Week 42 – Furmint

We tasted: 2016 Furmint ‘F’, Tornai (Nagy-Somloi, Hungary) 12.5% Vol £11.95 Vinoteca

Tasting Notes

Emma says: “I was surprised that the search for Furmint wasn’t that hard, but maybe that is in contrast to the Marsanne mission last week. Oh I miss the heady weeks of tasting Merlot. I’m lucky to have a gorgeous wine bar/come shop near the office called Vinoteca and found a Furmint there. Served to me by a very excited Hungarian who was pleased I was specifically looking for a wine from her native country.

I’ve tasted a few dry Tokajs in my time. That is the term often used in Hungary to indicate it is the Furmint grape used to make a dry wine rather than their more famous sweet version. It can be blended with a bit of other local grapes like Harsevelu too. And I have found that some producers tend to oak it quite a bit which gives it a more rich and spicy character.

The thing about Furmint as a grape is that it has massive acidity and not a great deal of fruit flavour. I am a faithful acid junkie but even Furmint has challenged me in the past. I’m interested to see what Andy makes of it.

Onto the wine in question. I was really pleased by the aroma, it had a nice marzipan character overlaying quince paste and a salty sea air note. But to taste it was totally different, the acidity hit me like a slap on the face and after that I really didn’t get much in the way of fruit. A bit of green apple, but then more salinity and a firm mineral bite, I can only describe it as licking wet stones. If I had to compare it to another wine it would be Chablis but it makes that style of wine positively fruity in comparison. It also makes me think of the wines we taste just as they have finished ferment in our post harvest visits, at that point they are full of nervy acidity and are difficult to taste and I’m sad to say that was how I felt tonight too. Perhaps it would be interesting to give it more time to age since that would soften out the acidity a bit more and that often allows some other interesting flavour dimensions to come through.

We had it with a leek and gorgonzola risotto which I would have thought is a top food match; creamy so the acidity is balanced out and without bold flavours that would overshadow the wine. It did work relatively well but the wine is so delicate in flavour even that type of meal did overshadow it a bit.”

Andy says: “Having just read Emma’s notes, I need to make a small modification to mine. I too [like to think I] am an ‘acid junkie’, but I didn’t get acid here. Maybe it was all the cheese I ate while cooking.

I found this wine to be quite dull. It was very dry, and there was no real flavour of any description, I can’t even describe it as ‘wine-y’. It was like it was flat and needed some fizz – in the same way that flat Coke tastes nothing like Coke. It needed some life in it. It did become a little more flavoursome as it warmed up, but it was nothing to write home about.

I’ve had the sweet version of this grape, and that’s winning.”

Buying Guide

Furmint is a Hungarian white grape that is most typically used as one of the grapes to make their famous sweet wine Tokaji. It may be difficult to find a dry Furmint so if you have trouble then any Tokaji would be a nice experience as the first sweet wine for our year of grape adventures.

2 thoughts to “Week 42 – Furmint”

  1. I was surprised to find a dry Furmint in Sainsbury’s. It was a Royal Takaji ‘Dry Furmint Vineyard Selection 2016’ from the Taste the Difference range (£8.50, 12.5% ABV).

    It had a very pale straw colour and delicate, light nose. The scents were meadow flowers (rather than honeysuckle style flowers), melon and some subtle vegetal hints (fresh salad leaves, sage). There was a flinty, waxy touch (which became more obvious the longer it was open), but the overall ‘impression’ I got was fresh spring breeze and mist.

    The palate was very dry and as light as can be. It was delicate and delightfully fresh. Citrus, gooseberry, wax (taste, not texture) and flint. The balance was good, but perhaps a skewed a little towards the acid side. There was limited length, but given the lightness this was no surprise. A very nice easy drink which would be perfect with fish.

    I discovered that it does need to be drunk chilled. I left the bottle outside the fridge for a while by accident and when I refilled my glass it was a little too dry.

    I didn’t know what to expect from a dry version of this grape, but overall I loved it. It was an unusual, interesting, nice light drink. Very summery but I loved it on an autumnal evening. It was also great value.

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