The Furmint February tasting is now in its 7th year and it seems that every year more and more winemakers choose to participate in the event. More and more wineries discover the outstanding values and opportunities that lie in furmint. Thanks to the new plantations this grape variety conquers more and more wine regions again.
The aim of Furmint February is to popularize the Hungarian grape variety through the cooperation of wineries, restaurants, wine retailers and vinoport.hu, the online wine magazine. Their philosophy: more and more people say it more and more often and louder that furmint is an outstanding grape variety. What makes it more special is that it is almost exclusively Hungarian. They want to raise awareness, spread the message and invite everyone to drink furmint in February for this cause.
“We believe that we have to recontextualize Hungarian wine. We think that this traditional product should play a special role in our country’s image. In our opinion, Tokaj has a place in the world’s front-rank. We have to introduce home and foreign wine lovers to the dry wines besides the sweet ones. Maybe we could even raise interest in Hungarian wines with a special white wine. We have to stick together! Furmint February is a movement for this cause. We trust furmint and believe in Hungarian wines” said Dániel Kézdy, the organiser of the event.
Furmint is a white Hungarian wine grape variety that is most noted widely grown in the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region where it is used to produce single-varietal dry wines as well as being the principal grape in the better known Tokaji dessert wines. It is also grown in the wine region of Somló. Furmint plays a similar role in the Slovakian wine region of Tokaj. It is also grown in Austria and smaller plantings are to be found in Slovenia as well. It is also planted in Croatia, in Romania and other former republics of the Soviet Union.
Furmint is a late ripening variety usually harvested in the second half of October. It is an unusually versatile grape. The wines can vary in colour from the lighter, leaner, silver-green Furmints of Austria, right through to the deep golden versions from Hungary, with the Slovenian ones sitting somewhere in the middle.
The grape is thought to take its name from “froment”, the French word for wheat, referring to the more common golden colour it displays. Its typical aromas range from quince and pear to citrusy and tropical fruits, such as orange and pineapple. What all the dry styles have in common is a bright, vibrant acidity running through them, making them buzz with energy.
According to www.timatkin.com, furmint is like a white grape supergroup. It’s got it all: the pungent aromatics of Sauvignon Blanc; the richness and oak-friendliness of Chardonnay; the minerality and acidity of Riesling. Somehow it manages to combine all these attributes into one unified whole. Not surprisingly, it is often a pretty intense experience.
The Furmint February wine-tasting was held in the Museum of Hungarian Agriculture that can be found in the Castle of Vajdahunyad in an exemplary building. The beautifully majestic venue really suited the event. More than 90 wineries participated and brought their own wines.
“This is a Hungarian grape variety that gives a unique tasting, full and aromatic wine. It perfectly reflects the character of the bearing surface completed with the aromas of pears, pistachios, peanuts and peaches. It is very unique due to its taste, fullness and roundness. It is one of those versatile grape varieties that could be used for dry wines, sweet wines, botryoidal szamorodni or aszú. It definitely has a place in the world’s front-rank near Chardonnay and Riesling!” said Károly Áts, the main oenologist of Tokaj Kereskedőház.
“What makes furmint special is that it is very rare, you can only find it in the Carpathian Basin. If you want to try something similar to Chardonnay and Riesling, but a little bit different, then furmint is the perfect choice. Its versatility is outstanding: it can be light dry wine, or a heavier, oilier wine or even aszú wine. It is so beautiful; no other grape variety is like this” said Tamás Oroszlán, the commercial director of Tokaj-Hétszőlő Winery.
“Furmint means a lot to me because my family is from Tokaj-Hegyalja. That is where I grew up and it became a very important part of my life. I think that wine lovers from all around the world can find that plus what they are looking for in a wine like furmint. It has many faces and it takes a long time to really find out about its beauty and versatility. But it is worth the time. It can be youthful, complex or an aszú…it is up to your liking” said Ferenc Naár, the oenologist of Pajzos Megyer.
“Furmint is one of the most elegant grape varieties of the Carpathian Basin. Our winery is in the Balaton Uplands which is ruled by the Riesling, but in the 1880s furmint was the main grape variety everywhere. In our region furmint shows its drier form in a slightly lighter way” said Attila Pálffy, the oenologist of Pálffy Winery.
“Furmint is like an exciting woman. I fell in love with it when it wasn’t in fashion. Somló is a small region and I was looking for a characteristic wine with versatility. But I also wanted it to be a Hungarian grape. I think that furmint has as many faces as a woman has, and it is also as exciting as one” said Barnabás Tóth from Barnabás Winery.
“What’s special about Tarcal and its wines is the loessal subsoil. This somehow adds a fruitier, lighter, kinder aroma to the wines. Furmint as a grape variety is interesting enough in itself, irrespectively of the region it is grown in. We truly believe that furmint has a place in the world’s front-rank. I think that it is very typical of the Carpathian Basin: it is powerful, wild, lean, and acidic in the best meaning of these words” said Richárd Németh from Basilicus Winery.
Copy editor: bm