White grapeThis grape is a bit of a rarity as a still wine. It found fame as the main grape used in the famous style of sweet wine “Tokaji” which heralds from Hungary. But as sales for sweet wines have started to slide in recent decades, the winemakers in that region have refocused attention on producing it as a dry wine.

And the results are nothing like its sweeter version. To make the sweet wine they allow the grapes to form a special type of “noble” rot, then create a paste from it and re-ferment in Furmint wine from non-rotted grapes. It is an amazing process to see and the results are a heavenly sweet wine with marmalade richness. As someone who isn’t especially fond of sweet wines, I’m always converted by a glass of Tokaji.

The non-sweet version uses Furmint in its purer form.  A grape with racey acidity, delicate pear and quince fruits with a peppery streak; lean bodied and bone dry. It can benefit from a bit of age to soften out that acidity.

If you are a lover of bone dry, lively and fresh whites like Chablis, Sancerre or Soave then this could be the wine to shake up your repertoire.

The Facts

Early budding and late ripening with a tendency to rot. Some oaked versions exist which have richer bodies and often a vanilla spice sweetness. Pseudonyms for this grape are Sipon in Slovenia or Mosler in Austria.


Chardonnay (Chablis style), Gruner Veltliner, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Garganega, Arneis

Classic Regions

Hungary: Tokaj

Slovenia: Styria

Austria: Burgenland

Food Matches

Chicken in creamy sauce, mackerel or tuna, sushi, cheese & leek pie