On February 1st, 2022, the wine drinking world will commemorate Furmint Day. Light the sparklers, toot the horns, roll out the red carpet, and alert the media. Raise your glass, let’s celebrate!
There are not enough days in a calendar year or even in five for each grape variety in the world that are commercially produced to have their own very day. However, the Hungarians thought so highly of their indigenous friend, Furmint, that they rallied together and made Furmint Day happen.
For those who have never heard of Furmint, allow City Vino to be the ones to introduce you. Furmint is a white grape considered native to northeast Hungary’s region of Tokaj. DNA research has shown that Furmint is the offspring of a grape called Gouais Blanc and an unknown existent variety. This makes Gouais Blanc a full half sibling of Chardonnay, Gamay, and Riesling, as Gouais Blanc is one parent of each of these very well-known grapes.
According to the Furmint USA website, “In International circles, Furmint is considered comparable to the to the world’s greatest varieties because ‘it has the weight and structure of Chardonnay, the fruitiness of Chenin Blanc, [and] the acidity and minerality of Pinot Grigio and Weisser Riesling’ .” That is mighty high praise for the most important grape in Hungary. Due to its high acidity, it can make wines that are elegant and age-worthy. Styles of Furmint range from dry to sparkling, to luscious and sweet.
Furmint rose to the attention of the wine drinking world based on production of sweet, late-harvest, dessert wines. This style of Furmint is most comparable to the sweet, luscious wines of Sauternes. The Tokaj region is near waterways that provide morning mists and the Furmint grapes have thin skins that make them susceptible to something called botrytis (noble rot). Botrytis will pierce the skin of the grape allowing moisture out, causing concentration of the sugars within. Grapes are harvested individually with multiple passes throughout the vineyard yielding wines with high sugar, yet bright acidity to counterbalance that sugar.
As for wine and food pairings, the fruitier styles of Furmint are great partners for fish and vegetable dishes, especially if they have fresh herbs. More mature styles of dry Furmint or even sparkling can stand up to game birds or steak. Yes, sparkling wine with steak! As for sweet styles of Furmint, blue cheese, foie gras, and desserts are excellent companions.
This weekend at City Vino, our weekend tasting will feature the 2020 Evolúció Tokaj Furmint from Hungary. This particular Furmint is dry and fruity, with notes of grapefruit, lemon, and lime, and it definitely could accompany fish, chicken, sushi, salads, and creamy herbed cheese.
To round out our weekly tastings, we will also feature three red wines from California, which are the 2018 Peirano Estate Vineyards Illusion Red Blend, from Lodi; the 2018 Highway 12 Highwayman Trailblazer, from Sonoma; and the 2018 Omen Red Blend, from the Sierra Foothills.
Join us to try the Furmint and stay for the reds! Happy Furmint Day, Fur Sure!