International Wine Challenge appreciates Hungarian varietials
Hungary won 3 gold, 11 silver, 10 bronze medals and 7 ‘commended’ acknowledgements at IWC, the British wine competition which is considered to be the most rigorous and impartial.
The best dry white is Tornai Top Selection Szent Ilona Olaszrizling 2019 from Somló, the best red wine is Heumann Trinitás 2016, from Villány, the best sweet wines are Royal Tokaji and Juliet Victor Tokaji Aszú wines.
Indigenous varietals captivate judges
Let us take a look at the gold winner: all of them are made of local grapes. The aszú wines are from Furmint (in the JV aszú Hárslevelű and Sárgamuskotály is used as well), and Tornai Top Selection Szent Ilona Olaszrizling 2019 is obviously from Olaszrizling, a versatile grape with a lot of potential. As for the silver winners, we can find again some Tokaj wines made of Furmint and Hárslevelű, Tornai again with Somló iconic grape Juhfark, and also a sparkling wine from Kreinbacher made of Chardonnay and local Furmint.
Orange blossom from Saint Ilona
Ilona is a common name in Hungarian and also in Finnish – meaning ‘joy’ in Finnish language. Saint Ilona or Helena was the mother of Roman emperor Constantinus, and according to the legend she was the one who found Jesus’s cross. On volcanic Somló mountain there is a lovely chapel dedicated to the saint, and there is a vineyard under the chapel with the same name. The fruit for the gold winner came from here. And what did IWC judges think of the wine? “This is fresh and stony with complex savoury hints and alternative citrus and pear fruit. Stone fruit and pineapple with notes of orange blossom and honeysuckle. Focussed and precise with good length. A distinctive dry white from volcanic soils.”
Villányi Franc – became a local
We mentioned that all the gold and silver winners are made of indigenous grapes. Well, there is one exception which might not be an exception: Heumann Trinitás 2016 is only red wine winning silver medal. It is made of 100 % Cabernet Franc – yes, it is an international grape, but as Michael Broadbent wine writer commented, it has found its new home in Villány. To such an extent that a community brand Villányi Franc was created and is monitored strictly. Trinitás is again the name of a vineyard in the village of Vokány. The soil is loess with a high portion of limestone. And what did the judges note about Heumann Trinitás? “Pungent berry fruit with lift and perfume of rose hip and blackberry leaf. Super concentrated, vivid acidity and a graphite, mineral edge.”