View this post on Instagram

Sumi @sumiliertasting and Liz @elizabeth.gabaymw take you through a tasting of 5 of the top Hungarian rosé wines discussing their pairings and stories behind them taking you on a quick trip across Hungary. Watch to brush up on the grape varieties and some of the key regions that make these quality Hungarian Rosé wines @tuskepince and @pannonhalmi.foapatsag available from @maluxhungarianwine_spirits that Sumi presents. Liz presents @vidaborbirtok @sauskawines @kadarka_man’s @heimannwines. Audrey @maluxhungarianwine_spirits can direct you to the importer if unavailable. @winesofhungaryuk @winesofhungary @daniel_ercsey @kjdrhu @hungarianwines.eu @hungary_tourism @bestofhungaryuk #iloverocknrosé #roséallday #rosewine #wines #sumiliertasting #masterofwine #mwstudent #hungary #winestagram #winechat #winetalk #winelover #winetasting #winetime #hungarianwine

A post shared by Sumi Sarma (@sumiliertasting) on

Hungary has a longstanding history of producing wines for over 1000 years. Amongst its 100s unique varietals and 22 wine growing regions, Tokaji has managed to capture the spotlight, being the first of the sweet wines that came to be associated as an elite drink of choice for the Kings, in particular the King of France Louis IX.

Legend has it that during the Turkish invasion in the 16th century, the red wine of the northern region of Eger was consumed by the local warriors who drank this red wine to warm up before a battle giving rise to the legend that they drank bull’s blood.

However, white wine (both dry and sweet and often aromatic) remained the main production until the 19th century, with red wine only rising in popularity from the late 19th century with varieties such as Kadarka, found throughout the Balkans and Kékfrankos (aka Blaufränkisch) found throughout Central Europe, both found in abundance in Hungary.

With the involvement of wine entrepreneurs and businessmen in the post-communist era, the last 30 years has witnessed a huge spike in interest and investment in international red grapes varieties such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir.

Rosé is a more recent phenomenon, popularly drunk with fizzy water as a summer fröccs. In more recent years, a handful of top producers have now begun crafting high quality rosé wines, which in the last few years is finding a place for itself in the local and export markets. The unique mix of volcanic, red and brown clay, loess and sandstone and the continental climate with long dry autumnal ripening makes the region conducive to producing intensely aromatic and textured wines. The rosé styles depict the complex and focused expressions of the red grapes.

SUMI

My first wine was a Tüske Roze produced from south and south west facing plateau with altitudes of 100-150m in the region of Szkeszard. It’s a light and vibrant ‘Provencal style’ rosé made from a blend of Kékfrankos, Merlot and Pinot Noir. Fermented at low temperatures, it’s a modern style rosé produced in stainless steel tanks with free run and gentle pressings. As a result the wine is very pale, literally water like showing just a hint of pink tinge. On the nose it's highly aromatic with intense lemon zest crispness along with white stone ripeness. With its high refreshing acidity, this makes a perfect pairing with Asian dishes such as Agadashi Tofu (made with mirin and soya sauce based Tsuyu sauce) as well crisp leafy salads marinated in lemon based vinaigrettes. A suitable pairing recommendation is Sashimi served with pickled cucumbers and soft and fresh cheeses such as Mozzarella and Ricotta cheese. This is a delicate and zingy wine meant to be enjoyed with crunchy and fresh vegetables or with freshly marinated fish.

The second wine I tasted was from a lesser known but historically significant region. Now part of the UNESCO heritage, the Abbey Winery in Pannohalma has prompted niche producers to set up wineries in this region, that lies in north-western Hungary. The moderating temperatures of the river spanning two sides along with the red clay and brown soils provides the perfect conditions for grapes to grow and thrive here. The Abbey winery, founded by Benedictine monks, is the second largest territorial abbey in the world and wine making has been practised in this tiny region since at least the 10th century, introduced during the Roman times. The wines are made in small volumes. During World War II, the monastic viticulture was completely destroyed, but with the help of Hungarian Foreign Trade Bank this region is now being revived and wines made from here are now available in and around Europe.

I tasted the Pannonhalmi Tricollis 2018 Rosé made from Merlot, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Medium pink in intensity with juice being bled off while in contact with skins and seeds has given the wine a medium body and a level of soft textured tannins. There is a savoury red fruit element and herbaceous and earthy edge to the wine, which along with ripe fruits makes it a very moreish wine. Sipping this elegantly nuanced wine with pasta mixed with spinach and mushrooms, turkey lasagne, vegan tofurky, chorizo and cured meats are some exciting autumnal dishes that will pair amply with this wine!

Both the above wines are available to buy from Malux Hungarian Wines and Spirits and any enquiries can be posted to them**.**

Liz

I tasted three rosés from southern Hungary.

Vida and Heimann are from Szekszard, located on the right bank of the river Danube as it sweeps south across Hungary. The region has an almost Burgundian landscape with small rolling hills made up of loess and red clay with different exposition and place on the hill. The main varieties are Kékfrankos and Kadarka, producing a range of fine red wines.

My first was the Tünderérrózsa rosé from the small family estate Peter Vida (father and son), also available from Malux Wines). Peter junior told me they were making a conscious move away from what he calls ‘lollipop’ rosé made for simple summer drinking, and to make a more serious wine. Made with a blend of primarily Kékfrankos with Kadarka and some Pinot Noir with a touch of time in barrel. I decided to taste an older vintage 2018 to test potential (I know, that’s mean - but I do love rosés with a bit of age.) The rosé had aged well, with red fruit, crisp acidity and delicate notes of orange, indicating a bit of age. As from the 2020 vintage the rosé will be 100% Kékfrankos which will probably give a bit more fruit and vibrant intensity and enough complexity to go with fish such as ‘fogas’ is the pike-perch fish found in lake Balaton.

My second rosé was from Zoltán Heimann, called Mamma Róza named after Zoltán’s grandmother. Made to be a fresh summer rosé with predominantly Kékfrankos with Kadarka, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The wine has pale pink with red fruit and peachy ripeness with a fresh dry mineral acidity ideal for sitting outside in the summer with platters of charcuterie, cheese and salad.

vMy second rosé was from Zoltán Heimann, called Mamma Róza named after Zoltán’s grandmother. Made to be a fresh summer rosé with predominantly Kékfrankos with Kadarka, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The wine has pale pink with red fruit and peachy ripeness with a fresh dry mineral acidity ideal for sitting outside in the summer with platters of charcuterie, cheese and salad.My second rosé was from Zoltán Heimann, called Mamma Róza named after Zoltán’s grandmother. Made to be a fresh summer rosé with predominantly Kékfrankos with Kadarka, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The wine has pale pink with red fruit and peachy ripeness with a fresh dry mineral acidity ideal for sitting outside in the summer with platters of charcuterie, cheese and salad.My second rosé was from Zoltán Heimann, called Mamma Róza named after Zoltán’s grandmother. Made to be a fresh summer rosé with predominantly Kékfrankos with Kadarka, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The wine has pale pink with red fruit and peachy ripeness with a fresh dry mineral acidity ideal for sitting outside in the summer with platters of charcuterie, cheese and salad.My second rosé was from Zoltán Heimann, called Mamma Róza named after Zoltán’s grandmother. Made to be a fresh summer rosé with predominantly Kékfrankos with Kadarka, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The wine has pale pink with red fruit and peachy ripeness with a fresh dry mineral acidity ideal for sitting outside in the summer with platters of charcuterie, cheese and salad.My second rosé was from Zoltán Heimann, called Mamma Róza named after Zoltán’s grandmother. Made to be a fresh summer rosé with predominantly Kékfrankos with Kadarka, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The wine has pale pink with red fruit and peachy ripeness with a fresh dry mineral acidity ideal for sitting outside in the summer with platters of charcuterie, cheese and salad.My second rosé was from Zoltán Heimann, called Mamma Róza named after Zoltán’s grandmother. Made to be a fresh summer rosé with predominantly Kékfrankos with Kadarka, Pinot Noir and Merlot. The wine has pale pink with red fruit and peachy ripeness with a fresh dry mineral acidity ideal for sitting outside in the summer with platters of charcuterie, cheese and salad.

Villány, lies almost on the Croatian border. This warm region is the home of big Cabernet Franc reds, known as Villány Franc, which compete with many top Cabernet Francs from around the world. Merlot is also successful in the region.

My third rosé was from Christian Sauska from the most southerly wine region of Villány. Made from a high percentage of Kékfrankos with Merlot, Syrah and some Cabernet Franc grown on the warm limestone slopes of the Siklos hill. This was the most powerful and concentrated of the three rosés. The wine was also noticeably floral with concentrated cherry fruit. Looking back over notes of previous vintages, this floral character is typical of this wine. (Sauska also has a Tokaj estate)

Both Heimann and Sauska export their wines, although the rosés are not always available.