Almond Day – celebrate it with almond finish!
Today is 16 February – Almond Day. This nut deserves a day, because it has so many beneficial characteristics: it helps patients with insomnia, prevents the cancer of testicles, is good for the heart, for the skin – just to name a few of its positive effects. In Hungary, there is an indigenous grape variety, of which the almond-like finish is a natural characteristic. It is Olaszrizling, and certainly there is no almond in it, but still, why not toast with a glass of Olaszrizling today?
Tamás Borbély – Mr Olaszrizling
The young winemaker from Badacsony wine region has received the prestigious title Winemaker of the Year – probably he is the youngest winner in the history of the award. He and his family is a great fan of Olaszrizling variety, they use in several wines of them.
Bács hegy is a single vineyard Olaszrizling (the label uses the old orthography) from Bács mountain. The wine fermented in 1000 litre new oak barrel and aged on fine lees with batonnage for 5 months.
“Apart from the characteristics of the variety, ripened fruit and some subtle oaky tones in the background can be discovered both on the nose and the palate. The unique character of the terroir is also reflected in this complex wine.“
Olaszrizling – the wine of Balaton
It is grown all over Hungary, in fact the most widely planted grape in the country, and popular in the whole Carpathian basin. In the wine regions around Lake Balaton it has a special importance – even BalatonBor (Balaton Wine), a relatively new community label is made of Olaszrizling. It ripens rather late, in good vintages even shrivels. When young, there are flowers on the nose, on the palate full of flavours and there is a little bitter almond note in its aftertaste. It has a pleasant, refreshing acidity. Olaszrizling is capable of long barrel ageing.
According to Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and José Vouillamoz (Wine Grapes) it was and is mistaken for Rhine Riesling, though it is a completely different grape. Its synonyms include the most common Welschriesling (Austria, Germany), Graševina in Croatia, Laški Rizling in Slovenia. It is quite likely to originate from the Danube basin, though there are numerous other hypotheses. Though it is the most widely planted grape of Hungary, it did not have a good reputation for a long time and while nowadays wonderful examples are easy to find in Hungary both in fresh and aged style.