Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Expressing the Soil

I went to a wine tasting tonight given by the Budapest Wine Society at Vörös és Féher ("Red and White") restaurant on Andrassy ut. They had eight wines on offer in a specific order, and I tried all but the rosé. (Though I am no longer imposing an all-out rosé boycott) (but it has to be summer and sticky and outdoors with a lot of other Hungarians drinking rosé) I met an English bloke, a reporter, who has some sort of degree in wine marketing. And thank goodness he was there, because I am not a sophisticated wine drinker. I feel confident about my basic sorting capabilities: ie, "good," and "bad," and that's about it.

R was a fantastic guide through the evening: genuinely knowledgeable without even the tiniest schmidge of pretension or arrogance. I asked why Hungarian wines aren't better known abroad. Even with my modest basic sorting capabilities, I know that some Hungarian wines can be just as beautiful and smoothe as French and Italian wines. I asked why they didn't try to promote them better. He said that the Hungarian wine-makers don't have a lot of money for such promotion, and that all their money goes into the wine-production itself. And apparently there is quite a bit of in-fighting amongst the vinters.

Good years for Hungarian wines: 2000 and 2003 (though the 2003 is still being bottled). Bad year: 2002. But I also learned that ultimately there should not be good and bad years. That the winemaker should be able to exercise control over the grapes despite the variations of weather and temperature, and that it will become easier for the Hungarian winemaker to do this as his/her crop pushes its roots deeper into the ground.

My favorite three wines of the evening are the following:

Gyorgykovacs Furmint 2003 Somló: Somló is a region with which I was not familiar. It is comprised of a vulcanic hill, about 50 km north of Budapest. The mineral-rich vulcanic soil informs the wine of this region. I am normally a red-drinker, but I was captivated by this wine's softness and by the distinctiveness of the region where it is made. R thought perhaps it was a bit too soft (that it didn't reflect the mineral-richness of its provenance adequately), but he did like it very much as well.

Weninger Kékfrankos 2003 Sopron: The Kékfrankos is distinctively Hungarian. This is a deep-colored red. Sopron is in western Hungary, very close to the Austrian border. Aged 14 months in oak barrels. And at 1440 HUF (about 7 dollars US), a veritable steal.

Günzer Cabernet 2002 Villány: At first sip, I wasn't so interested in this Cabernet which contains 50% Cabernet Franc. R tells me that Cabernet Franc is thought to be a somewhat lesser-than sort of grape. But then I continued sipping. I realized that the context of wine tasting was very different from the one in which I normally enjoy wine, with food and friends. And that this wine was very smoothe, a quality which I love in reds. That if I was drinking this wine with dinner and friends, I would be very satified with it.

R said a lot of lovely things, but I remember specifically that he used the phrase "...expressing the soil,.." This is a dangerous thing to let slip from your lips when talking to a Decadent Woman at a wine-tasting. Imaginations will fire, and loins will set aquiver. Expressing the soil. oh my. Yes. I like that idea very, very much.


At 10:20 AM, Blogger Planethalder said...

Hmmm, not to be too nosy but this R - is he cute? Is there a connection there that has nothing to do with wine? ;-)

At 12:16 PM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

Not too nosy Planethalder! But no "connection:" I am on a very STRICT BOY DIET. Not a diet in which I eat strictly boys, but rather a diet from boys. I'm going through a transitional time now, and, unitasker that I am, I need to focus on that. Also I just need a break-- I've got a disastrous record in that area of my life.

But I am glad that I met someone so nice and interesting.

At 11:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Careful with the diets, mainly of that gender. When they end bring a larger appetite. :)
Now without joking. I am not great expert of wines, I only know how to say a wine is good very good or bad. Hungarian wines never proved but your description sharpened me the thirst.

At 12:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a professional. I do not read blogs. I am a professional. I do not read blogs. I am...

Screw it. This is vibrant stuff _ brimming with your personality. Guess the revolution won't be televised. It will be blogged.

Glad I found you here. (Deep Throat tipped me by phone from a bar in New Haven.) 103E will never be the same. Now excuse me while I go examine the pathetic state of my iliac crests in the mirror.

At 12:46 AM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Irma Vep said...

Is it,...RB?

103 EAST REPRESENT! How I would love a blended beverage from our front porch right now. To see extension cords dangling from the third floor and cuckarachas swirling about flip-fopped feet,..ah,..those were the days and the nights.

How the hell are you my darling? I've been wondering where you are, what's going on with you. I was a headless chicken before I left, sick, and living like a refugee (albeit a refugee with Mariage Freres candles) in a house on Hall Street.

My e-mail is on my profile page-- please let me know how you are, you lovely lovely.


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