An Introduction to Hungarian Wine

Wednesday. 20 March. 2013. 10:10 am

Eugenia talks us through an introduction to Hungarian Wines.

Ms. Helga Gál, official sommelier of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, visited Hong Kong to show us the true colours of  Hungarian Wines.

When you think of Hungarian wine, the first thing that comes into mind is their famous Tokaji Aszu.  But how much do we know of this wine country beyond their dessert wines?   The official sommelier of Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs held a workshop at Hotel Icon’s Vinoteca to educate wine lovers on the impressive evolution and spectrum of wines from Hungary.

To understand wine is to appreciate the history and tradition of a place.  After 40 years under communist rule, Hungary is returning with full force in the wine world to establish its place as a quality and terroir-driven wine country.  Gone is the industrialization and state owned production lines, Ms. Helga Gál opened our eyes and palates to the unique wines on offer, from cool climates to volcanic soil, a slice of Hungarian terroir was shared at the workshop.

Native Grapes from Hungary: 

The first wine tasted was by Benedek Winery, made of a white varietal called Cserszegy Fuszeres.   This wine from Mátra was fresh and floral, and as recommended by Ms. Helga, a great wine as an aperitif.

Another wine was from the famous region Tokaj, an area which is best known for its dessert wines.  Instead, this Furmint wine was bone-dry with delicious acidity.  The volcanic soil of the region was brought forth with complex mineral and smoky flavours of the unique terroir.  A wonderful pairing as recommended by Ms. Helga was to pair this white wine with lightly paprika spiced fish stew, or any type of shellfish.

A New Home for Cabernet Franc:

As Hungary pushes itself as a top wine country, many of its winemakers are creating wines with international varietals.  One of the success stories of modern Hungarian wine making is its Cabernet Franc from a region called Villány.  Cited by experts as the “new home” of Cabernet Franc, two wines from this locale was poured during the workshop.

One of the wines was from Gere Attila Winery, a Bordeaux blend named “Kopar”.  Made with a majority of Cabernet Franc, the elegant style was on par with other wines of international quality.  The other wine was 100% unfiltered “Kuna“ Cabernet Franc by Malatinszky Organic Wine Estate, its ripe tannins and full body truly expressed the character of this region.  The complexity of fruit and lively flavours of these wines reconfirmed the excellence of this region.

The Immortal Tokaji Aszu:

Last but not least, Ms. Helga shared with us some dessert wines from the renowned Tokaj region.  A late harvest wine and a Tokaji Aszu wine were poured.  Both wines concentrated in sweetness and flavours, it was a great experience to compare the two.   The botrytis infected Tokaji Aszu stood out with its complexity and distinct aroma.  To pair, Ms. Helga recommended a smoked goose liver with both the late harvest and botrytis wines.

Wines Available from Veritas Wines, Wiseville International Ltd., and Watson’s Wine





One Response to “An Introduction to Hungarian Wine”

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