Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not only Tokay!

For most of us, Hungary is synonymous with the lusciously sweet Tokay wine. Yet Hungary has been producing dry wine since the 4th century BC. Again the Benedictines played an important role in the wine industry in this country and it was they who established the vineyards of Eger and Somlo. The collapse of communism had a great effect on viticulture in Hungary as most of their indigenous varieties have been replaced by international ones in bid to occupy supermarket shelves.

Yet at Prowein I had the pleasure to taste some lovely wines from Hungary made both by native grapes and international varieties. A winery which interested me in particular was Heumann. A German/Swiss couple producing wines since 1995 in the village of in Villány well known for red wine production. With only 2.5 hectares under vines and with the supervision of both a Hungarian winemaker and their son who is currently studying enology, this couple is producing wines of great quality which will surely soon feature on international magazines and awards.

We tasted four lovely wines from their portfolio. The first was Cuvee Blanc 2007, a blend of 60% Harslévelù, 35% oak matured Chardonnay and 5% Gewürztraminer. As one would expect from such a blend, the wine is very aromatic on the nose with rose, orange blossom and peach aromas and undertones of vanilla present from the oak matured Chardonnay. The palate is fresh with nice balanced acidity. I would love to enjoy this wine with some grilled fish on a terrace overlooking Mistra bay (Malta - photo below).

Next up, I tasted some red wines, starting off with the Kékfrankos (100%) 2007. The Kékfrankos grape is an indigenous grape in Hungary yet also found in Austria under the name of Blaufränkisch. This variety produces wines with moderate tannins and sour cherry flavours. For me this variety can give wines very similar to Pinot Noir from the Côte de Beaune yet still with a character of its own. Aged for 12months in Hungarian oak this wine is very supple yet balanced well with good acidity and tannins.

The next performer was Cuvée Segreto 2007 which again is a blend of 50 % Cabernet Franc, 20 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 20 % Merlot and 10 % Kekoporto (Blauer Portugieser). Kekoporto is again an indigenous grape which has rather soft acidity and tannins and therefore is mostly used in blends. This wine had more body and structure on palate with also more intensity on nose of black fruits with hints of chocolate and tobacco. The last wine to taste was the Cabernet Franc 2007, which reminded me of Cabernet Franc wines from the Bolgheri area in Tuscany. Full bodied with fine tannins and a very good fruity mid-palate. Nice long complex finish. Very appreciated and enjoyed not only by myself but also by Jancis Robinson.

For those living in Dijon we might taste a bottle of Chardonnay 2008 from Heumann winery soon since Mr.Erhard Heumann was kind enough to give me a bottle. Also, maybe we can taste more of their range at Au Gré du Vin, our favourite wine shop in Dijon! :)


  1. The Cuvee Blanc 2007 sounds interesting. Maybe I will try to look for it the next time I want to buy some white wine.


  2. I don't think they export to Norway yet unfortunately. If I get my hands on a bottle some how I will bring it with me on my next visit! :)

  3. In the same weekend of ProWein was VinCE, the wine event in Budapest. Here Heumann was also represented and I was evenly impressed with the wines. I agree that we will here more of them in the near future.