Golden Furmint of Hungary
Hungary is a small country with only 60 000 ha of vineyards. Despite this fact, we have world famous wines. I am sure that everybody has heard about Tokaj and Aszú. And what about the main component of the Tokaji Aszú blend? That is Furmint, Hungary’s most prestigious white wine.
Furmint is even the main variety of Tokaj’s Wine Region. Before Phylloxera Furmint was planted throughout Hungary. Nowadays it has more than a hundred years’ tradition in Tokaj and Somló. But in the last 15 years it has started to spread again all over Hungary as we have begun to rediscover this variety again. Furmint is a great variety: as of 2016 it is planted in 20 of the 22 Hungarian wine regions.
It is so amazing on the palate – and it is multifaceted. As it has a wonderful acid structure, you can drink it as a sparkling wine, made in traditional method. You can try as a reductive young wine. I am sure that it will convince you with its fruitiness. Even if it has a little residual sugar, the ethereal body and the lovely acidity is astounding. Then you can have it aged in oak barrel for a while as it responds well to oak ageing and bottle ageing. Furmint is even grateful for “sur lie” technology. In the Tokaj Wine Region for example Király, Szent Tamás and Kishegyek have a mineral terroir with bedrock of rhyolite, andesite, dacite, and their tuffs and different minerals like zeolite, kaolinite, bentonite, perlite, hydroquartzite. Another comes from a single vineyard, where the soil is loess. The production of Furmint has a great tradition not only in Tokaj but also in Somló. Then Furmint as a late harvested wine, can be attacked by Botrytis. And of course we can’t miss Aszú wine.
I would like to invite you to discover all these different faces of Furmint. And throughout the different regions of Hungary and also the different technological concepts.
It is a great terroir wine as it adapts well and gives back the terroir character. It is among the biggest white varieties, like Chardonnay or Riesling. With the structure of Chardonnay, the fruitiness of Chenin Blanc and the acidity of Riesling. The optimal yield is 0.8-1 kilograms per vine. One of the most ancient Hungarian white grape varieties, it is distinguished from other ancient whites by its capability to satisfy today’s consumers, and all the vinicoles and oenological exigences. And above all this it is perfect even as a varietal wine. It possesses all the features of the great international varieties.
Furmint is planted in 3900 hectares in Hungary, and 95 percent of this is in Tokaj. With this number it is the 5th most widespread variety after Kékfrankos (Blaufrankisch), Bianca, Cserszegi Fűszeres and Olaszrizling (Welschriesling)
Fumrint is a gorgeous autochthon variety that can prove the great potential of Hungarian terroir. Through it everybody has the opportunity to understand the thousand-year-old Hungarian wine tradition. We have documents that show Furmint was already planted in the thirteenth century. Furmint is known all over the world as a Hungarian variety, despite its presence throughout the Carpathian basin. In Croatia it is known as Posip, in Serbia as Moslavac, in Slovenia Sipon etc.
For Furmints 2010 was a really rainy year, but with the help of the Indian summer, we were able to produce a nice Furmint with a little botrytis. 2011 was a gorgeous, harmonious vintage, as was 2015. 2012 was hot and dry so the tartaric acids burned out, and only malolactic acids were left, that produced a slightly sour flavour and somewhat harsh sensation. 2013 was okay, and 2014 was a difficult vintage because of the high precipitation.
As a wine it has a great complexity and concentration, and it expresses the terroir beautifully. In the mouth it has a delicate fruity character of pear and quince, some exotic spices like clove, white flowers and of course minerality if the soil is rich in minerals. As it has significant acidity, it has a long ageing potential.
I am sure, that this wine can be a great ambassador for Hungarian wines in the world, and it leads the country to be appreciated. The sophisticated and open-minded consumer is always looking for the curious and the unique.