There is something magical about dining out in the Castle District of Budapest on a spring evening. The Danube serenely flows by as you are ascending on the hill, the medieval buildings are illuminated and the fresh air holds the anticipation. This time it was the company and wines of three young wine-makers from Tokaj, Eger and Villány that promised to capture us for the evening.
First, it was Angelika Árvay from Tokaj who presented two wines with the starters. Both were Furmints, from the same vintage, but from two different sites: Padihegy and Pesár.
Árvay Padihegy Furmint 2009
Whole bunch pressed, spontaneous fermentation, aged in 2 to 4-year old barrels.
Very light white gold, lemon and watery rim. Medium intense nose with broad and ripe apples, quince, straw and almost honeydew. Dry, fresh, tiny acacia, quince and pear. Quite full-bodied, with a long and very concentrated finish. 16
Árvay Pesár Furmint 2009
The name of the site, Pesár, comes from the family nick-name of Angelika’s uncle.
Light white gold, lemon. Vibrant and lively nose, ripe fruits, a bit floral of acacia and camomile. A touch creamy. Dry, fresh, crisper and brighter than Padihegy. There is a lovely tingle on the back-palate. Lean and elegant. Honey, acacia, limes and minerals on the finish. 16.4
Tibor Gál Jr. took over to present his wines from Eger. He opted to show a Kadarka, an indigenous Hungarian red variety, and a Pinot Noir. Tough choice, as one variety is not well known except for Hungarians and the other is so widely produced around the world that the league of contenders for the best expression of Pinot Noir is enormous. The wines were very pleasant and carried the hallmark freshness of Eger.
Gál Tibor Kadarka 2008
Ruby with thin brick rim. Subdued wild strawberries, cloves, cherry and thin leather. Dry, high alcohol, fresh and a schistous feel. Pate, cherry, wild strawberries give a lovely rounded mouth-feel. Good concentration though low in intensity and has a medium finish. 15.9
Gál Tibor Síkhegy Pinot Noir 2006
Ruby with garnet rim. Highly intense, stalky and leafy followed by strawberries and some wild berries. Dryish with leathery and spicy tannins, minty finish. 16.2
As the last act of the dinner Andrea Gere from Villány took over to present three wines, which at popular request turned into four with a 100% Cabernet Franc added to the line-up.
Gere Kopár Cuvee 2007
Ruby with light crimson rim. Highly intense nose, full of fruits: sour-cherry, blackcurrants and blueberry. Cloves, liquorish and cocoa complement them. Dry, fresh and ripe fruits. Soft, ripe and medium-grained tannins provide a velvety frame. High in alcohol. Minty, pine and leather tones round it off. Very good concentration before a long finish. 18.2
Gere Solus 2007
Ruby. Medium intense, but it bursts with sour-cherry, violets and blueberry. Dry, fresh, velvety soft tannins, quite a bit of ripe fruits of cherry and raspberry. Pine, leather and subtle blue cheese. Medium concentration, long on the finish. 16.9
Gere Attila 2007
Dark core, ruby rim. Subdued nose with sour-cherry and blueberry, spices of liquorish, cloves and black-pepper. Dry, fresh, tightly packed tannins, sour-cherry, violets, chunky tannins, huge and dense body. Balanced, very well concentrated and long on the finish. 17.7
Gere Cabernet Franc 2007
Medium ruby. Fragrant nose with cherry, raspberry, liquorish, lavish blueberry. Dry and fresh, chunky ripe tannins followed by violets and schistous mouth-feel. Rich in minerals, concentrated and long on the finish. 17.8
The dinner was concluded with a wine from Árvay called Édesem, or my Sweetie in English. It let the night dissolve in the ambience by rounding up a rather classic selection of Hungarian wines from the three best known regions of the country.
Árvay Édesem 2009
Golden core with lemon rim. Highly intense and floral nose with lilies and rosewater. Grape, lime and limestone. Sweet and silky with a touch of cream. Medium acids, rich and generous on the palate. Long aromatic finish. 16.5