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Hungarian Wine: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. My Notes From the 2012 Pannon Wine Challenge.

, a national competition for Hungarian wine. While this competition is not the sole national proving ground for Hungarian wines, it is perhaps the best known. Along with eight other judges, three of whom were Hungarian, I spent many hours tasting hundreds of wines and passing judgement.

In the interest of my more intrepid readers, and anyone in Hungary who cares (perhaps a bit more than my average US reader), I’ve decided to post all my tasting notes from the competition here publicly. I do so for the purpose of transparency and accountability, as well as for whatever small educational value they may have to interested parties.

I was quite pleased to be asked to judge in this competition, despite my general dislike of wine competitions. For me, the process of tasting several hundred wines from a country in a very short period of time provides an enormous education for my palate, and an unparalleled opportunity to get a sense of an unfamiliar wine region (and often unfamiliar grape varieties) in a very short period of time.

In that respect, the Pannon Wine Challenge, did not disappoint. I learned a lot about and have shared some of my impressions of Hungarian wine already.

This competition was very well run, and quite pleasant to judge at. The logistics of storing, pouring, and serving the wines were impeccable, and the electronic data collection, via a custom web application, for our judging notes worked flawlessly. Only thanks to the latter am I able to present you the tasting note I wrote for every single wine I tasted in the competition.

The tastings were conducted fully blind, other than a separation of value-priced wines into their own category, and the availability of grape variety information about each wine if we wanted it (I did).

In looking at my tasting notes and scores below, it will be important for my readers to understand some additional considerations when it comes to notes made during the judging of a wine competition.

Firstly, despite being tasted blind, which certainly adds a good measure of objectivity and impartiality, competitions are a pretty lousy format for tasting wine. Even though this particular competition was not rushed in any way, we judges don’t get a lot of time to spend with each wine. Also despite the very best, valiant efforts of those who put on such competitions, the wines are not always tasted at exactly the ideal temperature or in world-class stemware. The wines don’t get the benefit of decanting which, though leveling the playing field a bit, certainly means some wines don’t show as well as they might with some additional air, and for economies of space, we use somewhat narrow tasting glasses instead of generous stems.

In my experience, tasting a lot of wines serially also tends to accentuate those wines that have unusual characteristics. Most of the time, these characteristics aren’t to the wine’s benefit anyway, but in a competition setting, a surfeit of oak, or a touch of VA tend to leap out more prominently.

All of which is to say that more so than normal, these notes and scores should be taken with a grain of salt, and appreciated for what they are. Having said that, with only a handful of exceptions, I am proud to say that after looking at the individual scores from all of the judges for all the wines, we had an incredible alignment around which wines we liked and which we did not.

While about 300 different wines were submitted to the competition, in order for us to proceed through them in an efficient way, not every wine was tasted by every judge. Instead, the wines were split up among three teams of judges (which you can sort of see in the photo above — my team in the foreground with Isabelle Legeron at her computer) for a first round of judging, and the top scoring wines in each category (red, white, sweet, and value) were then brought back to be tasted by all the judges together. The notes below consist of all of my notes from all rounds of judging, including the final rounds where I tasted every wine that was in contention for an award.

I have made only two changes to these notes and scores before publishing them: I have spellchecked my tasting notes, but other than that I have not changed a single word. I have also converted the scores into my own scoring system from the 100-point scale that we were asked to use as judges. My own 10-point system is less exacting than the 100-point scale (e.g. a wine that scored 84, 85, or 86 points would be “somewhere around 8.5” on my scale).

These tasting notes, along with the notes from all the other judges, were provided anonymously to the wineries who took part in the competition (something not all competitions do). They were not, however, released to the public, but I was given permission to publish mine if I felt like it. So here you go.

My final thoughts regarding the wines below, are that I wish more sweet wines had been entered in the competition, especially as that is a category in which Hungary excels. Many of the people I talked to believed that sweet wines were getting harder and harder to sell, both within Hungary and outside, and consequently most producers are putting their focus on dry wines. While I can’t argue with economic necessity, there are still a lot of sweet wines made in Hungary, and they should be showcased at competitions such as the Pannon Wine Challenge.

The majority of these wines are not available in the U.S. but a few of the good ones are thanks to importers such as Blue Danube Imports. If you’re anxious to get your hands on something below, give Frank a call and I’ll bet he can help.

Value Wines (under $12 US)

VALUE WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2011 Sauska Furmint Tokaj
Pale greenish gold in color, this wine smells of candle wax, spiced poached pears, and chamomile. In the mouth chamomile and pear/quince flavors mix with wet stones, and a nice silky texture. Quince lingers on the finish. Decent acidity. 13.44% alcohol.

2011 Font Ezerjo, Kunság
Ezerjo is an older Hungarian grape variety. Pale gold in the glass this wine has a bright floral and hint of melon character in the nose with an underlying minerality. In the mouth the wine has a simple charm, with bright acidity, hints of lemon and floral character, and a nice length. Simple, but charming. 12% alcohol.

VALUE WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2011 Garamvári Szőlőbirtok Irsai Olivér, Balatonboglár
Light greenish gold in color, this wine smells of wet stones and green melon with a hint of bitter greens. In the mouth crisp wet stone flavors mix with melon and floral notes, but don’t have a lot of depth or complexity. Moderate finish. 12% alcohol.

VALUE WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2011 Bujdosó Szõlõbirtok és Pincészet “Frissecco” Királyleányka, Balatonboglár
Pale blonde with fine bubbles, smells of linalool and slightly artificial fruit. In the mouth pears, linalool, hints of green apple and cold cream. Light spritz / mousse. Decent acidity, feels a bit concocted. 12% alcohol.

VALUE WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 7.5 AND 8
2011 Feind Villa Quaiar Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Balatonfüred-Csopak
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of gooseberries and green vegetables. In the mouth the wine is quite dilute, with not nearly enough acidity to carry it. Innocuous and…blah. 11.76% alcohol.

VALUE WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7
2011 Vabrik Riesling, Etyek-Buda
Pale gold in the glass with a hint of green, this wine smells of somewhat artificial flowers and linalool. In the mouth watery pear and linalool flavors don’t resolve well. Tastes manipulated. 13.91% alcohol.

2011 KOCH “Prémium ” Chardonnay, Hajós-Baja
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of linalool and plastic. In the mouth very little varietal character exists, with flavors of linalool, pear, and apple. Clean, concocted. Bitter finish. 12.27% alcohol.

VALUE WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 6.5
2011 Tokajicum Borház Muscat Blanc, Tokaj
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of artificial floral and melon scents. In the mouth bitter plasticky notes mix with melon and floral flavors. Odd finish. Somewhat faulty. 12.5% alcohol.

VALUE WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 6
2011 Jásdi Pince Csopak Riesling, Csopak
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine has a rainwater and floral nose. In the mouth the wine is plasticky and artificial. Lousy. Could be a faulty bottle. 12.5% alcohol.

VALUE PINK WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 7.5 AND 8
2011 Kertész “Carla” Pinot Noir, Etyek-Buda
Pale salmon with fine bubbles, this wine smells faintly of orange peel and red berries. In the mouth the wine has a tart citrus and rosehip quality, with a SweetTart tanginess. Good acidity, but more acidity than anything else. 11.97% alcohol.

VALUE PINK WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7.5
2011 Dúzsi Tamás és Családja Borászati Kft. Kékfrankos, Szekszárd
Pale pink with a hint of orange in the glass, this wine smells of watermelon and red berries with a hint of linalool. In the mouth red berry flavors mix with a somewhat artificial quality and a hint of sweetness. Lower acidity, somewhat high octane. Lightly bitter finish. 13.16% alcohol.

VALUE PINK WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 7 AND 7.5
2011 “Ostoros-Novaj Bor” Zrt. Red Blend, Eger
Bright baby pink in the glass, this wine smells of Jolly Rancher candy — watermelon, cherry, and strawberry. In the mouth the candied quality of the fruit continues with a light sweetness and not enough acidity. A blend of 44% Kekfrankos, 20% Pinot Noir, 18% Blauer Portugieser, and 18% Zweigelt. 11.95% alcohol.

VALUE RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2008 Janus “Bordó” Bordeaux Blend, Villány
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of earth, cherry, and green bell pepper. In the mouth the wine has a nice medium body, good acidity and bright flavors of cherry and a hint of the green pepper. The oak is reasonably well integrated. Somewhat short finish. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. 12,64% alcohol.

2008 Bertram “Eger Cuvée” Red Blend, Eger
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of stewed cherries and wet wood. In the mouth, flavors of dried cherry, cedar, and wet leaves mix with an nice underlying earthiness. The tannins have a very light touch, and hang on the edges of perception. The finish has an odd, bitter wood character. Pleasant, but lacking some complexity. 13% alcohol.

VALUE RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 7 AND 7.5
2009 Juhász Testvérek Pincészete “Birtokbor” Merlot, Eger
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of new oak and little else. In the mouth, flavors of sweet new oak dominate the fruit, leaving little room for else. Caramelized sugars, smoky notes and underneath the barest hint of cherry. Overdone. 13.61% alcohol.

VALUE RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 6.5 AND 7
2009 Ikon Borászat Shiraz, Balatonboglár
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of somewhat industrial plastic. In the mouth the wine is tight and compressed, with thin flavors of black cherry and cassis cough syrup. Not expressive and quite industrial in quality. 14.42% alcohol.

VALUE RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 5
2011 Borpalota Kft. Pinot Noir, Mátra
Dark garnet in the glass this wine smells horrible. Cooked cabbage and stewed fruits. Tastes of wet leaves, wet plastic bags, and dirt. Horrible. Not commercially viable. 12.5% alcohol.

White Wines

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9.5
2010 Somlói Apátsági Pince Juhfark, Nagy-Somló
Bright medium yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of chrysanthemum tea and lemon curd and honey. In the mouth the wine offers neon lemon juicy bright explosion with crystalline acidity and fantastic length. Mouthwatering, juicy, and I just want to gulp it. Might have a slight sweetness but there’s enough acidity that it doesn’t taste sweet. Juhfark is a fairly uncommon Hungarian grape variety. 13.5 % alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 9 AND 9.5
2008 Borpalota Hárslevel?, Mátra
Light to medium yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of honey and white flowers and candied apricots. In the mouth, off dry flavors of honey, acacia blossom and yellow herbs mix together in a faintly sweet concoction that has a wonderful brightness thanks to great acidity. A hint of bitter herbs lingers on the finish in an altogether pleasant way. Yum. 15.62% alcohol.

2010 Oremus “Mandolás” Furmint, Tokaj
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd, with a hint of acacia blossom. In the mouth, super bright lemon juice and lemon curd flavors vie for attention with floral notes and mouthwatering acidity keeps flavors pushing for a long time in the finish. 12.5% alcohol.

2010 Somlói Apátsági Pince Hárslevelû, Nagy-Somló
Medium yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of honey and golden apples and acacia blossoms. In the mouth the wine is slightly off-dry, with gorgeous acacia and honey flavors with quite pretty lemon curd notes as well. Round, juicy, well balanced with excellent acidity and length. Stellar. 13.5% alcohol.

2010 Somlói Apátsági Pince Kft Hárslevelû, Nagy-Somló
Medium yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of acacia blossoms, apricots, and orange zest. In the mouth acacia, clover honey, and orange blossom flavors mix with a nice underlying minerality. Pink grapefruit flavors linger on the finish. Excellent acidity and balance, though a touch high in alcohol — the grapes were quite ripe I think, with some botrytis present, lending its characteristic quality to the wine. On the whole, however, an excellent wine. Quite rich. 13,5% alcohol.

2010 Somlói Apátsági Pince Kft Juhfark, Nagy-Somló
Light gold in the glass this wine smells of fresh clover honey. In the mouth the wine has a tangy, juicy lemon curd and acacia quality. Bright, neon acidity lingers long through the finish. Some botrytis adds some richness to the wine. Very interesting. 13.5% alcohol.

2010 Somlói Apátsági Pince Kft Furmint, Nagy-Somló
Light yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of quince paste and chamomile. Beautifully mineral in quality in the mouth, flavors of quince paste and lemon curd mix with chamomile and other dried herbs through a long finish that has a touch of honey. Perfectly dry and quite delicious. 13.5% alcohol.

2009 Tokaj Nobilis Szõlõbirtok “Hárs, Barakonyi dûlõ” Hárslevelû, Tokaj
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of chamomile, cut grass, and other exotic green herbs. In the mouth wonderful chamomile and yarrow flavors mix with bright acidity and a hint of apple and quince fruit. Unique and delicious. 14.5% alcohol.

2009 Tornai Pincészet “Top Selection Grófi ” Hárslevel?, Nagy-Somló
Light yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of sulfur and acacia blossoms. In the mouth, lemon and acacia, with hints of chamomile blend smoothly in a silky body with nice acidity. The wine is perhaps over sulfured but given some time in the glass (or age in the cellar) this is a beauty. 13% alcohol.

2009 Varga Pincészet “Aranymetszés” Rózsakő, Badacsony
Medium gold in the glass, this wine smells of acacia blossom and honey. In the mouth herbal flavors of chamomile and yarrow mix with acacia blossom and honey, but in a completely dry, mineral way. Bright and juicy with a parchment / old book note that lingers in the finish. Compelling. 12.76% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2009 Bott Frigyes “Vinculum” Juhfark, Délszlovákia-Muzsla
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of chamomile and brewers yeast malted milk. In the mouth, juicy lemon and quince flavors mix with marzipan and wheaty. A hint of sweetness lingers on the finish. 15% alcohol.
2011 Chateau Dereszla “Tokaji Dry” White Blend, Tokaji Borvidék Pale blonde in the glass, this wine smells of crème anglais and pears. In the mouth juicy pear and quince flavors are bright with acidity and a touch of lemon on the finish. Juicy bright, and quite tasty. 13% alcohol.

2011 Hilltop Neszmély “Prémium Kalács-hegy-d?lő” Sárga Muskotály, Neszmély
Pale gold in the glass with a hint of green, this wine smells of star fruit and green melon. In the mouth the wine has quite an interesting combination of melon, wet stone, and green plum flavors that is quite compelling. Excellent acidity gives a bit of a kick to the finish which has a tangy, slightly savory quality to it that is very yummy. Delicious. 12% alcohol.

2009 Kertész Családi Pincészet Chardonnay, Etyek-Buda
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon, cold cream, and buttercream. In the mouth the wine offers somewhat savory flavors of lemon curd, buttercream frosting, and a nice saline lemon kick in the finish. Decent amount of oak used, but well integrated. Excellent acidity, nice balance. 14.61% alcohol.

2010 Laposa Badacsony “Laposa Rizling” Olaszrizling, Badcsony
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of pears, white flowers, and wet stones. In the mouth it offers bright green apple, lemon and lime zest flavors and a nice hint of sweetness that rounds out the wine and makes it quite mouthwatering along with bright acidity. Tasty. 12.5% alcohol.

2011 Nyakas “Budai” Sauvignon Blanc, Etyek-Buda
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of the classic “cat pee on a gooseberry bush” aroma of Sauvignon Blanc. In the mouth, flavors of gooseberry and wet stones mix with lime zest and a hint of florality to make this a classic, if slightly severe example of the form. For those who prefer more mineral and less fruit in their Sauvignon Blanc, this wine will please. 13.2% alcohol.

2011 Pannonhalmi Apátsági Pincészet White Blend, Pannonhalma
Pale gold in the glass this wine smells of gooseberries and green apple. In the mouth the wine offers juicy kiwi, green apple, and gooseberry. Chalky almost tannic quality lingers in the finish. Good acidity. 13% alcohol.

2011 Patricius Sárga Muskotály, Tokaji Borvidék
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of green melon and white flowers. In the mouth it offers fresh and juicy flavors of green melon, green apple, and wet stones. Excellent acidity and nice smooth texture, a well made, if not particularly complex wine that is a pleasure to drink. Crisp and clean. 12% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2009 Balassa István “Szt. Tamás” Furmint, Tokaj
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of acacia and honey. In the mouth slightly spicy flavors of honey, quince paste and wet stones mix with a tangerine zest quality that suggests a slight bit of botrytis in the grapes. The finish has a nice quince quote. 15% alcohol.

2009 Bott Frigyes “Vinculum” Juhfark, Délszlovákia-Muzsla
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of honey and a bit of old, sweaty gym socks. In the mouth, slightly sweet flavors of acacia blossom, honey, and candied orange peel mix with a chalky minerality. Somewhat funky and disjointed, but interesting. 15% alcohol.

2011 Bujdosó Szõlõbirtok és Pincészet Szürkebarát, Balatonboglár
Pale blonde in the glass, this wine smells of cold cream, linalool, and pears. In the mouth fresh pear flavors mix with a hint of white flour and a touch of spiciness. There’s something unique about this wine that is interesting. Good acidity, nice fruit. Good length. 14,5% alcohol.

2009 Holdvölgy “Becsek” Hárslevelû, Tokaj-Hegyalja
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and wet stones. In the mouth the wine is herbal, with a tiny hint of sweetness, and a lot of wet stone and green apple character. Doesn’t have the characteristic yellow-herb flavors I expect from harslevelu, must have been picked early. Still, the tart, sour, juiciness of the wine is appealing in some ways. 13% alcohol.

2009 Holdvölgy Expression “Becsek” Hárslevelû, Tokaj-Hegyalja
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of acacia flowers and lemon curd. In the mouth flavors of lemon curd, dried flowers, and wet stones mix nicely, though there is a bit of alcoholic heat on the finish, along with a waxy herbal note. Not fully integrated, but not unpleasant either, this is an interesting wine that is worth drinking. 13% alcohol.

2009 Kertész Családi Pincészet Chardonnay, Etyek-Buda
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of cold cream and lemon zest. In the mouth the wine offers lemon curd, bright wet stones, and lemon zest flavors with a hint of grapefruit on the finish. Pleasant enough, with good acidity. 14.61% alcohol.

2009 Kertész Családi Pincészet Királyleányka, Etyek-Buda
Light yellow in the glass, this wine smells of lemon, spices, and wet stones. In the mouth the wine comes across as somewhat high octane, with bright flavors of lemony peach, cold cream, and an herbal spiciness that is quite appealing. The wine has quite a bit of heat on the finish, but that doesn’t keep a honeyed character from emerging. 13.27% alcohol.

2010 Royal Tokaji “Szent Tamás” Furmint, Tokaji Borvidék
Light yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of acacia blossoms and honey. In the mouth tart lemon zest and acacia blossoms mix with a slightly spicy, sourish citrus note that is quite interesting. Sharp acidity with a chalky character leaves the mouth slightly dry in the finish. 14.5% alcohol.

2011 Söptei Pincészet Pinot Blanc, Balatinfüred-Csopak
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of pears and wet stones. In the mouth flavors of ripe pear, wet stones, and a hint of lime/lemon citrus note that lingers pleasantly on the finish. Good acidity, crisp and clean. Tasty. 13% alcohol.

2011 Söptei Pincészet Riesling, Balatonfüred-Csopak
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of linalool and ripe pears with notes of wet rocks. In the mouth bright flavors of lemon are given a quick boost by very bright acidity, but not much flavor follows that initial citrus and pear spike. 12.5% alcohol.

2011 Szent Tamás Pincészet “Mád Száraz” Furmint, Tokaj-Hegyalja
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of wet stones and pears. In the mouth a lovely silky texture delivers flavors of lemon, quince, and white flowers. Excellent acidity, nice balance, and just a touch of alcoholic heat on the finish. Also a touch of sweetness. Tasty. 13.5% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2008 Holdvölgy Expression “Becsek” Hárslevelû, Tokaj-Hegyalja
Light yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of acacia blossoms and honey, with hints of herbal notes like chamomile. In the mouth chamomile and honey mix with bright lemony zest and lemon balm flavors. Nice acidity but feels somewhat stripped down. 12% alcohol.

2011 Jásdi Pince Csopak “Lőczedombi” Szürkebarát, Csopak
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of pears and wet stones. In the mouth the wine is smooth and silky with nice acidity and flavors of pears, wet stones, and white flowers. A perfectly fine example of the form. 13.44% alcohol.

2009 Kertész Családi Pincészet Királyleányka, Etyek-Buda
Light to medium yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of acacia blossoms and chamomile, with a sweet orange blossom note on top and a hint of glue. In the mouth juicy lemon and acacia blossom flavors struggle a bit with strong new oak flavors that ultimately are the downfall of the wine. 13.27% alcohol.

2011 Konyári Pince “Loliense fehér” White Blend, Balatonboglár
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and linalool. In the mouth crisp flavors of pear, green apple, and wet stones mix with a nice citrusy note. Somewhat austere, but tasty. A chalky dry note lingers in the finish. 51% sauvignon blanc, 38% chardonnay, 11% Olasriziling. 13.37% alcohol.

2009 Sauska “Cuvée 111” White Blend, Tokaj
Light greenish gold in the glass this wine smells of vanilla and lemon and new oak. In the mouth, flavors of raw quince, lemon, and quince paste mix with bright acidity and hints of new oak, but alcoholic heat flares up in the finish to lessen a very bright tasty wine. 14.41% alcohol.

2010 Somlói Apátsági Pince Furmint, Nagy-Somló
Light yellow-gold in the glass, this wine smells of quince and wet stones with a hint of dry cardboard. In the mouth the wine has a quince paste with a hint of oxidative note. Wet chalkboard minerality lingers in the finish with a spike of lemon. 13.5% alcohol.

2010 Villa Sandahl “Recept” Riesling, Badacsony
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of apples, pears, and cold cream. In the mouth flavors of apple and pear are kept aloft by delicate acidity and an underlying wet chalkboard minerality. Pleasant, but not particularly dynamic. 13.16% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2009 Béres “Lõcse” Furmint , Tokaj
Light yellow gold in the glass with a hint of green, this wine smells of new oak and sweet acacia blossom. In the mouth the sweet oak overwhelms flavors of quince and lemon. Good acidity. 14.5% alcohol.

2011 Borpalota Kft. Irsai Olivér, Mátra
Pale gold in color, this wine smells of orange blossom and orange fleshed melon. In the mouth nice acidity makes lively flavors of orange blossom and candied orange peel. A hint of orange zest lingers on the finish with a waxy quality. Pleasant, but lacking complexity. 11.5% alcohol.

2011 Effendy-Vin Olaszrizling, Balaton-felvidéki Borvidék
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of apples and pears and wet stones. In the mouth pear and apple flavors have a slightly spicy, baked note while pink grapefruit citrus slips in behind them. Good acidity. 13,89% alcohol.

2008 Kertész Családi Pincészet Chardonnay, Etyek-Buda
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of fresh apples, baked apples and cold cream. In the mouth baked apple, sweet oak, and cold cream take on a spicy aspect on the finish. Decent acidity. 14.51% alcohol.

2010 Sandahl “Recept” Riesling, Badacsony
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon zest, tangerine and wet stones. In the mouth, tangerine zest and pink grapefruit flavors mix with wet stones and a hint of florality. Bright and juicy, with a tangy quality, the acidity is quite sharp through the finish. 13.16% alcohol.

2009 Sauska “Cuvée 107” White Blend, Tokaj
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of cold cream and canned pineapple. In the mouth the wine has a nice salinity, with flavors of cold cream, wet stones, lemon balm, and new oak. The oak continues to emerge from the wine on the finish which is somewhat hot with alcohol. A blend of Harsevelu and Chardonnay. 14.69% alcohol.

2010 Villa Sandahl “The Stamp” Riesling, Badacsony
Light greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells slightly of volatile acidity and apples. In the mouth bright acidity makes flavors of lemon, lime, and green apple quite bright and juicy, with a hint of vanilla that washes into the finish along with some alcoholic heat. Sadly a little disjointed. 13.39% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2011 Koch “Prémium” Cserszegi Fûszeres, Hajós-Baja
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of linalool and ripe pears. In the mouth flavors of pears and wet stones mix with delicate acidity and wet stones. Pleasant but nothing special. 12.73% alcohol.

2011 Pannonhalmi Apátsági Pincészet Olaszrizling, Pannonhalma
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of brewer’s yeast and a hint of bubblegum. In the mouth the wine offers linalool flavors and bubble gum notes with high tones of jasmine, and generally a confected quality. Good acidity though. 13% alcohol.

2009 Tornai Pincészet “Top Selection Aranyhegy” Juhfark, Nagy-Somló
Medium yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of acacia and sweet new oak. In the mouth, the wine offers off-dry, slightly sweet flavors of old socks and lemon curd, with a spicy baked apple note that swirls in there as well. Good acidity. 14.5% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 7.5 AND 8
2009 Légli Ottó “Gesztenyés” Riesling, Balatonboglári Borvidék
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of volatile acidity through which lemon and apple scents peek with a bit of oak. In the mouth the wine tastes of harsh acidity (malic) with tart green apple flavors and heat on the finish. Disjointed. 13% alcohol.

2011 Riczu-Stier Pincészet Chardonnay, Villány
Pale gold in the glass this wine smells of golden apples and wet stones. In the mouth light linalool, lemon and apple flavors mix with wet stones. Not particularly varietally correct. 12.54% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7.5
2009 Badacsonyi Pincegazdaság Zrt. “Napkirály” Olaszrizling, Badacsony
Light yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of candle wax and candied lemon peel. In the mouth flavors of candle wax, vanilla, and lemon curd mix with wet stones and somewhat sharp acidity. The acid unbalances the wine, and an alcoholic heat rushes the finish. Tastes of somewhat botrytized fruit. 14% alcohol.

2011 Gál Szőlőbirtok és Pincészet “Gál Balatonfelvidéki” Chardonnay, Balatonfelvidék
Palest gold in the glass, this wine smells of pears and golden apples. In the mouth flavors of tinned pears, brewers yeast and baked apples mix with moderate acidity. Alcoholic heat burns on the finish. 13.49% alcohol.

2009 Légli “Chariesa” Chardonnay, Balatonboglár
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of cold cream, buttered popcorn, and linalool. In the mouth buttered popcorn, sour green plum, and cold cream flavors mix with an odd quality. Green apple skin flavors linger in the finish, bitterly. Blend of Chardonnay, Riesling, and Irsai Olivier. 14% alcohol.

2011 Nyakas “Aligvárom” White Blend, Etyek-Buda
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of linalool and poached pears. Faint sweetness in the mouth mixes pear and citrus notes to make a perfectly generic, bland wine. A blend of Chardonnay, Irsai Olivier, and Olasrizling. 12.5% alcohol.

2011 Patricius Hárslevelû, Tokaji Borvidék
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of orange peel and hints of melon. In the mouth the wine is somewhat stripped down and austere with bright acidity and flavors of orange peel and orange melon, but mostly a stoniness that isn’t pleasant. 12.5% alcohol.

2011 Szöllősi Olaszrizling, Neszmély
Pale gold in the glass with a hint of green tint, this wine smells of linalool and white flowers. In the mouth flavors