If you’re a wine lover who gravitates toward a new discovery in wine, or gets excited over the thought of the eureka experience with a “new-to-you” wine, this might just be that wine!
If you’ve never heard of Furmint, you’re not alone. It’s getting more attention lately, thanks to wine writer Dániel Kézdy, who recently started a campaign in Hungary. Dániel is the founder of Furmint February and writer of the book Tokaj and Its People and Vineyards. He wrote, “I would like to draw wine lovers’ attention to this special, very exciting and lovable wine. We wish to achieve this primarily with the use of social media. We would like to awaken interest in as many curious people as possible, so they taste this wine and tell of their experiences.”
A varietal full of expression. Furmint is one of those marvelous varietals that offer a variety of expressions, because depending on where it grows, it picks up the characteristics of its environment. It’s the chameleon of wine grapes that make it a super-fun wine of discovery! It can produce lovely, elegant dessert wines, known as Tokaji, consistently easy-drinking crisp, as well as complex terroir driven dry wines. Flavor profiles in dry wines consist of stone and tree fruits, minerality, floral and possible flinty. Dessert wines will give you enriched honey, jasmine, ripe apples and pear.
The sweet side. Furmint is better known in Tokaji Aszu, a dessert wine from Hungary; one of the oldest. When left on the vine until the grapes are shriveled and botrytis, or noble rot sets in, it adds sugars and rich flavors to the fruit. Possessing a good amount of acidity and susceptibility to rot lends to its sweet success and age-ability. If you have ever experienced a good Sauterne, with its rich herbal, honeyed notes, you should venture on to Tokaji Aszu.
The dry side. There are also many expressions of dry wines. If you enjoy a crisp, citrusy wine with nice acidity, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, you might find a dry, steel-fermented Furmint is right up your alley. Furmint can also be produced and fermented in oak, making it a richer, elegant, wine, and due to its nice acidity, can be stored in the cellar for several years.
Where it grows. Furmint is most widely grown in Hungary, followed by Austria and Slovenia. There are a handful of other regions, such as Croatia, South Africa and a little in the US, that also grow and produce wine from it. Again, each of these areas lends different terroir, thus adding unique personalities determinate of its surroundings.
Time to celebrate! This week in observation of Furmint February, City Vino will be featuring a Furmint, known as Šipon, from Slovenia. It is the Kobal Furmint Šipon Old Vines Selected Styria (Štajerska) Slovenia 2019.
Slovenia is to Austria’s south and is on the 46˚ north latitude. Italy is west, Croatia is south, and Hungary is to the east. Slovenia consists of mountainous terrains, of which almost half is covered by forest. The country is almost land-locked. The largest of Slovenia’s wine regions is Podravje, that has two main sub regions. Styria is the more prestigious along the Drava River. Styria produces 97 percent of the country’s white wines. Haloze is one of the oldest regions in Slovenia and Europe. The Kobal estate, located in Haloze, dates back to 1931. Two Furmint wines were produced to create the blend in the Kobal Šipon, which allows for expression of the marl-rich soil, with minerality and complex flavors, displaying the unique temperament of this grape.
… and hopefully you—a wine lover who gravitates toward a new discovery in wine—get excited over the thought of the eureka experience with a “new-to-you” wine. We hope that by now, you’re intrigued by Furmint and agree that it sounds wonderfully unique and worth exploration.
So, what are you waiting for?! Make plans to celebrate Furmint Day; purchase a few bottles of Furmint (both dry and sweet) from Hungary, then taste the featured one from Slovenia. Begin your own exploration of this truly interesting varietal.