Spotlight on Furmint, Hungarian noble variety with Caroline Gilby MW


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In this episode, we explore Furmint a noble grape of Hungary, with Caroline Gilby Master of Wine.
Furmint is undoubtedly one of Hungary most valuable white grape variety. Is unique, distinctive with a flavour profile quite unlike any other grape variety I have ever tasted.
With Caroline Gilby MW, who has been visiting Hungary since the 90s, we discussed one of favourite variety.
Gouais Blanc is the parent of Furmint, making it half-sibling to Chardonnay and Riesling and it is no surprise when one start to look at the styles that are produced today one can see the similitudes with those varieties.
Until relatively recently, the traditional style of Hungarian Furmint has been sweet, more often than not blended with Hárslevelű, most notably in the blend for tokay.
Furmint ripens late, is prone to botrytis, retains high acidity and builds lots of sugars – everything that one needs to produce sweet wines.
But around the turn of this century, dry, varietal Furmints started appearing and gaining traction, the hot and dry 2003 vintage is the pivotal vintage for dry wines says Caroline in the podcast.
Producers quickly saw the potential. Caroline explains what styles are can be found today, Furmint is a grape that not only makes a high-quality wine at all sweetness levels but can be used to make good sparkling wine too. It responds to Chardonnay-like winemaking techniques such as lees ageing, bâtonnage, malolactic conversion and ageing in barrel.
We also talked about viticulture used to train Furmint and where in-country is grown successfully aside Tokaji.
I commented how Furmint is one of the few grape varieties in the world that can produce such an array of style, a tasting idea is to have a journey through the styles produced by Furmint. I’ll definitely try it at some point soon. Since the dry styles of Furmint are becoming more common among producers, so is the growing interest in the grape around the world and is definitely now a good time to learn everything that you need to know about it Furmint!
I would like to thank Wines of Hungary UK for helping to organise this episode.
Some other useful links on the topic
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