The wines of Somló, a special terroir
A tasting of 33 wines from the remarkable Hungarian region of Somló

Somló (pronounced ‘shomlo’) is a special wine region in Hungary. It’s a volcanic hill, sticking out of the northwestern Hungarian plane, 431 metres high. It was originally a sea bed volcano, and the basalt cap has resisted erosion, while the surrounding land hasn’t, so the hill of Somló stands proud.

There are 830 hectares of vines in this small appellation, on the slopes of the hill. The basalt soils here are unique, and give a distinctive character to the wines. As well as basalt, the lower reaches of the hill have soils that are more loamy/alluvial.

This was a chance to taste an extensive line up (33 wines) from Somló, to get an idea of what this remarkable, almost exclusively white wine region is all about. I really enjoyed the wines, and this is definitely a region that I will be keeping an eye out for in the future. It’s one of the world’s great wine growing terroirs, in my opinion, and deserves better recognition.


There are only 100 hectares of Juhfark in the world, and 80 of these are in Somló. It’s a very high acid variety, and is the most distinctive expression of Somló.

Royal Somló Juhfark 2009 Somló, Hungary
Wonderfully exotic nose of pear, peach, spice and apricot. The palate is fresh, dry and nutty with citrus fruit and some mineral notes. Lively finish is so long. Dry with spiciness. 93/100

Szabo Juhfark 2004 Somló, Hungary
Traditionally made in large oak casks, and aged for at least 18 months in cask. Complex, waxy, nutty nose with pear, peach and minerals. The palate is nutty and developed with fresh, complex pear, almond and spice characters. 92/100

Bálint Pince Juhfark 2009 Somló, Hungary
Taut, fine, citrussy nose. Palate is refined, nutty and mineral. Quite textured with waxy notes and lovely depth of flavour. Persistent spicy finish. 91/100

Istvan Matyas Juhfark 2007 Somló, Hungary
Very old fashioned packaging, but the wine is great. Wonderfully expressive nose of minerals, spice and peach. The palate is waxy, stony and mineral with citrus, apricots and spice. Great acidity, texture and concentration. 93/100

Csordá-Fodor Juhfark 2011 Somló, Hungary
Taut, reductive, mineral nose. Lively fresh palate with citrus and pear fruit. Very bright, fresh and acidic, with lively minerality. 90/100

Bela Fekete Juhfark 2009 Somló, Hungary
Taut, waxy and nutty. Quite mineral. Bright with good acidity and notes of apples, pear and minerals. A lovely expressive wine. 91/100

Kolonics Juhfark 2011 Somló, Hungary
Tight, fresh and lemony with nice pear and apricot richness, but the main theme is pure, mineral fruit. Lovely texture and precision. 93/100

Barcza Bálint Juhfark 2011 Somló, Hungary
Tight, lively, mineral and fresh with herbs, wax and nuts. Bright pithy lemony finish. 89/100

Tornai Juhfark (premium range) 2011 Somló, Hungary
One of the largest producers in the appellation, this has half new oak. Rich, full and bold with toasty, nutty character. Nice depth of flavour with some texture. Noticeable oak, but stylish despite it. 91/100

Royal Somló Juhfark 2011 Somló, Hungary
A very fresh style. Minerally citrus and pear fruit. Textured but bright, with good acidity and lovely mouthfeel with some spiciness. 92/100

Kreinbacher Juhfark (second label) 2011 Somló, Hungary
Another of the larger producers in the appellation. Nutty and fine; fresh and precise. Some apple and pear notes, as well as pithy citrus fruit. 89/100

Tornai Juhfark (second label) Somló, Hungary
Taut, pithy and waxy with some herby notes. Nice texture and precision with lovely weight. Fresh with some minerals. 90/100



The famous grape of Tokaj does very well indeed in Somló.

Szabo Furmint 2011 Somló, Hungary
Lively, nutty and precise with fresh , minerally fruit. Very dry and spicy with amazing length. 92/100

Bálint Pince Furmint 2009 Somló, Hungary
Precise nutty nose leads to a palate that is intense and lively with some waxy notes. Lovely depth of flavour here, with peach, pear and spice notes. A brilliant wine. 93/100

Bela Fekete Furmint 2006 Somló, Hungary
Very richly aromatic with apricot, pear and wax notes, as well as spice and honey. Just beautiful. The palate is lively and intense with notes of citrus and minerals, as well as apricot richness and some spiciness. Brilliantly textured. 94/100

Somlói Apátsági Furmint 2011 Somló, Hungary
Rich, bold and textured with sweet pear and peach as well as some lovely richness, and a hint of sweetness. Bold, pure and deliciously spicy and rounded. 92/100

Kreinbacher '1 Somlo' Furmint 2011 Somló, Hungary
Second label of Kreinbacher. Tight and nutty with some citrus and pear notes. Textured and fresh with good acidity and hints of herbs. 88/100



This is a great variety, and it does really well here.

Bela Fekete Hárslevelű 2008 Somló, Hungary
Taut citrus fruit. Open, pure, quite waxy and a bit nutty. Lively and mineral, this is bone dry with some complexity. 92/100

Somlói Apátsági Hárslevelű 2011 Somló, Hungary
Lovely bright lemony nose is fine and fresh. Off-dry palate with sweet, vivid, spicy melony fruit as well as some appley notes. Zippy and mineral. 92/100

Tornai Hárslevelű 2011 Somló, Hungary
Half fermented in new oak. Richly textured, bold and rounded with lovely sweet oak influence meshing well with the bold, nutty, rounded fruit. Very modern and fine. 93/100

Kolonics Hárslevelű 2011 Somló, Hungary
Aromatic and fine. Floral with lovely mineral, wax and lanolin notes on the palate. Stylish, taut and textured. 91/100

Szabo Hárslevelű 2009 Somló, Hungary
Appley, oxidative nose. Notes of apple pie. Textured but a bit too oxidative. 85/100



Also known as Welschriesling, this isn’t highly regarded as a grape variety, but in Hungary it can be pretty good.

Kreinbacher St Hona Olaszrizling 2011 Somló, Hungary
Nutty, waxy and a bit spicy with notes of pear and apricot. Lively and quite mineral with nice presence. 90/100

Polgar Matyasfalvi Olaszrizling 2009 Somló, Hungary
Lovely aromatics of apricot, spice and ripe apples. The palate  is off-dry with sweet melon and apricot fruit, as well as some pear. Long finish. Stylish and rich. 93/100

Istvan Mtyas Olaszrizling 2002 Somló, Hungary
Complex nose shows wax, nuts, apricots, spice and a hint of mushroom. The palate is dry with nuts, spice and nicely textured fruit. Nicely mature. 92/100

Kolonics Olaszrizling 2010 Somló, Hungary
Waxy, nutty, citrus nose with some pear and herbs. Fresh, vivid palate with lovely precision and purity, showing citrus fruit and hints of apricot. Amazing precision here. 93/100

Bálint Pince 2009 Olaszrizling Somló, Hungary
Fresh, pure citrus, pear, apple and spice nose. Good precision with nice acidity and some mineral notes. 90/100

Bela Fekete Olaszrizling 2007 Somló, Hungary
Lively and precise with amazing acidity. Very mineral and bone dry with intense citrus fruit and a pronounced spiciness. Subtle nutty undercurrents and a long finish. 93/100


Vándor 2011 Somló, Hungary
Textured and lively with great acidity and minerally citrus fruits. Amazing mineral dimension here with great intensity. Complex and broad. 93/100

Zsirai 2009 Somló, Hungary
Complex, waxy, nutty nose with some creamy notes. Rounded and ripe on the palate with ripe apple notes and a soft texture. Unusual. 88/100

Kreinbacher Somló Cuvee 2009 Somló, Hungary
Very fresh, nutty and lively with precise lemony fruit. Fresh, dry and quite mineral with subtle nuttiness. 89/100

Polgar Matyasfalvar Réka Cuvée 2009 Somló, Hungary
Lively with some sweetness. Lovely open pear, apple and herb notes. Soft texture with good acidity. Lively and mineral. 90/100

Kreinbacher Palakos Erjestesu NV Somló, Hungary
Lovely intense, mineral, spicy nose of apricots and pears. Zippy, powerful palate with amazing rich, fruity flavours. Powerful and bold. 90/100

See also:

The wines of Bela Fekete, Somlo, Hungary

Wines tasted 03/13  
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