A winetasting with a difference on Hvar last weekend.
One of the things I have noticed living on Hvar for more than a decade is just how attached some visitors become to the place. This manifests itself most obviously in repeat visits, but very often I meet people who feel that they have a connection with the place and want to put something back into the paradised that they have discovered.
I first met Hungarian wine writer Nora Demok after the 2013 Damacija Wine Expo on a tour of the vineyards of Hvar with a group of international wine journalists. So impressed was she that decided to return for a holiday with her partner, BBC Good Food Hungary Editor Balint Ordogh, in late December that year – hardly the best time to see the sunshine island.
They enjoyed their stay very much, the highlights being two tastings in Jelsa with leading boutique winemaker Ivo Dubokovic and Andro Tomic. The Tomic tasting was supposed to coincide with a group, who were to be entertained by famous singer Ibrica Jusic, but there was a last minute cancellation, meaning that the Hungarian couple enjoyed a private performance, part of which you can listen to below.
Returning to Jelsa last week, the couple decided that they wanted to put something back, initially for with a tasting of Hungarian wines for the two winemakers whose wines they had enjoyed. A small tasting was arranged at Me and Mrs Jones in Jelsa, with Master of Wine Jo Ahearne and Andro’s daughter Janica making up the group with this TCN correspondent.
The arrival of Ahearne on the Hvar wine scene is a major coup for the advancing Hvar wine story, and her decision to make wine on the island has raised the profile of Hvar wine a little more. Having cut her teeth with the disastrous 2014 vintage, using facilities at the Tomic winery, Ahearne has now rented her own place in Sveta Nedjelja, and the much better 2015 vintage should yield some quality products from her small winery.
The tasting itself was an excellent selection of single-variety Hungarian wines, some indigenous, some international, all high quality, and all expertly explained by the wine duo from Budapest. From the trademark Hungarian variety Furmint to the excellent Pinot Noir, the Hvar winemakers were guided through the list, and there was a considerable exchange of views and experiences.
This is the second time I have sat next to a Master of Wine at a tasting, following Angela Muir MW in Imotski, where we tasted 21 wines in just over an hour, and I was once again struck by the level of detail and knowledge that one could extract from a single sip of a glass of wine. The knowledge is simply phenomenal, and it is no wonder that only just over 300 people worldwide have ever earned the coveted MW title.
An excellent evening and a pleasure to attend.
After the tasting, Me and Mrs Jones produced a typically delicious and stylish selection of dishes to accompany the remainder of the wines once the formal tasting was over.
The wine list for the event:
Hungarian Wine Tasting – Jelsa, 12/09/2015
Nóra DEMŐK (Borigo wine magazine), Bálint ÖRDÖGH (BBC goodfood magazine)
1. Kreinbacher Brut Nature, Somló
methode traditionnelle, wine region: Somló (volcanic soil), grape: 100% furmint, aged
22 month, 0 g sugar. Wine maker: Christian Forget. Price: EUR 14
2. Chateau Pajzos Tokaj „T” Furmint, Tokaj
vintage: 2013. (Alc: 13%), grapes: 85% furmint, 10% hárslevelű, 5% muscat lunel.
Reductive wine (6 months in steel tank) Harvest in 2 steps: middle of September and
at the end of September. Price: EUR 6
3. Jásdi Lőczedombi Olaszrizling 2013, Balaton
100% Welsch Riesling, vineyard-selected. (Alc: 13,5%) Wine region: BalatonfüredCsopak
(Lake Balaton, north-coast), soil: new red sandstone. Price: EUR 11
4. Sebestyén Kadarka 2013, Szekszárd
100% kadarka (autochton), selected: Iván-valley. (Alc: 12,5%) Mixed oak barrels used
for aging, soil: loess (limestone) Price: EUR 8
5. Schieber Kadarka 2012, Szekszárd
(Alc: 12,5%) Price: EUR 5,5
6. Weninger Blaufrankish 2013, Sopron wine region – (Balf, Lake Neusiedl)
Organic winery since 2006, (Alc: 13%). Grape is handpicked, spontaneous
fermentation, minimal addition of sulphur. Native yeast fermentation in steel
tanks. After three weeks of maceration the wine is pumped into big barrels. Natural
malolactic fermentation takes place in a non-climate-controlled cellar. Non-filtered.
Price: EUR 7,5
7. Etyeki Kúria Pinot Noir 2013, Etyek – Nagylátóhegyi dűlő
Soil: loess, limestone, brown forest soil, (Alc: 13,5%). The grape is matured in stainless
steel, fermented for 14 days on the skin. After the spontaneous malolactic
fermentation the wine spent 12 months maturing in 300 litre oak barrels (30% new,
70% used barrels). Price: EUR 14
8. Jackfall Caberet Franc 2011, Villány (Kisjakabfalva)
(Alc: 13,5%) Price: EUR 10
9. Disznókő Szamorodni 1413, vintage: 2012, 100% furmint
1413 is the year the Disznókő vineyard was first mentioned in a land register. So an
apt name for this modern interpretation of Édes (sweet) Szamorodni. It is a
traditional wine that has been produced for many centuries in Tokaj. The
name comes from the Polish meaning “as it comes”: the bunches come as
they are from vineyard to cellar. The grapes are not selected one by one
(harvesting method for making Aszú wines), but picked in whole bunches
with many shrivelled and botrytised grapes. After fermentation the wine is
barrel aged. Price: EUR 13
10.Disznókő 5 p aszú, Tokaj vintage: 2007
Tim Atkins MW: 96 points, (Alc: 12,5%) Price: EUR 28