Tokaj is one of the oldest wine regions in the world, famous for its luscious botrytised wines. Since phylloxera hit in the late 19th century, Furmint has been the favoured varietal, but only recently the emergence of dry wines is revolutionising its style.
Establishing itself in the top tier of producers in 1631, when the rules for vinifying Tokaji Aszú were first written, Szepsy has been on the top of the game ever since. Nowadays, with an annual production of 6000 bottles, sourcing one of these bottles is an arduous and costly task. So it comes with a surprise that the family setting the standard of quality in Tokaji currently produces 50% of its wines in the new dry style. And generally better priced than the coveted Aszú.
Normally, Furmint is a non-aromatic grape variety that ripens vigorously in fertile lands, thus yielding mediocre wines. Yet, the poorer and acidic volcanic soils of the Carpatian basin give the wines a great mineral character and structure that can sustain high levels of botrytis. When dry, the concentration of these wines is sublime and reveals a hidden potential for Hungarian Furmint. Aromas of quince and apples are interlayered with bay leaves and a reductive matchstick note. All cut through by the immense acidity of this varietal. István Szepsy Senior was the first to bottle dry Furmint in Tokaj in 2000. With the aim to round the coarser edges, Szepsy ages it in large Hungarian oak barrels for eight months and releases the wines only after two or three years in bottle. But in order to obtain a more controlled oxidation, the wines are sealed with Vinolock glass stoppers (see picture above). The most remarkable consequence of this change has been the increase of Coravins being broken by many absent-minded sommeliers or winelovers.
|Szepsy – Furmint 2016
|Smoke, matches, lime and quince. Very unique and distinctive. Some sweetness from oak. Notes of bay leaf and flowers appear with time.
|Lime, quiche, pears and in the midpalate smoke and salinity. Matchstick and lime linger in the finish. Very concentrated and elegant. As it develops, white flowers in the midpalate.
|High acidity, dry, medium body, medium alcohol. Very long finish.