Jancis Robinson’s top picks of dry Furmint

„Good stuff!” Top British wine expert Jancis Robinson attended the 2nd Furmint February grand tasting in London on 29 January organized by Wines of Hungary UK, and she was impressed the wines. The problem is that sweet wines are regrettably so unfashionable. And while the nobly rotten sweetness of Tokaji is amply balanced by a crystalline acidity that can preserve it for decades, people still aren’t buying this sort of wine — known as Tokaji Aszú — in great quantities” – as she writes in her coloumn in Financial Times. According to her with dry Furmint wines problem is solved!

Great value wines

The answer is dry Furmint, which seems to a big hit now in the UK. Jancis Robinson has tasted wines from the 36 exhibitors, and found some great wines to taste, even though fine dry Furmint wines are not easy to make. “It has particularly thick skins full of chewy phenolics, so care is needed to make dry whites that are not too astringent. For the same reason, yields should not be too low, otherwise these dry Furmints would be just too concentrated.” So which producers are the ones to watch? If you are looking for value, the renowned expert has some recommendations, for example Grand Tokaj 2018 for 14.60 GBP (Pol Roger), Barta “Egy kis” 2018 for 14.95 GDP (Corney & Barrow) or Patricius 2018 for only 13.95 GBP (Enotria & Coe). About Patricius Furmint 2018 Jancis Robinson wrote the following on her own website, Purple Pages (jancisrobinson.com): Quite rich nose and a bit like molten lemon cough sweets. Cool and fresh. Also important that she belives tha wine can be kept for 4 more years.

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„Good stuff” – amazing quality

In her Financial Times article Jancis Robinson mentions three producers for those who seek for outstanding quality. István Szepsy (the uncrowned king of Tokaj, practically any wines from him), Zsirai Winery and Sauska Winery. This latter one, Sauska received 17 scores for single vineyard Sauska Birsalmás 2017 and a lovely description: „Lively and pure with a polish that’s rather unusual plus a hazelnut note. Good stuff!” And – as the wine writer supposes, the wine is extremely ageworthy, it can be laid for 8 more years! (Importer: Berkmann)

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Three stunning wines (out of three)

Zsirai is a relatively small and young family winery run by two ambitious young ladies, Kata Zsirai (as winemaker) and her sister, Petra Zsirai. On Purple Pages three Zsirai wines were evaluated, and all of them got high scores! Even the entry level Zsirai Furmint 2016 received 16.5 points, as well as single vineyard Zsirai Középhegy Furmint 2017, while Zsirai Furmint 2018 from Szent Tamás vineyard received one of the highest scores: 17 points. „Some tension on the nose. Real intensity underneath. Rather glorious spread of what I associate with classic Furmint, with both acid and density.” And it can be kept for six more years… (Importer: Jascot).

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