The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2017

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40  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2017 EVENT RECAP SOUTHERN GLAZERS GOES MAD FOR MÁD WINES by Karen Moneymaker / photos by Cal Bingham H ollywood is no stranger to show-stopping performances and breakout debuts—here it takes a special brand of star-power to make a splash. So when Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits hosted its annual "Taste of the Best" event on the top floor of the iconic Hollywood & Highland complex, Hungary's Szent Tamás Winery showed up ready to titillate the taste buds. Overheard at the table where the winery's Mád Wines, made from Furmint grapes, were presented were proclamations such as "This is unexpectedly good wine," and "Wow, this is a really surprising white"—even "This is the best wine of the show." But most important: "Our guests would love this." "Everybody is excited to taste a new varietal, a type of white wine that is not known on the market yet," notes Attila Balla, President of Vinum Tokaj International. "There are only a few professionals who are acquainted with Furmint or have had the chance to taste it; that is why tasting events, educational and promotional activities are of high importance. The main task is to educate the market and to get the message out on all possible channels." Enikö Magyar, Project Director of Wines of Excellence, echoes this senti- ment. "We see the sommelier community, and the wine buyers, as really open and willing to have something new to share with their customers besides the tradi- tional white varietals like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc," she says. The addition of Szent Tamás Winery and Mád Wines to the Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits portfolio is an important milestone in introducing Hungarian wines to the U.S. market. "We are very honored to be part of the Southern family," continues Magyar. "We greatly appreciate their professionalism, decades of market experience and success the company has built up and achieved so far. It is a distinctive pleasure for us to work with them." Balla agrees. "The fact that Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits embrace our wines and brought them into their portfolio represents a real opportu- nity for Furmint, and for Hungarian wines in general," he muses. "There is definitely an increased interest toward something unique and something new in the wine world, and Furmint, considered to be the new taste of the world, perfectly fits into this trend." Introducing them to Furmint wines, the meetings with wine buyers from some of the biggest retail chains and the presentations with top key accounts paves and marks the way of success for these Hungarian wines. Celebrating the Year of Furmint. Full on Furmint PHOTO COURTESY OF MÁD WINES Ray Sodeika, VP of Imports for SGWS Southern California (center), enjoys a glass of Furmint with Attila Balla, President of Vinum Tokaj International (right), and Enikö Magyar, Project Director of Wines of Excellence. Executive Vice President for SGWS Southern California Jack Brennan with Attila BallaBalla, President of Vinum Tokaj International.

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