The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2017

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Page 93 of 116

june 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  93 COURSE 1: Tomato e mozzarella focaccia (extra virgin olive oil, herbs, muffuletta) and Mád 2015 Furmint. While the room enjoyed the gluten- ous first course, Mád Wine's Chief Winemaker István Szepsy Jr. offered a word or two on winemaking in the Tokaj region in Hungary—something his family has been doing for 18 gen- erations. Says Szepsy, "Unfortunately Hungary disappeared from the wine map for a while because of phylloxera, the last two world wars and the socialist era. But in the last 25 years in the Tokaj region we've changed a lot of things, and we now imagine the future of our region in based on the dry Furmint. The minerality from our volcanic soils really makes for a unique dry white wine." COURSE 2: Pomodoro e burrata (heirloom tomatoes, burrata, balsamic drizzle), Cesare (hearts of romaine, Parmigiano, anchovy, focaccia croutons) with the Jidvei Nec Plus Ultra Sauvignon Blanc from Jidvei in Romania. Iona Venga, Export Manager for Jidvei, offered a quick and general rundown on Romanian wine. "Jidvei, also the name of our appellation, has a long rip- ening season but still not long enough for the red grape variety, so what we have in our vineyards is mostly white. At Jidvei, we have over 2,500 hectares of vineyards and are currently the big- gest vineyard in Romania owned by a single family. We grow some Romanian varieties, but most of them are inter- national—although those international varieties have been in these vineyards for hundreds of years. In fact, we consider them traditional varieties now. Most of our wines are aromatic variet- ies and because of this, we don't really do much with oak maturation. For our Sauvignon Blanc, you'll see that on the label it says 'demi-sec,' but because of Romanian law, every wine that is above four grams of sugar is considered medium dry wine. According to new regulation, it could be considered a dry wine. Most of our wines have a slightly higher acidity, which makes them great pairing wines." COURSE 3: Ravioli (veal, spinach and ricotta, wild mushrooms and truffle essence) with the zesty Bodegas San Valero 2016 Particular Garnacha and the creamy, broad and fascinating Szent Tamás 2013 Furmint. While on the subject of Spanish wines and Bodegas San Valero, there was a good deal of discussion regarding the strong Cierzo winds and high-altitude of this particular area in Cariñena, up to 800 meters (2,600 feet) above sea level, in fact. Says Nieves Beamonte, Export Manager for Grandes Vinos y Viñedos, "if you like young wines, you are going to love this one." COURSE 4: Tonno (pan seared tuna, eggplant capo- nata, saba and basil oil), pollo (herb grilled chicken, extra virgin olive oil, herb crushed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and natural jus), porcini-rubbed striploin (gorgonzola mashed potatoes, shallots, green beans and borolo demil) with Jidvei 2014 Owners Choice Ana Chardonnay and the brambly Corona de Aragón 2014 Special Selection. As for the Ana Chardonnay, says Iona Venga, "it's a fresher Chardonnay. No malo, neutral barrels." Iona Venga, Export Manager for Jidvei, addressing WSWA's 2017 wine judges. COURSE 5: Chef's selec- tion of cheeses (Cacciocavello, Lamb Chopper, Tallegio, Piave) with Bodegas Panzia 2012 Viña Viejas and Szent Tamás 2013 Furmint. The Szent Tamás, says Szepsy, "is from the best vineyard in our village, planted in 1967, in which we yield only three tons per hectare." "In all three Spanish wines," says Natasja Mallory of Gregory White Public Relations, "you'll notice the acidity running through them. These are all really high-altitude wines cultivated at the limits of what we know vines can handle. These conditions, with the rocky, slate soils, contribute to the wonderful wines we're drinking tonight." The night ended with a toast and, of course, some late-harvest Hungarian dessert wine— Mád 2014 Tokaji Late Harvest, a blend of Furmint, Muscat Blanc and read Hárslevelu". Natasja Mallory, Gregory White PR, speaking fervently of wines from Cariñena. Helen Mackey, VP, Enterprise Beverage Strategy and Innovation; Tarik Bouslama, Resort Sommelier, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts; with Atilla Balla, President and CEO of Vinum Tokaj International.

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