And so we begin the latest #TWSTaste session with a little bit of background bumpf on the two wines … and when I say a little bit, I really do mean a little bit! Information isn’t very forthcoming on either estate – less is more? …
… and @Freddy is hotfooting it back from Australia and New Zealand as I type, so I’m afraid we’ll have to make do with what I’ve managed to unearth!
(Oh, and by the way, I’m sure Homer is referring to the crack of the screwcap …)
So here is a little bit of background for you to peruse before things kick off at 8pm.
Somlói Juhfark, Kolonics 2017 13% £16
Gyorgy Kolonics, founder
Karoly Kolonics is a fourth-generation winemaker in the small Hungarian appellation of Somló (pronounced shomlo). Somló is a volcanic hill, the uneroded core of an ancient sea-bed volcano, standing proud on the Pannonian Plain north of Lake Balaton, with unique basalt soils.
The Somló extinct volcano from the top …
… and from the side
Most growers here are weekenders, making wine for themselves, but Kolonics is entirely professional and Karoly’s passion for this area and its native grapes is second to none.
He has 5.5 hectares of vines, growing furmint, harslevelu (0.5 hectare), olaszrizling (2 hectares) and juhfark 0.5 hectare) sustainably and with great skill across this bijou estate on the south side of the hill.
Yields are restricted to ensure good fruit and winemaking is traditional in its use of indigenous yeasts and fermentation and ageing in both oak and acacia barrels.
For those wishing to visit, they have a guesthouse on site.
With the richness and generous full, dry flavour of good Meursault, this is an excellent example of the sheer quality coming out of Hungary. Still young now, but totally charming nonetheless, it has flavours of apple, straw and a mouthwatering savoury finish, and it promises to develop beautifully with time in bottle. Juhfark - sheep’s tail literally - is a rare grape, now almost exclusive to Somló in western Hungary and clearly Kolonics has mastered its secret strength.
Surprisingly deep golden yellow suggesting oak or sweetness. Rich honeyed aromas, perfumed, floral, honeysuckle, apple compote, again hinting at a rich intensity. The youth of the wine stands out in striking contrast. High acidity, firm mineral core, hints of wet stone and restrained wild berry fruit with notes of beeswax, reminiscent of older chenins and riesling. Long, lean and direct on the palate. This is a beautifully structured wine, which has brought out the best in juhfark, not an easy variety, and which will mature and develop over the next ten years, if not longer
There’s even less info available on the next one!!
Moric Hausmarke Red 2017 12.5% £14.95
While the Velich family still make traditional Austrian white wines, Roland Velich broke away in the ‘90s to form his own winery focusing on reds from the blaufränkisch grape.
He called his project ‘Blaufränkisch Unplugged’. Under the ‘Moric’ label, his first vintage was 2001, making just a few thousand bottles. The fruit comes from Burgenland.
This is a relatively new area of Austria (was part of Hungary until 1921), and so the Hungarian influence is still strong – you say blaufränkisch , I say kekfrankos, let’s call the whole thing off. Roland makes very small quantities of ‘terroir’ wines, allowing the grape to express the minerality of the mica slate, clay and limestone hills overlooking the Nieusiedlersee around, among other villages, Neckenmarkt and Lutzmannsburg (highlighted below) although his winery is actually in Grosshoflein.
After his first vintage, Roland famously said: “The basic idea of Moric was simply to crush wines that clearly show their origin.”
He gets this expression through ruthless fruit selection from high density old vineyards, minimal intervention during vinification, and ageing in large oak vats, with the resulting wine combining the pleasures of Piemontese nebbiolo and Burgundian pinot noir.
Burgundy lovers will find much to enjoy in this fine blend of blaufränkisch, zweigelt and pinot noir from a highly regarded Austrian grower. Soft, mellow plum aromas follow through to the palate with a dash of black cherry and savoury complexity.
There we go - enjoy the tasting!