Cold pickled cucumber soup and its 3 wine pairs
A very simple to make, refreshing soup full of flavours, ideal in hot weather and also if you ate and drank too much. What to drink with an acidic, creamy, picante soup like this? Barrel aged Olaszrizling is a good choice.
A simple recipe from the best kitchen of Balaton
Kistücsök is one of the best Hungarian restaurants, it is situated on the south shore of Lake Balaton. This soups was first created by the chef of Kistücsök, and you can find it in Zsófia Mautner’s cook book in English called Budapest Bites.
The recipe is very simple: mix 8 good sized pickled cucumbers with 500 ml liquid from the pickled cucumbers, 200 ml strained, cold vegetable soup, 500 ml natural yoghurt, 1 clove of garlic. Use a food processor or a hand mixer, mix it until it gets perfectly smooth. Serve it with something crunchy on top like fried bacon or croutons. Decorate it with some herbs, for example with dill.
Gin-tonic or nothing?
We have asked about the wine pair of this picante soup in a winelover group on Facebook, and received more than 30 comments. Some would not pair wine at all with this soup, saying that serving wine with this cucumber soup is an “abuse”. A few people mentioned beer, but to us beer sounds even more bizarre. Gin-tonic can be a solution indeed or some good quality vodka. As for wine, several people suggested Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, and also Rhine Riesling occurred, while Ottó Szöghy, a former sommelier champion recommended Grillo Siciliano. Furmint and Hárslevelű were also mentioned, just like Yellow Muscat (Sárgamuskotály / Muscat Lunel) – maybe the wine can be semi sweet or sweet.
Dr. Gabriella Mészáros dipWSET wine educator, the author of a recent book on food and wine pairing recommends a barrel aged, elegant Olaszrizling. As she comments, even high alcohol can be an advantage here, since the wine can be served at slightly higher temperature as opposed to the coldness of the soup. Also the acidic, spicy soup need a wine to “round” the acidic sensation. She mentions Balaton, where Olaszrizling is the most popular grape indeed.
Borbély Family Winery – with Tamás Borbély, Winemaker of the Year 2020 – is passionate about Olaszrizling, they make single vineyard wine from Bács hill, which would tick all the boxes Gabriella Mészáros mentioned. “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.“ The wine aged 6 months in new oak barrel.
More about Borbély Family Winery
Another oaky Olaszrizling from Mátra
Dubicz Winery & Vineyard is a wine cellar with 115-year history and 100 hectares of own vineyard that focuses mainly on white wines. They make a single vineyard Olaszrizling from Sárhegy (‘Muddy Mountain’). “Straw yellow colour. Matured wine with refined barrel notes on the nose. The outstanding quality of the grape is easy to discover – it deserves barrel ageing. The body and the acidity is in fine balance. The wine is elegant thank to the ageing in new oak for a few months.” Only 800 bottles were made.
GrüVe – the green wine
Quite a few comments went for Zöld Veltelini (Grüner Veltliner), and not just because of the colour. Austrian vintners are extremely good at making GrüVe, but the Hungarian side of Lake Fertő (Neusiedler See) can boast some stunning examples as well, for example the organic Steigler Cellar, which makes an entry level and a premium Zöld Veltelini. The entry level can do it with the cucumber soup: “A lighter, more easy going Zöld Veltelini (Grüner Veltliner) from Steigler Cellar with vivid greenish yellow colour and amazingly fresh nose – mainly with grapefruit, lime and fresh green herbs. The crispy acidity and the subtle carbon dioxide makes the wine even more refreshing and zesty.”