Friday, 10 June 2011

Hungarian quiz

How many of you know what is the primary grape for Tokaji, the Hungarian, delicious and famous sweet wine? No no no...no reason to cheat and google it! I am afraid there won't be any other prize than a little bit of wine love sharing! It is the Furmint an almost anonymous grape variety that reigns over Hungarian viticulture but it is also planted in other countries such as Austria, Croatia, Slovakia, Romania and even the regions of formerly Soviet federation.
I have to confess that I couldn't memorize the name of this grape for years, until the moment when I had the chance to taste a Tokaji. But since then it suddenly stayed clear in my mind.
The grape's origins are not exactly clear but likely it was introduced in Hungary around the 13th century during King Bela's reign as a result of his efforts to revitalise his country viticulture.

This white varietal main characteristic is that it is affected by botrytis. So the berries, overripe and nobly rotted are pressed and the result is a golden, marzipany, luscious, sweet nectar whose amount of sugar is counted in puttonyos (3 to 6 being 6 the sweetest). The grape has also a natural high level of acidity and alcohol that give a perfect balance to the sugars, fantastic longevity and great ageing potential.
For centuries Furmint has been used mainly for Tokaji in blend with Harslevelu.But from the 21st century its potential for dry wine production have finally been discovered and since then interest and attentions have more and more increased.
The dry style Furmint has a good acidity, fruity flavours of pear and lime, a smokey and mineral background and a medium/light texture.
If it's almost impossible to find them in supermarket and sometimes difficult even in wine shops, it is probably due to the difficulties to cultivate the grape that means of course very small yields,and consequently very high prices.