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A taste of Hungary - Hungarian wine tasting at the Hungarian Embassy in the Hague June 1st 2015

By June 02, 2015 , , , ,

There are many of you out there who may not have tried Hungarian wines and I would suggest you give them a go. It's not all sweet dessert wine. I'm no expert on Hungarian wine myself, but I was lucky enough to discover them many years ago as a student. These days I try and order them if they happen to be in a wine shop or on a wine list as its a rare treat. Many of you are probably familiar with the dessert wine Tokaji Aszu as it can be found on many a restaurant menu as one of the staple dessert wines. It's an easy wine to match with desserts and it also pairs quite well with foie gras.

In the UK I got to know a few importers who sold some good Hungarian wines and also there was an emergence on the shelves in Waitrose of some good Tokaji Furmint which is a fresh dry white wine. Since I moved to the Netherlands I try and keep an eye out for Hungarian wines as they are not easy to come by in the shops.

So you're already acquainted with the sweet wines but the majority of Hungarian wines err on the dryer side especially the reds which often have very heavy tannins especially in the younger wines which smooth out as the wine ages. Some of the red wines will feature familiar grapes such as cabernet franc, merlot, pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. The reds pair well with heavier dishes such as steak, casserole and game dishes. 

The whites will feature some grapes such as pinot grigio, riesling and chardonnay and are very light in body and palate so would pair well with seafood dishes and light poultry dishes. 
Of course there are the native white and red grape varieties such as Leankya, Cserszegi Fuszeres, Keknyelu and Kekfrankos to name a but a few.

So on a June afternoon I found myself at the Hungarian Embassy with nothing other to do than taste and sample some fine Hungarian wines. Thanks to Miranda Beems Wine Import for the invite. There was a good mix of press, retail and restaurants amongst the attendees. I spotted representatives of De Moerbei (Warmond, 1 Michelin star) and Restaurant Latour (Noordwijk, 1 Michelin star) and hopefully we'll see some Hungarian wines on their lists soon! I got to sample quite a few wines of the many that were available and there were good and bad as you'll always find at a tasting. 

I was very impressed with the format of the tasting, you were presented with a booklet that had a map with the various wine regions in the first page which was very useful. There were 10 importers at the tasting and each importer had a list of wines that they had available. What I found most impressive was that each wine listed had not only the name but also the region, sub region, grape, type of wine and winery listed. It also listed if the particular wine had won awards. It was good that there was no prescribed tasting notes as I like to make my own judgement on that and taste is very individual. All the importers were very knowledgeable on the wines that they had on offer which is always reassuring. There are times I have attended other tastings and all you got was a regurgitated sales speech.

I'd like to share with you some of the wines that I thought were of note at the tasting. It's a terrible job but someone has to do it!

Here is a taster (pardon the pun) of some of the wines that stood out for me at the event.

Kreinbacher Nagy Somloi Brut Classic NV methode traditionelle from Kreinbacher Birtok Kft
Vincent Blanc Fluer 2007 extra dry from Garamvari Balatonbolgari

Tornai Olaszrizling Ilona 2013 from Tornai
Toth Ferenc Egri Leanyka  2013 from Toth Ferenc - Egri Bovar
Prince Tamas Tokaji Furmint 2013 from Chateau Dereszla
Tokaji Szamorodni 1986 - Hungarovin

Toth Ferenc Egri Bikaver 2012 from Toth Ferenc - Egri Bovar
Heumann Villanyi Kekfrankos barrique 2008 from Heumann
IKON 1199 Kiralok 2011 from Rad IKON

Domaine Mondovin Rose 2013 from Domain Mondovin

Patricius Tokaji nobel late harvest furmint Katinka 2008 from Patricius
Aszu 5 Puttonyos 2006 from Oremus
Sauska late harvest furmint 2010 from Sauska Tokaji Kft

Standout wine of the day for me was a white Pinot Noir Szeremley Huba Badacsonyi pinot noir 2013 from the Elso Magyar Borhaz- Szeremly vineyard.

All in all it was a good afternoon with some interesting discoveries.

On a side note, if you ever do get a chance to visit Budapest, try and visit Restaurant Klassz. They have a fantastic wine list (the one pictured here is 6 years old, so I'm sure it has changed since) and you also have a chance to order smaller amounts in 10cl and 5cl glasses which is great way to try wines you might never have tasted before. I know this wine list picture has lots of ticks but my other half and I did visit the place on several occasions. So don't get the impression we drank all of those in one sitting (honest)!

So the next time you happen to be in a shop or a restaurant and you see a Hungarian wine (that isn't a sweet dessert wine) on the shelf or wine list, give it a try, you'll be in for a treat.

For more information on Hungary and Hungarian wines you can contact
Hungarian Embassy
Miranda Beems Wine Import http://www.wijnadvies.com/
Lekkers Uit Hungarije www.lekkersuithungarije.nl

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  1. I didn't check the Hungarian wine yet but like to taste it soon if they providing shipping in my area. Can you please provide resources regarding the suppliers?

    1. Hi Cong, you can contact the tow wine importers that I linked to in teh article and they can inform you if they will ship to your area.

  2. This is amazing thanks to share