The Year of Furmint
„The year of 2017 is the year Furmint was not only given a dedicated day, 1st February, but it was also the year Furmint was recognized with the title, Year of Furmint. With this announcement, a tradition was established, not only within the country’s borders but also on an international level, where it deserves to be. Inventor and implementer of the National Wine Excellency Programme Dr. Eliza Kiss, mastermind behind the Furmint February events Dániel Kézdy, winemaker István Szepsy Jr. and representatives of Furmint USA revealed in a joint press conference what Furmint means to them and why it is important to bestow a grape variety with ambassador roles each year – starting with this authentic Hungarian variety possessing so much opportunities, hopes and trust” – as we can read in the foreword of the recently published bilingual (Hungarian and English) book on Furmint grape.
Every aspect of a grape
The book is really comprehensive, even the most critical minds could not mention anything the book would lack. History of the grape, ancient and actual descriptions of its characteristics, opinions, genetic analysis, regional differences, bottle shapes, Furmint glass (by Riedel), thoughts on the grapes prospects, thoughts on Furmint by winemakers, journalists, wine experts and of course the detailed evaluation of 85 quality Furmint wines from Hungary.
The book is available for free in many wine shops in Hungary (Bortársaság stores and some other places), and if you would like to order a copy, just write to email@example.com, they will send you a copy until it’s on stock.
You can also find the evaluated Furmint wines online here (You should click on the blue boxes to choose the wine region first.)
Great minds, great thoughts
The book will capture a winelover quickly, until you can get hold of a copy or read it online, here are some nice quotations:
“I still remember my surprise when I first tasted Istvan Szepsy’s dry Furmint. Yes, the wine had high acidity but it also had beautiful balance of ripe fruit without being fruity. Over the years I have appreciated the variety more and more. It reflects its terroir showing different degrees of minerality or breadth of acidity. It allows the winemaker to play with vinification techniques whether in tank or oak without getting upset. It happily works with none, some or full botrytis.
Even though not all Furmint wines are great wines, it remains an elegant variety which works well with creativity. Maybe that last point is the most important for me. Great wine is a work of art, and an artist needs the tools with which to be creative.”
Elizabeth Gabay MW
“Sometimes the smallest details make a huge difference. A new glass isn’t a big deal, its more of a trend; we see different shapes each year on the store shelves. But sometimes a glass is more than just a glass; it symbolises something that crosses languages, nations and even continents. It is a symbol that everybody understands – it has the same meaning all around the world. Just think about the classic stubby rounded goblet designed for cognac. Anybody who sees it recognises the shape and knows its for cognac. Everyone may not drink from it, but they are familiar with it…”
Georg Riedel on his Furmint glass
“Furmint means everything to me: production area, dry wine, szamorodni, aszú, eszencia, past and future, family, history and our home region, too.”
István Szepsy, Winemaker, Tokaj
“Without Furmint there would be no aszú wines in Tokaj. We must be really proud of this grape, while keeping in mind what options, treasures and challenges are in the future for this variety in region.”
László Romsics, deputy president of OBB, CEO of Csányi Winery, Dip. WSET wine expert
“As far as I see it, Furmint is the startup of Hungarian wines.”
Péter Frittmann, memberof OBB, winemaker, member of Junibor Association
“Furmint is the Capathian Basin’s answer to Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc – all in one grape.”
Martin Bukovics, journalist
Adopt a Furmint!
Within the framework of the Year of Furmint, the Ministry of Agriculture announced the programme called “Adopt a Furmint!”. The aim of the program is to establish a scholarship system for young agricultural experts by raising money to graft plants in Badacsonytomaj. Programmes like these are important not only to encourage but also to retain the younger generation in agriculture. Career development systems such as this one will continue to be developed, making agricultural activities attractive in the long term, motivating with possibilities for development. At the request of the programme’s two developers, Dr. Eliza Kiss (Ministerial Commissioner Responsible for Special Affairs of Wine Sector), and Dr. Csaba Gyuricza (Director General of National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre), Agricultural Minister Dr. Sándor Fazekas supported the initiative, along with a great number of others who gathered together to plant in Badacsonytomaj.
Any individual, foundation, business or other organisation can “Adopt a Furmint” before the end of 2017 by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In doing so, you will be supporting both the education of young Hungarian agricultural experts as well as the wonderful Hungarian grape variety, Furmint.