Is Hárslevelű grape a new flag on the castle of Hungarian wines?

3 superb tips to try Hárslevelű wines

A recent article by Hungarian based British winewriter, Robert Smyth is a good example to show how professional attention turns to less flamboyant, but definintely worthy variety Hárslevelű. The white grape is usually mentioned after Furmint, though many winemakers and experts claim that Hárslevelű is probably more delicate, more exciting, and some even insist that Hárslevelű has a longer ageing potential when it comes to dry wines (Tokaji Aszú is also made of Furmint and Hárslevelű in most cases, but aszú is a different topic, it can always be kept for long). „As the frenzy around the Furmint grape goes on unabated, wines from the less-fancied Hárslevelű grape continue to quietly show they are every bit as exciting when it comes to making dry wine” – begins Robert Smyth in his article published on Budapest Business JournalThen he gives several examples to underline the versatility of Hárslevelű, for example by recommending an orange made by a German lawyer, Hurst Hummel, who turned into a Villány wine region winemaker. “I tried to make a fresh, reductive wine from it, but then I realized that Hárslevelű was made for skin contact. It is a red wine among the whites,”quotes Robert from Mr Hummel, and then the writer goes on praising the wine: It has intense aromas of crème brûlée, dried apricot, orange peel, coffee, honey and ginger. The concentration continues on the palate without the slightest trace of bitterness from the prolonged skin contact, although the tannins from the maceration bring delicious mouthfeel. It is full-bodied with incredible length and complexity.”

Have you ever tasted Hárslevelű wines? If not, it is time to start so that you can enter the ongoing debate among Hungarian professionals concerning what to market and what to put on that certain flag. Here we go with 3 great Hárslevelű wines from


Kreinbacher Hárslevelű 2017, Somló

After whole bunch pressing the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks. Ripe exotic fruits like mango and litchi are followed by refined linden honey notes. It’s a round and lightsome wine with optimal balance. Friendly character with refined aromas and some mineral tones of the Somló terroir in the aftertaste.

Zsirai Tokaji Hárslevelű 2015, Tokaj (Mád)

Spontaneous fermentation, ageing in 220 l ’Szerednyei’ oak barrel (traditional Tokaj barrel). Medium gold colour. Typical linden flower on the nose with peach and citrus notes. It’s really refreshing on the palate: crispy acidity,  fruitiness and a hint of minerality from the terroir.

Grand Tokaj Late Harvest Hárslevelű 2015, Tokaj

This fresh, fruity, light sweet wine introduces a new face for the Tokaji wines. By harvest time in late October the berries had become overripe due to the high number of sunny hours, developing a high sugar content and excellent analytic values. With the help of careful processing and the state-of-the-art technology the original fruitiness of the grape and the character of the Hárslevelű variety was preserved resulting in a late harvest wine of the highest quality.

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