Sunday, November 21, 2010

Somló, Hungary - July 2010

Nagy-Somló (or Somló) is a 832 hectare wine region (the smallest in Hungary) located in the North-West of Hungary.

Most of the region is situated on the slopes of an extinct volcano, crowned by the ruins of an 11th century castle, overlooking the plain (some of the pictures will give you an idea of how lovely the entire area is). But besides the beauty of the slopes, the soils (being of volcanic origin) will give a crisp acidity and a mineral character to the full-bodied wines.

The wines of Somló (which are 100% white) are made out of the grape varieties Furmint, Juhfark, Hárslevelű, Olaszrizling (known as Welschriesling in Austria and Riesling Italico in Italy), Traminer, and even Chardonnay. Just learning the name of the grape varieties is an adventure in itself... However, tasting these incredibly unique wines (very easy to pick on a blind tasting due to their characteristic “minerality”) is a very special treat. The total production is so small that very few wine lovers outside of Hungary have ever had a chance to enjoy them.

The pictures that you see here were taken during our visit to Hungary in July of this year. We were taken on a day trip to Somló (after we worked judging 350 wines in 2 days at Winfer!) and we had the opportunity to taste the wines of a few of their best producers (including Kreinbacher, Holóvár and Tornai), but the incredible “whole pig experience”  that we had at the Spiegelberg winery was phenomenal. Mr. István was a very generous host and he poured us many of his delicious wines during lunch.

A day in my life that will not be forgotten...


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