Last week we reported the announcement of the 21st VinAgora International Wine Competition of Hungary. Then we introduced a champion Garamvári sparkling, a Grand Gold Thummerer Bikavér and a special award winner Paulus Olaszrizling. Now we will present 7 of the 140 gold winners, this time only white wines – to suit your summer grill parties or to crown a summer wedding. Hungary is first of all a white wine country with numerous indigenous grape varieties in diverse styles. The wines are listed in alphabetical order.
1, Badacsonyi Olasz rizling 2017, Borbély Family Winery, Badacsony
The family winery is specialized in Olaszrizling (the name of the grape is to be written together, but the Borbélys use the archaic spelling), whenever they “touch this grape, it turns into gold” – especially in this case. This late harvest wine contains 73 g residual sugar, which is nicely balanced by the 6 g acidity and the minerality coming from the volcanic soil. Olaszrizling is Hungary’s most widely planted grape, it is especially important around Lake Balaton, where Borbély estate is located.
Barta Öreg Király Dűlő Szamorodni 2015, Barta Cellar, Tokaj
Tokaj is traditionally a gold winner wine region. With its “liquid gold’ – the Tokaji Aszú – this region is usually the king of the wine competitions. Szamorodni is a less known – and less expensive –, but exciting, and nowadays trendier and trendier wine style. The bunches contain some botrytised berries, however these berries are not picked separately, like for aszú, but are picked together with the healthy berries. Barta’s Szamorodni is made of 100% Furmint and it contains 99 g residual sugar.
Gold Zenit 2019, Paulus Wine House, Mór
Charming nose, grapey, juicy palate – a typical Zenit is a lovely summer wine, especially if it is made with great care, and the aromas are not excessive, not overwhelming. Zenit is a crossing between Bouvier and Ezerjó grapes created in Pécs Research centre in Hungary by Ferenc Király in 1951, but it was officially recognized only in 1976. Paulus Wine House is a relatively young, first generation winery – though built on family traditions –, and is very successful with countless medals within its short history.
Kamocsay Prémium Olaszrizling 2017, Hilltop, Neszmély
Another evidence to prove the versatile character of Olaszrizling grape. This variety can produce neat, decent everyday wine, a noble late harvest wine (like our No1 example) and it can produce matured, great white wine as well. Ákos Kamocsay is one the best producers of white wines (with titles like Winemaker of the Year in Hungary and also in the UK), and his premium line is worth collecting and keeping in the cellar.
Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos 2016, Patricius Winery, Tokaj
A list of superb white wines cannot be complete without the king of wines: Tokaji Aszú. Patricius Winery has a 20 year long history of making award winning Tokaji Aszú wines, this 2016 vintage is not an exception. The 194 g (!) residual sugar is amazingly balanced by its 11.4 g acidity. “Nicest aromas of botrytized berries followed by enormous, high structure and full body. Long, smooth, endless taste and exceptional deepness of peach, apricot and fig character. Full of Tokaj.”
Top Selection Grófi Hárslevelű 2015, Tornai Winery, Somló
Somló is a “hot” wine region in Hungary – not because of the temperature, but because it is great success story and the small volcanic hill attracts more and more wine fanatic pilgrims. Tornai is a family winery managed by second generation Tamás Tornai, and the estate can boast several International Wine Challenge medals and even trophies! Hárslevelű is an important indigenous grape of ours, according to many experts it has even more potential than that of the Furmint grape. “Lime-honey-like aromas in the nose mixed with mineral notes, rilled peppers are also displayed in the back. Extremely rich, with the typical dried fruit character of ripe – overripe grapes. In addition to the fruitiness, the oakyness also appear in harmony with the rounded acidity that support the sip. Mineral, stony, exciting finish with great ripening potential. “
Utopia Cuvée 2017, Kristinus Wine Estate, Balatonboglár
Hungary is proud of its indigenous grape varieties, but it does not mean that we do not like international grapes. Utopia is a blend of three well known varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Gris. Kristinus Wine Estate is in the process of converting the vineyards into biodynamic farming, and – as Florian Zaruba estate manager hopes – the wines are getting more unique, they are having more and more personality. “Citrus notes and peach on the nose with exotic fruits and juicy peach on the palate, its texture is characterised by creaminess thanks to aging in a barrel. It has a long aging potential.”