature burger blend, which we created with butcher guru Pat LaFrieda. We’ll even show you how to turn your trusty Weber into a DIY pizza oven, courtesy of L.A.’s Neapolitan pizzaiolo-to-the-stars, Daniele Uditi.
Me, I feel as if there are more like 10 stages of summer, given the months of anticipation and the long, wistful aftermath𠅊nd I plan to fill each golden day and sultry evening with deliciousness, squeezing out every drop like the last morsels from a lobster knuckle. That’s why we invite you to join us in celebrating #howisummer, and to share with us the many ways you’ll be savoring the season.
The time of open minds, open hearts and open-toed shoes is upon us. Are you ready? We sure are. Let’s dive in.
Hungarian Wine: Ripe for Exploration - Recipes
These peppers are great for pickling. Try any cucumber pickling recipe.
Chile Güero Recipe
We grow a pepper on our farm called the Hungarian Hot Wax to sell to restaurants that make their own pickled peppers. The Hungarian Hot Wax pepper is pale yellow and moderately spicy when we pick it for pickles, but the turns a flaming red color if allowed to fully mature. A fully red-ripe Hungarian Hot Wax pepper tastes like, well. let&rsquos just say that if it were a wine it would boast a &ldquoa full bodied fruit nose with napalm notes.&rdquo
Most hot peppers don&rsquot have much heat, if any, when they&rsquore tender and immature. The heat in a pepper, like the sweetness, takes time to develop. When the spiciness is fully developed it is concentrated mostly in the seeds and the interior membranes of the pod that tie the seeds to the flesh. It took us a little while to learn how to pick the Hungarian Wax peppers so that we were getting them at the stage when they had developed enough heat to be piquant but still young enough to be tender but crunchy to the tooth.
My harvest crew laughed to hear me call this pepper the &ldquoHungarian Hot Wax.&rdquo It is a weird name. To me, &ldquoHungarian Hot Wax&rdquo sounds like an expensive beauty treatment dispensed at some celebrity oriented fat farm like The Golden Door, or else some kind of product for surfers to smear on their boards. To my Mexican crew this chile will always be. known as the &ldquochile güero&rdquo. Güero means light skinned in Spanish. The Spaniards, for example, who invaded Mexico and named the chiles they tasted there &ldquopeppers&rdquo were güeros. If my crew harbors any resentment over the subsequent appropriation of their light skinned chile by the Hungarians, of all people, they don&rsquot let it show. In fact, they shared a recipe with me:
Slice the peppers open on one side. Sprinkle a little salt and squeeze some lemon juice inside the cavities. Then put the pepper with the sliced side up in a sizzling hot pan and cook it till it&rsquos blistered and golden on the bottom. (If you&rsquore being politically correct you&rsquoll use a comal, but Mexicans are pretty mellow so they won&rsquot complain if you gringo out and use a cast iron skillet.)
As you put the peppers on the comal, stir them around to keep them from sticking or lift them off, try not to spill the lemon juice, since the juice and salt serve to ameliorate the sting of the pepper and make this snack a pleasant experience for all potential diners. (It is simply not true that all Mexicans like really spicy food!) Serve these peppers hot from the comal or at room temperature. They&rsquore great either way.
PEELING PEPPERS (this is an all purpose recipes for peppers, the hungarian wax peppers may be a bit tedious to do this way since they're smaller than 'regular bells'.): Lay the peppers in a broiler pan, and broil until their skins blister (2-3 minutes). With a tong or long fork, slightly rotate them and continue turning until the peppers are completely charred, then pop them into a paper bag. Close the bag and the let the peppers sit in it for 15-20 minutes: the charred skin steams loose from the flesh. Then, holding each pepper over a bowl, slit down one side, open it up, and discard the seeds, ribs and stem. Cut the pepper into 2-3 pieces, and peel off the loosened skin with a paring knife. The bowl collects the pepper juices, which can be used to store the peeled peppers up to 2 days, if you wish. Or, drain the skinned and seeded peppers on a rack. If you have a gas stove, you could also char the peppers over the flame, or you can use an open grill.
Oz Clarke’s top 10 Hungarian wines to put on your radar
Oz Clarke, wine expert and ambassador of Hungarian wine, sees a bright future for wines of Hungary on the international stage. Part of the reason, he thinks, is because young people don’t want to drink the international grape varieties their parents drink – they are returning to the type of ancient varietals that Central European countries excel in. Chris Wilson caught up with Clarke over brunch and tasted the 10 Hungarian wines he thinks you should have on your radar.
Oz Clarke, wine expert and ambassador of Hungarian wine, sees a bright future for wines of Hungary on the international stage. Part of the reason, he thinks, is because young people don’t want to drink the international grape varieties their parents drink – they are returning to the type of ancient varietals that Central European countries excel in. Chris Wilson caught up with Clarke over brunch and tasted the 10 Hungarian wines he thinks you should have on your radar.By Chris Wilson May 24, 2018
Hearing Oz Clarke pronounce native Hungarian grapes such as Furmint, Hárslevelű, Járdovány, Juhfark and Kékfrankos, was reminiscent of the episode of Red Dwarf where everyone speaks backwards.*
The trade is jam-packed with wine tasting lunches and dinners, with producers, importers and generic bodies keen to pin journalists and sommeliers down for a couple hours, show them a good time, show them some good wine, then send them off blinking into the late afternoon sunshine or twinkling streetlights with some new wine recommendations and tales on board.
It’s a system that works well, especially given the element of competition applied to venue selection, resulting in hacks and sommeliers being invited to dine in some of the finest and most-difficult-to-book restaurants around… and many simply can’t resist.
“Eyes down, no conferring…” Chris Wilson (l) realises there’s no such thing as a free lunch
A rarer food and wine pairing event is the brunch, but two weeks ago I enjoyed my first wine tasting brunch and it was a revelation: 10 small plates of Hungarian-inspired food to be enjoyed alongside 10 different Hungarian wines, all before 12 noon.
The tasting was hosted by Wines of Hungary at the Hungarian Embassy in London where upstairs an all-day tasting of 70+ wines was taking place. Downstairs in a finely dressed room His Excellency Mr Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky – the Ambassador of the Republic of Hungary – was joined by Hungarian wine lover and expert Oz Clarke to host this intimate session… and there wasn’t a Ferrero Rocher in sight.
The dishes chosen not only gave an insight into traditional and modern Hungarian cuisine but really helped showcase the diversity and flexibility of Hungary’s wine grapes and styles. From dry Muscat and Pinot Noir to native grapes Furmint, Hárslevelű and Járdovány and classic sweet Tokaji, the breadth of styles and flavours really impressed.
Throughout the tasting Oz Clarke was utterly enthusiastic about the wines being shown, but also about the richness of history and tradition in Hungarian wine. He sees a bright future for Hungarian wine around the world, and especially in the UK, both into its traditional and super-modern guises.
“The great thing about the wine world in the 21 st Century is that people have finally realised that the world of international varieties is yesterday’s world,” he enthused. “Young people don’t want to drink the wines their parents drank it’s all about experimentation and rediscovering old varieties for them.”
The ‘youth’ could do a lot worse, then, than grabbing a few bottles of Hungarian wine next time they are on a discovering mission or fancy pissing their parents off.
So here are Oz Clarke’s top 10 Hungarian wines for starters
Majoros Dry Muscat, 2015
An international variety to start proceedings – although it should be noted that Muscat Blanc is known in Hungary as Sárgamuskotály – which puts it on a par with many of the other varieties in the tasting in terms of ease (or indeed difficultly) of pronunciation. This is fresh and vibrant with a hit of floral aromas and a distinctive grapefruit and orange peel tang.
Kolonics Juhfark, 2016
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.
Kikelet Hárslevelű, 2015
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.
Barta Furmint, 2015
Another dry wine from the same region (just two miles away from Kikelet) but worlds apart in style and character. This is from the ‘old king’ vineyard and is full and bright with ripe lemon acidity and tropical fruit (tinned pineapple and pineapple cubes). Such lively aromas and wonderful texture. A real crowd-pleaser and worked a treat with goat’s cheese.
Szepsy Estate Furmint, 2015
The Szepsy family have been making wine in the Tokaj region since the late sixteenth century and the current wines (some 50,000 bottles a year) are being made by the 18th generation of the family. It is the Szepsys who are credited with the discovery of the Aszú system of production, which is the recipe/ process for making Tokaj wines. This dry Furmint is straw-like in colour and aroma, rich, full and bold. It’s very generous with peach and pear characters and brilliant, focussed acidity.
Gere Attila Fekete Járdovány, 2016
The winemaker here is actually called Richard Gere, but changed his name to Attila. I mean, who wouldn’t? In 1978 he was given a few rows of vines as a wedding present and decided to have a go at winemaking. Some 40 years later he is producing top notch wines like this Járdovány. It has a deep cherry nose with a sniff of minerality, but really comes alive on the palate where it’s smoky and appetising with cranberry and cherry fruit. It’s dry, tannic and very serious.
Kovacs Nimrod 777 Pinot Noir, 2015
Named after the Dijon Pinot Noir clone 777 rather than the Boeing aeroplane this tries very hard to have the earthy subtlety of a Burgundian Pinot but is just a little too full-on. Shot through with red cherry and raspberry fruit it’s a lively, nervy fruit bomb with rough edges and some complexity. Very easy-drinking but not the best red wine in the room.
Koch Kékfrankos, 2016
The Koch family have been making wine in Hungary’s Hajós-Bajai area since 1748. The current custodian of the Koch’s winemaking crown is Koch Csaba who employs a non-interventionist approach and prides his indigenous varieties as highly as the estate’s international grapes. This Kékfrankos is flinty and spicy with plum and black fruit and a lip-licking smoothness.
St Andrea Hangacs Egri Bikaver Superior, 2013
This single-vineyard Kékfrankos-dominant blend also has Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon in the mix. It has a real sweetness on the nose with ripe strawberries and plums at the fore. There’s some liquorice and spice on the palate as well as ripe black fruit and black olive. Rich, powerful and generous.
Dobogo Tokaji Aszu 6 Puttonyos, 2008
A 10-year-old sweetie to finish. This has an amazing nose, it’s all nectarines and apricots, strobe lights and blown speakers. There’s a stark and unswerving purity here which cuts through the sweetness to offer some savouriness on the mid-palate. A graceful finish – this flows down the throat – with an elegant and refined lift at the very end.
* Thanks to Mike Turner from Please Bring Me My Wine. We unashamedly nicked this from one of your Tweets.
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Tokaj Nobilis – Dry Furmint Selection 2017 – £16.99
The Hungarian Wine Society is the place to find that up-to-the-minute news on this most creative and historical wine country, as well as detailed information on her wine-making history, regions and grape varieties. Our wine list has been selected to give an introduction to each of the major regions and grape varieties of Hungary, and showcases some of the very best examples of winemaking emerging from the country – not only award winning wines, but winemakers too: our list includes several winners of The Hungarian Winemakers of the Year.
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And if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Hungarian winemakers use all sorts of exciting and unusual grape varieties to make their wines, so forget about sticking to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, and explore our guide to the top ten grapes you should get to know if you want to try something that little bit different:
1. Furmint (w) – as the most famous and most commonly grown grape in Hungary’s most famous wine region, Tokaj, Furmint had to be our number one Hungarian grape. It makes up about 70% of the vines found in Tokaj, and has also made a name for itself in the Somló region. Furmint is best known for being one of the three grape varieties used to make the sweet botrytised wines which have made Tokaj famous throughout the world, but it also produces fine, fiery dry wines, with high levels of acidity, which can make them good for aging.
2. Kékfrankos (r) – Hungary’s most widely planted blue grape (“Blue-Frankish”) was singled out by no less than Napoleon as a grape worthy of our attention. Fine acid and a good tannin structure with fruit of the forest flavours, and a sometimes spicy character. It is usually the single biggest component of Eger and Szekszárd’s Bikavér blends and in the past few years has changed from a grape renowned for producing easy drinking local wine to a Hungarian flagship, particularly in Szekszárd. It is the same grape as Austrian Blaufränkisch and German Lemberger.
3. Kadarka (r) – Kadarka was once the most famous red wine grape in Hungary, but its tendency to ripen perilously late, its susceptibility to disease, and the need to tightly control its natural vigour led to its virtual abandonment under Communism, in favour of Kékfrankos and Portugieser. When produced in small, concentrated yields it can produce seriously classy wines – fairly low in tannin, but with plenty of acidity, ripe red fruit flavours, and a spicy aftertaste. It is one of the compulsory and main constituent grapes in Bikavér, giving the blend its aroma and spicy aftertaste. The region of Szekszárd is particularly prized for its Kadarka, the grape is also grown on the Great Plain, and it is being reintroduced to Eger.
4. Hárslevelű (w) – This white grape may be hard to pronounce, but it is the second most widely planted grape in Hungary, and makes up approximately 18% of the vines in Tokaj. It is most famous as one of the three grapes that make up the sweet wines of Tokaji, where it is added to Furmint and Muscat to bring floral aromas and richness to the blend. These days it is also increasingly appearing on its own as dry varietal white. The name Hárslevelű translates as “Linden Leaf,” and good examples of Hárslevelű wines are powerfully aromatic, rich, green-gold, with Linden honey flavours. The Hárslevelű of Somló is particularly prized, where it produces wines with greater minerality and less aroma.
5. Olaszrizling (w) – Olaszrizling was widely planted throughout Central and Eastern Europe under Communism due to its high yields, and it remains Hungary’s most planted white grape, despite being introduced to the country less than a century ago. It is the same grape as Austria’s Welschriesling, although examples from Hungary tend to have more body than their Austrian counterparts due to Hungary’s warmer climate – Olaszrizling produced around Lake Balaton, Somló, and Eger is particularly prized. It responds well to aging in oak and has a unique bitter almond character. Despite the name it has no link to the Riesling grape of Germany.
6. Portugieser (r) – Common in Austria, Germany and Romania, as well as Hungary, but the Portuguese link suggested by the name is misleading, or at least unproven. Portugieser (previously known as Kékoportó) is an extremely prolific and high yielding grape, which made it popular under Communism, but the downside of this vigour is a tendency to produce large quantities of dull wine if not restrained. Enter the wine-makers of Villány: Portugieser’s stronghold, and Hungary’s most southerly and hottest wine region is producing shining examples of what can be done with this grape – well-coloured, lively red wines, a bit like Kékfrankos, but more full-bodied. Along with Kadarka and Kékfrankos it is also an ingredient of Bikavér. Portugieser also plays an important role in producing fresh fruity young wines in time for the important traditional feast of St Martin’s Day in Hungary (Nov 11th), drawing comparisons with the role of Gamay in Beaujolais Nouveau.
7. Irsai Olivér (w) – A relatively recent Eastern European cross breed of the Pozsony and Pearl of Csaba grapes, developed in the 1930s for table wines, the resulting Irsai Olivér ripens early and easily and produces wines known for their perfumed, Muscat-like aromas. Irsai Olivér wines are typically light and refreshing, with a juicy tropical fruit character on the palate.
8. Kéknyelű (w) – Unlike most of the grapes that start with “kek” (which translates as “blue” in Hungarian), Kéknyelű is a white grape, and the name translates as “blue stalk.” This venerated grape was once widely planted, but due to its extremely temperamental nature and tiny yields it came close to disappearing altogether during Communist times. It is now found almost exclusively on the north shores of Lake Balaton, where it produces small quantities of very unusual wines.
9. Muscat (r/w) – there are many types of Muscat grape, but the one we are most concerned with here is the extensively titled Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, thankfully also known as Muscat Lunel or Yellow Muscat in Hungary. The oldest and finest grape in the Muscat family, it makes up about 8% of the plantings in Tokaj, and is the third major component of Tokaji Aszu. Lots of people ask why you can’t say a wine tastes of grapes – well, muscat is one of the varieties where you traditionally can, without expecting to be laughed at. Look out for orange flowers and spicy hints as well, and a strong perfume. Outside of Tokaj another variety of Muscat – Muscat Ottonel – is the most widely planted, and takes up considerably more hectares than Muscat Lunel.
10. Cabernet Franc (r) – Best known as a Bordeaux grape, where it is usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. So what is it doing in our list here? Because many are saying that in Southern Hungary, where the grape plays more of a lead role than in Bordeaux and is often unblended, Cabernet Franc has found its natural home outside France. Hungary’s most notable examples come from the rival wine regions of Szekszárd and Villány, but Eger and the regions around Lake Balaton are hot on their heels. The climate and soil of Southern Hungary seem capable of producing unique examples of Cabernet Franc – complex and concentrated, chocolatey, with juicy red fruits and blueberries.
Keep an eye out for the following other grapes, which appear regularly in Hungarian wine offerings: Riesling (Rhein Riesling), Zweigelt, Szurkebarat (Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio), Tramini (Gewurztraminer), Juhfark (“Sheep’s Tail”), Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Leanyka (“Maiden”), Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Kiralyleanyka (“Princess”).
Bordeaux and Southwest France
Sauternes is rooted in fluvial white-pebble and limestone outcrops that enhance the magical combination of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. South of the city of Bordeaux, it’s a land of winding roads, crumbling stone walls and majestic fortresses.
The wine’s sweetness is thanks to the meandering Ciron River that emerges from the pine forests of the Landes. The river carries its moisture and autumnal morning mists before it continues into the nearby Garonne river.
On the other bank of the Ciron is Barsac, with similar but softer alluvial terraces. It’s the equal of Sauternes in the production of magnificent botrytized wines. Barsac offers delicate wines of great finesse, as opposed to the more powerful selections from Sauternes. Together, these appellations make some of the greatest botrytized wines in the world, like Yquem, Rieussec, Suduiraut, Climens and Coutet. Sauternes and Barsac are capable of aging for decades.
Within the greater Southwest, two appellations are worth exploration for reasonably priced botrytized gems that fly under the radar. Monbazillac, on the Dordogne River, offers a lighter taste from the same white grapes common to Bordeaux. Gaillac, located on the Tarn River northeast of Toulousse, relies on Mauzac for its botrytized wines.
In Bordeaux and the Southwest, these are not widely considered dessert wines, but instead are served as an apéritif that’s accompanied by local foie gras. —Roger Voss
Château Coutet 2011 Barsac $84, 96 points. Well balanced, this gorgeously ripe wine is packed full of fresh yellow fruits, ripe oranges and lemon. The fruit counterpoints the generous, dense structure that offers the dry core of botrytis. Acidity gives a line of freshness at the end. Drink from 2020. Millesima USA.
Domaine de Grange Neuve 2011 La Fleur Lily (Monbazillac) $19/500 ml, 90 points. This is a fine, yet ripe, wine. It has an intense botrytis character that balances dryness with considerable sweetness. The wine, rich in honey and marmalade flavors, is opulent, decadent and ready to drink. LVC Las Vegas Inc. Editors’ Choice.
Clos Saint Landelin / Photo by Meg Baggott
A Hungarian wine that’s making waves
Taste the Difference Royal Tokaji Dry Furmint, Hungary 2017 (£10, Sainsbury’s)
One thing most of the world’s great white wines have in common is a strong backbone of acidity. Maybe I should rephrase that: almost all of my go-to white grapes – from riesling to chenin blanc and cool-climate chardonnay – derive most of their pleasure from that electric, mouthwatering quality that makes drinking them so compulsive. That’s certainly the case with a variety that has been building a following in the UK recently, and that is now available in most wine merchants (including supermarkets) and broad-minded restaurants: Hungarian furmint. It’s long been known as the base of the country’s great sweet wine, Tokaji. But it’s in its incarnation as a dry white that it’s making waves right now, with Sainsbury’s TTD version a tongue-tingling mouthful of Cox’s apple.
Kardos Furmint, Hungary 2017 (£10.95, Kwoff, Noel Young Wines)
The Royal Tokaji company, the people behind Sainsbury’s furmint, were important players in the rejuvenation of the Tokaj region in the immediate post-Soviet years. If you like the TTD, the company’s own dry wines are worth pursuing next. Royal Tokaji Company Mézes Mály Furmint Dry Tokaj 2016 (£17.99, Ministry of Drinks) pulls off the furmint trick of combining resonant fruit richness, a waxiness of texture and delicate floral notes. There’s a similar ripe tanginess combined with the steely swish of acidity and minerals in Hetszolo Tokaji Dry Furmint 2016 (£17, The Good Wine Shop). Both are brilliant white-meat matches, while Kardos’s number comes in a racy, citrussy style (think riesling to the Royal Tokaji company and Hetszolo’s chenin blanc) bound for fish.
- Unsalted butter and all-purpose flour, for greasing and dusting the pan
- 3 1/2 cups walnuts (about 10 ounces)
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup apricot preserves
- Confectioners' sugar for dusting
- Whipped cream and sliced peaches, for serving
Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts with a pinch of the sugar until very finely ground. Add the baking powder and pulse to combine.
In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form.
In another bowl, beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar at medium-high speed until pale and thick, about 3 minutes. At low speed, beat in the walnuts, just to combine.
Stir one-third of the egg whites into the batter. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining beaten whites in 2 batches, until no streaks remain.
Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 40 minutes, until golden and springy. Transfer to a rack and let cool in the pan. Run the tip of a knife around the cake and unmold it.
Using a serrated knife, split the cake horizontally. Set the bottom layer on a cake plate and spread with the apricot preserves. Replace the top layer and dust with confectioners' sugar. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream and sliced peaches.
Where to Buy?
The best source is of course its homeland, Hungary, so if you visit our country stock up on this red spice.
In the Great Market Hall or in any other market in Budapest you can get it in beautiful packets, they are nice souvenirs.
A string of red paprika will enhance your kitchen’s decoration.
To buy real good, homemade paprika powder for less, look for peasants (usually women wearing kerchiefs on their heads) selling it in plastic sachets in the markets.
Homemade paprika has more deeper colour and richer taste and aroma. You can also get good Hungarian paprika in any grocery shop.
Put some Paprika paste in your shopping cart too. It’s made from minced paprika and it’s often added to Hungarian-style dishes or served with the meal.
They come either in small bottles under the brands Erős Pista (hot), and Édes Anna (sweet), or in tubes under the name Piros Arany (meaning Red Gold)
Outside Hungary look for shops selling imported spices. They surely have Hungarian paprika in stock, browse the spice shelves of the big supermarkets too.
Time Is Ripe for Alsatian, Hungarian Wines to Part Ways
COLMAR, France -- Europe's newly flexible frontiers may have Lazare de Schwendi looking over his shoulder.
His greening bronze statue stands atop a fountain in the Place de l'Ancienne Douane here in Colmar, a small village on France's northeastern border, and honors the Germanic general who brought grapevines back from his battles in Hungary during the 1560s and planted them in the Alsace region.
Vines taken abroad from the region around the town of Tokaj in Hungary have for centuries produced white wine that growers elsewhere dubbed Tokay.
But now that the Hungarians are part of the enlarged European Union, they're claiming exclusive rights to the appellation, under European Commission rules on the protection of member countries' national heritage. In 1993, the EU stipulated a 13-year transition period that runs out at the end of 2006 for winemakers to drop the Tokay title.
France is the pioneer in protecting geographical names associated with products, such as Champagne and Cognac, although for decades the country ignored its own rules and pasted Tokay labels -- the French spell the name with a y, the Hungarians with a j -- on wine bottles.