Two Furmints: Slovenia and Hungary
Furmint is a grape variety that's relatively new to me. It's the classic variety of Hungary's Tokaji region, where it makes the fabulous sweet Tokaji wines. But it also makes dry wines here, too. By coincidence, I had two Furmints in my sample rack, one from Hungary and one from Slovenia. So I thought I'd try them together. They both show a family resemblence, but also some differences. I was really thrilled by the Slovenian wine, which reminded me of a very good drier style of Gruner Veltliner. The Hungarian Furmint is possibly a little more complex, and also has a hint of Austria about it, but it's perhaps more of an acquired taste.
Aside: I reckon the vineyards of central Europe have staggering potential for making serious, interesting wines, with a combination of good sites and unusual grape varieties.
(Alternative name: Verus Stajerska Slovenia Kakovostino Vino ZGP Šipon 2007, where Šipon is a synonym for Furmint.) Beautifully packaged, this is a really stylish wine that reminds me a bit of Austrian Gruner Veltliner. It has a lively, fruity, almost peppery nose with some grapey depth to it. The palate is really lively and fresh, with an exuberant fruity, spicy character and a hint of spritz on the bright, acidic finish. This is a very pure, clean, minerally white that's full flavoured but zippy, and would be a versatile food wine. I like this a lot. 12% alcohol. (See www.verusvino.com for more details). 90/100 (£7.99 http://www.therealwineco.co.uk/)
The ancient variety of the Tokaji region makes dry whites like this, as well as the legendary sweet Tokaji. This has a broad, rich, deep nose with a smoky, spicy edge to the melon and herb fruit. The palate is quite complex with a fresh minerally character underpinning broad, grapey, slightly spicy fruit. There’s lots of interest here: a really food friendly style with a lot of personality. Beguiling stuff. 91/100 (£9.19 rrp, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information)