The SOMM Journal

October / November 2016

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Page 89 of 132

{ }  89 TOKAJ—A WORLD HERITAGE WINE REGION: Mád 2015 Furmint and Szent Tamás 2012 Szent Tamás In production for more than a thousand years, the sweet wines from the Tokaj region once reached royalty before nearing ruin at the begin - ning of the 20th century because of phylloxera. The region lies about 120 miles northeast of Budapest, close to the Slovakian border, and is going through a modernization that pegs its future on dry wines. Although the seductively sweet botrytis-driven Tokaji continue to thrive, its primary variety, Furmint—which is high in acid, late-ripening and thick-skinned—is slightly less susceptible to the fungus. Dry Furmint can be amazingly crisp, complex and driven with minerality. Presented by Tamás Nagy, educator for Szent Tamás winery, these dry Furmint wines are relatively new to the market. "Not an aromatic variety, the first single vineyard dry Furmint was introduced in 2000," says Nagy. "What's so unique about this terroir is the volcanic soils and the deep roots covered in lava rocks." Nagy points out that not only are there over 400 crus in Tokaj, but about that many different volcanoes, each possessing a variety of mineral and chemical compounds. At Szent Tamás, the bedrock is porous clay and the vines, going down into the ground to almost 20 meters, have the capability to naturally connect to a water source. Mád Furmint (SRP $20) hails from the village of Mád, located in the heart of the Tokaj region. It is the largest village appellation within the region. With only 1.9 grams of sugar, there remains an illusion of sweetness that comes from its charming lemon and pear fruit. Our attendees compared this wine to a Riesling and a Chablis. The wine shows a textural character with high- toned acidity. Produced by an 18th-generation winemaker, Mád Furmint, with its mineral - ity, unique taste and style, is inspiring the world to change the way it thinks about Tokaj. Szent Tamás 2012 (SRP $90) is a single-vineyard Furmint from a Grand Cru vineyard near the Mád village in Tokaj. It offered a surprising petrol nose (for a variety considered non-aromatic) and a hint at oak. The crop yield was low, and 2012 was a very dry and warm year. The juice spent ten months in medium-toasted, 500-liter Hungarian oak barrels. With concentrated minerality, the floral fragrance formed a chorus of notes with spiced orange blossom, jasmine and sandalwood. The paradigm of steely texture and a nectar-like fruit component proved an undeniable complexity; a hint off-dry, buttressed by acidity. VINUM TOKAJ INTERNATIONAL Troy Grenstiner is Lead Sommelier for Tom Colicchio's Craftsteak at MGM. Tamás Nagy flew from the Tokaj region of Hungary to present the wines of Szent Tamás. M A G Y A R B O R A R C U L A T I K É Z I K Ö N Y V 2 Angol nyelvű logó szlogennel

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