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

pannonhalma.jpgAs some of my readers know, I spent four days in May as a judge at the 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 8.52011 Sauska Furmint TokajPale 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, KunsĂĄg
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 GaramvĂĄri Szőlőbirtok Irsai OlivĂ©r, BalatonboglĂĄr
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 BujdosĂł Szõlõbirtok Ă©s PincĂ©szet "Frissecco" KirĂĄlyleĂĄnyka, BalatonboglĂĄr
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, BalatonfĂŒred-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 BorhĂĄz 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 JĂĄsdi 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 DĂșzsi TamĂĄs Ă©s CsalĂĄdja BorĂĄszati Kft. KĂ©kfrankos, SzekszĂĄrd
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 "BordĂł" Bordeaux Blend, VillĂĄny
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 Juhåsz 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 BorĂĄszat Shiraz, BalatonboglĂĄr
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, MĂĄtra
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 SomlĂłi ApĂĄtsĂĄgi Pince Juhfark, Nagy-SomlĂł
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 HĂĄrslevel?, MĂĄtra
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 "MandolĂĄs" 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 SomlĂłi ApĂĄtsĂĄgi Pince HĂĄrslevelĂ», Nagy-SomlĂł
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 SomlĂłi ApĂĄtsĂĄgi Pince Kft HĂĄrslevelĂ», Nagy-SomlĂł
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 SomlĂłi ApĂĄtsĂĄgi Pince Kft Juhfark, Nagy-SomlĂł
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 SomlĂłi ApĂĄtsĂĄgi Pince Kft Furmint, Nagy-SomlĂł
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 "HĂĄrs, Barakonyi dĂ»lõ" HĂĄrslevelĂ», 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 " Hårslevel?, 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 PincĂ©szet "AranymetszĂ©s" RĂłzsakő, 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, DĂ©lszlovĂĄkia-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 crÚme 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 NeszmĂ©ly "PrĂ©mium KalĂĄcs-hegy-d?lő" SĂĄrga MuskotĂĄly, NeszmĂ©ly
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 Csalådi 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 Apåtsågi 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 Sårga Muskotåly, 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 IstvĂĄn "Szt. TamĂĄs" 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, DĂ©lszlovĂĄkia-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 BujdosĂł Szõlõbirtok Ă©s PincĂ©szet SzĂŒrkebarĂĄt, BalatonboglĂĄr
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" Hårslevelû, 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" Hårslevelû, 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 Csalådi 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 Csalådi Pincészet Kirålyleånyka, 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 Tamås" 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 PincĂ©szet Pinot Blanc, BalatinfĂŒred-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 PincĂ©szet Riesling, BalatonfĂŒred-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 Tamås Pincészet "Måd Szåraz" 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" Hårslevelû, 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 JĂĄsdi Pince Csopak "Lőczedombi" SzĂŒrkebarĂĄt, 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 Csalådi Pincészet Kirålyleånyka, 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 Konyåri Pince "Loliense fehér" White Blend, Balatonboglår
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 SomlĂłi ApĂĄtsĂĄgi Pince Furmint, Nagy-SomlĂł
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 BĂ©res "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, Måtra
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 Csalådi 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 Apåtsågi 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, Balatonboglåri 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, Villåny
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 PincegazdasĂĄg Zrt. "NapkirĂĄly" 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 GĂĄl Szőlőbirtok Ă©s PincĂ©szet "GĂĄl BalatonfelvidĂ©ki" Chardonnay, BalatonfelvidĂ©k
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 LĂ©gli "Chariesa" Chardonnay, BalatonboglĂĄr
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 "AligvĂĄrom" 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 Hårslevelû, 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, NeszmĂ©ly
Pale gold in the glass with a hint of green tint, this wine smells of linalool and white flowers. In the mouth flavors of white flowers, pears, and JuicyFruit gum mix with decent acidity. Some alcoholic heat lingers in the finish. Somewhat plain and uninspiring. 12% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 7 AND 7.5
2011 "Ostoros-Novaj Bor" Zrt. "Eger Csillag" White Blend, Eger
Palest greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers, cucumber, and wet stones. In the mouth the wine is somewhat dilute and watered down, with flavors of wet stones, cucumber and green apple. 30% Kiralyleanyka, 30% Olaszrizling, 25% Cserszegi Fuszeres, 15% Chardonnay. 12.41% alcohol.

2011 Almagyar Érseki Szőlőbirtok "Eger Csillag" White Blend, Eger
Light gold in the glass this wine has a musty nose with hints of white flowers. In the mouth slightly bitter pear and quince flavors mix with wet stones underneath a musty note that unfortunately taints the wine. Not pleasant. Bitter finish. 13% alcohol.

2009 Árvay "Padihegy" Furmint, Tokaj
Light gold in the glass with the barest hint of green, this wine smells of linalool and poached pears in syrup. In the mouth the wine tastes of somewhat plastic and yeasty qualities through which it is hard for quince and lemon flavors to shine. Odd and not very pleasant. 13.5% alcohol.

2011 JĂĄsdi Pince Csopak "Lőczedombi" Olaszrizling, Csopak
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon zest and wet stones. In the mouth somewhat austere flavors of lemon zest, tangerine zest and wet stones have a dilute quality to them. Narrow. 12.5% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7
2011 Frittmann BorĂĄszat EzerjĂł, KunsĂĄg
Light gold in the glass, with a hint of a green tinge, this wine smells of lemon candy and a hint of yeastiness. In the mouth the wine tastes of lemon and wet stones with a hint of yeastiness on the finish. Not great. 12.5% alcohol.

2010 Malatinszky KĂșria Organikus Szőlőbirtok "Noblesse Serena" White Blend, VillĂĄny-SiklĂłs
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of linalool. In the mouth the wine has a stripped down quality of very sour green apple skin, while at the same time a hint of sweetness. Unpleasant. A blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. 12% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 6.5 AND 7
2011 Badacsonyi PincegazdasĂĄg Zrt. MĂŒller Thurgau, BalatonmellĂ©k
Pale blonde in the glass, this wine smells of linalool and pears. In the mouth the wine is quite dilute and watery, with very faint flavors of wet stone and a hint of baked pear. Quite unimpressive. 12.5% alcohol.

2009 Jåsdi Pince Csopak "Ranolder Fehér" Furmint, Csopak
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon, pears, and linalool. In the mouth slightly watery flavors of pear and JuicyFruit gum have a sort of artificiality. Alcoholic heat lingers in the finish. A blend of Furmint and Olaszrisling. 12.5% alcohol.

2009 PĂĄntlika PincĂ©szet "Dörgicsei Selection" Olaszrizling, BalatonfĂŒred-Csopak
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of new oak and lemon. In the mouth searing acidity and green apple flavors mix with out of balance flavors. Yuck. 13% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 6.5
2011 PĂĄntlika PincĂ©szet "Dörgicsei Selection" Sauvignon Blanc, BalatonfĂŒred-Csopak
Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of white flowers and honey. In the mouth the wine has an odd character, with heavy vanilla flavors, candied character and very odd finish. 13% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 6 AND 6.5
2009 Tokajicum BorhĂĄz "NyulĂĄszĂł" Furmint, Tokaj
Bottle #1 - Light gold in the glass, this wine smells of funky woody and lemony flavors. In the mouth there's a trace of wet cardboard, lemon and wet stones. Very bad / unclean. Vanilla finish. Bad oak? Bottle #2 - same as above. 13.5% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 5.5
2011 Figula PincĂ©szet SĂĄrga MuskotĂĄly, BalatonfĂŒred-Csopak
Pale greenish gold in the glass, this wine smells of white grapes and melon. In the mouth, bitter phenolic, plastic flavors make this wine essentially undrinkable. Not commercially viable. 13.5% alcohol.

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 5
2008 Kolonics Pincészet Olaszrizling, Somló
Light yellow gold in the glass, this wine smells of funkiness. Harsh. Tried second bottle. Same. 12% alcohol.

2010 SomlĂłi ApĂĄtsĂĄgi Pince Kft Olaszrizling, Nagy-SomlĂł
First two bottles both corked or horribly faulty. 14% alcohol.


Pink Wines


PINK WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2011 DĂșzsi TamĂĄs Ă©s CsalĂĄdja Cabernet Franc, SzekszĂĄrd
Pale pink with a hint of salmon, this wine smells of bright strawberry and watermelon. In the mouth, flavors of strawberry and watermelon have slightly less acidity than I would like, and just a touch of sweetness that I think could have been avoided, but the flavors are clean, and the finish airy and floral. Very easy to drink. 14.28% alcohol.

PINK WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2011 Frittmann BorĂĄszat KĂ©kfrankos, KunsĂĄg
Light salmon pink in color, this wine smells of watermelon and a hint of plastic. In the mouth, cheerful berry and watermelon flavors mix with decent acidity and finish cleanly. Not particularly complex, but nothing objectionable here. Kekfrancos. 12.5% alcohol.

PINK WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2011 DĂșzsi TamĂĄs RosĂ© of Cabernet Sauvignon, SzekszĂĄrd
Light salmon pink in the glass, this wine smells of candied cherries and strawberries. In the mouth the wine has a slight sweetness to it and candied flavors of cherry and strawberry. Cabernet Sauvignon. 13.6% alcohol.

Red Wines

RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 9 AND 9.52009 Liszkay MihĂĄly BorĂĄszat Cabernet Franc, BalatonfĂŒred-CsopakMedium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of green bell pepper, graphite, and cherries. In the mouth the wine has wonderful brightness and quite pretty fruit that expands across the palate. Good acidity and fine grained tannins. The oak is well integrated. Lovely. 13.92% alcohol.

2008 Liszkay MihĂĄly BorĂĄszat "Liszkay CuvĂ©e" Red Blend, BalatonfĂŒred-Csopak
Medium to dark ruby in color, this wine smells of espresso and tobacco. In the mouth the wine has bright cherry and cola flavors, with excellent acidity. The oak is quite well integrated into the wine which has a lovely silky texture. 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot. Excellent. 13.82% alcohol.

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2009 Baron Von Twickel Szőlőbirtok "Chateau KajmĂĄd SzekszĂĄrd CuvĂ©e" Red Blend, SzekszĂĄrd
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and plum fruit with a hint of stoniness. In the mouth cherry and plum fruit has a nice underlying earthy minerality while suede-like tannins wrap around the edges of the wine. A nice savory herbal note emerges on the finish. A blend of 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Kekfrancos. 13.5% alcohol.

2010 Bott Frigyes KĂ©kfrankos, DĂ©lszlovĂĄkia-Muzsla
Light to medium ruby in the glass with a hint of orange fading at the rim, this wine smells of apple cider, green herbs and leafy greens, including comfrey. In the mouth, tangy rosehip, redcurrant, and hibiscus flavors mix with herbal notes and hints of cedar. Good acidity, faint tannins and a wonderful length across the palate. Distinctive and charming. 13% alcohol.

2009 Eszterbauer BorĂĄszat "Tivald" Red Blend, SzekszĂĄrd
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cassis and black cherry. In the mouth black cherry and cola flavors predominate with hints of tobacco. Good acidity and fine grained tannins, plus a long finish. Very well executed and tasty. Creamy note lingers on the finish. 15% alcohol.

2009 Gajdos Pincészet "Egri Bikavér" Red Blend, Eger
Cloudy, inky purple in the glass, this wine smells of spicy mulberry, black cherry, and leather, with a dash of new oak. In the mouth, rich dark cherry, mulberry flavors nicely integrate with sweet new oak. Lovely texture and length in the mouth. Dark, rich, and quite supple tannins remind me of dark chocolate cake for some reason. Very nice. Kekfrancos, Blauburger, Cabernet. 13.5% alcohol.

2009 Jekl Pincészet "Il Primo" Cabernet Franc, Villåny
Dark garnet in the glass this wine smells of sweet oak and a darker stonier quality. In the mouth the wine has a nice seamless wholeness to it, with cherry and espresso flavors combining with slightly heavy handed smoky oak flavors. Good acidity though, and good length. Bordeaux blend. 15% alcohol.

2008 Liszkay MihĂĄly BorĂĄszat "Liszkay CuvĂ©e" Red Blend, BalatonfĂŒred-Csopak
Medium to dark ruby in the glass, this wine smells of graphite and wet stones. In the mouth cherry and wet granite flavors have a silky smoothness to them, and good acidity. A fleece blanket of tannins coats the mouth with a hint of espresso flavor lingering in the finish. Quite attractive. A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Merlot. 13.82% alcohol.

2009 Riczu-Stier Pincészet Cabernet Sauvignon, Villåny
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of cherry cough syrup and licorice with a bit of wet chalkboard. In the mouth good acidity brings dark cherry and cola flavors to life with powdery tannins and notes of licorice. Well balanced, with a slightly weak mid-palate, but generally tasty. A note of brown sugar lingers in the finish. 14.3% alcohol.


RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8.5 AND 9
2009 Baron Von Twickel Szőlőbirtok "Chateau KajmĂĄd SzekszĂĄrd CuvĂ©e" Red Blend, SzekszĂĄrd
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and cassis with a hint of new oak. In the mouth rich flavors of cassis and black cherry mix with powdery, mouth coating tannins. The oak is very well integrated to the wine. While the mid-palate is a bit weak, the wine is quite tasty. 40% Cabernet Franc, 30% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Kekfrancos. 13.5% alcohol.

2008 Chateau Teleki VillĂĄny Cabernet Franc, VillĂĄny
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of slightly nutty cherry and green bell pepper. In the mouth the wine is juicy and bright with aggressive tannins but very pretty cherry fruit that has a nice floral note. Good acidity. The tannins dry the mouth and take on an oak character in the finish, but the wine is clean and juicy. 14% alcohol.

2008 CsutorĂĄs Nagyanyag "Nagyanyag" Red Blend, Eger
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of violets and orange peels with a hint of red fruit. In the mouth the wine has a tangy orange peel and redcurrant quality with a deeper cherry note as well. Hints of wet dirt and leather creep into the finish. Decent acidity. Unusual. A blend of 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Menoir 13.5% alcohol.

2009 Feind Villa Quaiar "Shiraz Premium" Syrah, BalatonfĂŒred-Csopak
Dark garnet in the glass this wine smells of smoky cassis. In the mouth smoky and leathery flavors of cassis and black cherry have a nice tang to them with good acidity and nice length. A hint of savory, black olive character lingers in the finish. Tasty. 14.63% alcohol.

2008 Halmosi Pincészet "Négykezes" Merlot, Szekszård
Medium ruby in the glass, this wine smells of plummy cherry and hints of new oak. In the mouth, powdery tannins wrap around a core of plum and cherry fruit with a heavy but not overly objectionable trace of sweet new oak. Could easily be mistaken for a Napa Merlot. 14.5% alcohol.

2008 Heumann Cabernet Franc, VillĂĄny
Medium ruby in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and plum. In the mouth flavors of cherry and cedar mix with powdery tannins. Notes of cocoa powder and plum linger on the long finish. Somewhat high toned, but rich and pleasurable. Good acidity. 15.01% alcohol.

2009 Juhåsz Testvérek Pincészete "Grand Selection" Cabernet Sauvignon, Eger
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry, tobacco, and a hint of green bell pepper. In the mouth, the wine tastes of cherry, cedar, and tobacco with well integrated new oak. Drying tannins, but good acidity and clean clear fruit. Tasty. 13,5% alcohol.

2009 Konyåri Pince "Loliense vörös" Red Blend, Balatonboglår
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of rich, sweet cherry fruit. In the mouth cherry and cassis fruit have a slightly sweet aspect and a tangy finish. Powdery tannins are quite supple and well done, and the oak is well integrated. The only issue I have with this wine is some alcoholic heat on the finish. Otherwise quite a well done wine. A blend of 54% merlot, 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 11% Cabernet Franc. 14.22% alcohol.

2009 Liszkay MihĂĄly BorĂĄszat Cabernet Franc, BalatonfĂŒred-Csopak
Dark ruby in color, this wine smells of green bell pepper and cherry fruit with a hint of cedar. In the mouth lovely cherry and plum fruit mix with cedar and leather notes. Leathery tannins wrap around the edges of the wine. Good acidity and length. 13.92% alcohol.

2008 Sauska "Cuvée 7 Siklós" Red Blend, Villåny
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cassis and black cherry. In the mouth the fruit is quite pretty, with rich black cherry and cassis flavors, decent acidity, but unfortunately a fairly sweet character. Quite ripe and rich, but ultimately a bit overdone. 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, 33% Merlot. 14.82% alcohol.

2007 Sauska "Villåny Cuvée 5" Red Blend, Villåny
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of espresso, tobacco, and sweet dark cherry. In the mouth the wine has a rich cherry quality, with sweet oak and a hint of sweetness in the fruit. The tannins have drying quality but the wine has good acidity. 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 40% Merlot. 15.31% alcohol.

2009 St. Andrea "Hangåcs Egri Bikavér Superior" Red Blend, Eger
Dark garnet in the glass this wine smells of green bell pepper and dark cherry fruit. In the mouth quite pretty black cherry and earth flavors mix with a blanket of suede-like tannins and good acidity. Nice length and a pleasing floral note lingering in the finish. A blend of 41% Kekfrancos, 25% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, and 13% Pinot Noir. 14.38% alcohol.

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2008 Chateau Teleki VillĂĄny Cabernet Sauvignon, VillĂĄny
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of plum and black cherry. In the mouth rich ark plum and cherry flavors have just a tinge of eucalyptus on the finish. Drying tannins take away a bit from quite tasty fruit. Decent acidity. 14.5% alcohol.

2009 Gajdos Pincészet "Egri Bikavér" Red Blend, Eger
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of green olives and black cherries and sweet oak. In the mouth there's a nice balance between black olive savoriness and black cherry fruit, with a significant component of new oak. The oak is well integrated but slightly dominant, especially in the finish. Nice body, though. A blend of 25% Blauburger, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 50% Kekfrancos. 13.5% alcohol.

2009 GĂŒnzer TamĂĄs PincĂ©szete Syrah, VillĂĄny
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of tinned black olives and chocolate. In the mouth that savory black olive character continues, with cassis and blackberry flavors that have wonderful depth and texture to them. Powdery, mouth coating tannins linger through the finish with the olive character. My only complaint about this wine is its relative lack of acidity. 14.5% alcohol.

2009 Jekl Pincészet "Il Primo" Cabernet Franc, Villåny
Dark ruby in the glass, this wine smells of new oak and dark cherry. In the mouth the wine offers cherry with a nice mineral undercurrent, and fairly well integrated new oak. Drying tannins linger with the distinct flavor of sweet new oak. Good acidity and quite a nice minerality. 15% alcohol.

2009 Kreinbacher Syrah, Nagy-SomlĂł
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of peppery bergamot and cassis fruit. In the mouth, cassis and caramel flavors suggest new oak, but the wood is fairly well integrated. The wine has a tiny bit of heat in the finish. Decent acidity. 14% alcohol.

2009 MĂ©szĂĄros PĂĄl BorhĂĄz Ă©s Pince "Hidaspetre Reserve" Cabernet Franc, SzekszĂĄrd
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cabbage and green bell pepper, in the mouth savory cherry and leather flavors mix with vegetal notes. Fine grained tannins. 14.5% alcohol.

2009 Pannonhalmi Apåtsågi Pincészet "Infusio" Red Blend, Pannonhalma
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of burnt match heads and oak. In the mouth cherry and cola flavors mix with tobacco and espresso notes. Heavy oak. Decent acidity and restrained, supple tannins round out the package. Reasonable finish. A blend of cabernet franc and merlot. 14.5% alcohol.

2009 Posta BorhĂĄz Kadarka, SzekszĂĄrd
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black cherry and mulberries. In the mouth black cherry and cedar flavors have a tangy sour cherry note. Delicate acidity and fine grained, faint tannins. Well made wine that doesn't have a lot of complexity, but is still tasty. 13.39% alcohol.

2010 Sauska KĂ©kfrankos, VillĂĄny
Medium to dark purple in the glass, this wine smells faintly of cassis and black cherry. In the mouth the wine is quite subdued, with earthy notes of black cherry, sour cherry, and cassis. There's something odd for me about these flavors which seem quite faint and unobtrusive. But, having said that, there's nothing wrong with them. 13.12% alcohol.

2008 Söptei PincĂ©szet Merlot, BalatonfĂŒred-Csopak
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dark chocolate and cherries, with sweet oak high notes. In the mouth flavors of cherry, chocolate, and new oak are nicely integrated and smooth. Clean, with fine grained tannins. Slightly tart finish. 14% alcohol.

2009 St. Andrea "Áldås Egri Bikavér" Red Blend, Eger
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dark cherry and wet dirt. In the mouth flavors of dark earth and wet cherry linger with leather and a hint of sour cherry in the finish. Broad and expansive with leathery tannins and decent acidity. A blend of 47% Kekfrancos, 27% Merlot, and 26% Cabernet Franc. 13.78% alcohol.

2007 Takler "Regnum" Red Blend, SzekszĂĄrd
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of black olives and stewed black cherries. In the mouth, black olive and black cherry fruit blend with a rich, thick blanket of tannins. The tannins linger heavy through the finish with a hint of sweet oak. A massive wine, and perhaps too heavy handed, but the savoriness makes it a bit distinct. A blend of 30% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Kekfrancos. 15.5% alcohol.

2009 TarjĂĄnyi Pince Kft. Shiraz, Eger
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine has a smoky cassis and white pepper aromas. In the mouth cassis and blackberry flavors mix with bright acidity and good length. Powdery tannins hang back and add complexity to the wine. Rich and jammy. 14% alcohol.

2007 Vylyan "MandolĂĄs" Cabernet Franc, VillĂĄny
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of rich cherry and chocolate. In the mouth bright cherry and cola fruit offer a wonderful flavor profile, and decent acidity balances a thick blanket of tannins. This wine would be pretty were it not for a distinct sweetness that is left on the palate and lack of a mid-palate. I prefer my wines with less residual sugar. 15.06% alcohol.

RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 8 AND 8.5
2008 Chateau Teleki VillĂĄny Cabernet Franc, VillĂĄny
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of grapey cassis and blueberry aromas. In the mouth cassis and blueberry flavors mix with stiff drying tannins. Decent acidity, but my mouth is having all the moisture sucked out of it. 14% alcohol.

2009 Eszterbauer BorĂĄszat "Tivald" Cabernet Sauvignon, SzekszĂĄrd
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of a bit of VA along with rich dark cherry fruit. In the mouth the wine lacks some acidity, making the flavors of dark cherry a bit flabby and mushy, as thick drying tannins coat the mouth. 15% alcohol.

2009 Heimann "Barbår Cuvée" Merlot, Szekszård
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of espresso and chocolate, with hints of red fruit poking through. In the mouth a core of cassis and black cherry fruit mixes with new oak and is surrounded by drying tannins. Slightly sweet. Decent acidity. A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Tannat, and Kekfrankos. 14.5% alcohol.

2008 Ikon Boråszat "Tulipån" Red Blend, Balatonboglåri Borvidék
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of espresso and chocolate covered cherries. In the mouth, rich cherry and plum fruit that has a slightly sweet cast to it is quite overwhelmed with new oak. Drying oak tannins dominate the finish in a fairly unpleasant way. Not enough acidity. A blend of 40% Merlot, 35% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14.34% alcohol.

2008 Liszkay MihĂĄly BorĂĄszat Cabernet Sauvignon , BalatonfĂŒred-Csopak
Dark ruby in color, this wine smells of espresso and sulfur. In the mouth flavors of graphite, cherry cola, and wet earth mix with nice acidity. This tastes like an older wine than it is. The oak is fairly strong in the wine, and lingers through the finish. Well made, though. 13.83% alcohol.

2009 Mészåros Pål Borhåz és pince "Bikavér Reserve" Red Blend, Szekszård
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dark chocolate and vinyl. In the mouth dark cherry and chocolate flavors mix with earthy notes and a slight bitter woodiness. New oak is also clearly present. Decent acidity and length. A blend of 40% Kekfrancos, 10% Kadarka, 20% Merlot, and 30% Cabernet Franc. 14% alcohol.

2009 Posta BorhĂĄz "Cabernet Franc" Cabernet Franc, SzekszĂĄrd
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and prunes. In the mouth the wine has a distinct sweetness, but rich flavors of black cherry, plum and chocolate. Good acidity, nice length, but a tiny bit of heat on the finish. 15.84% alcohol.

2007 Sebestyén Pince "Grådius Cuvée" Red Blend, Szekszård
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dark cherry, sweet new oak, and cedar. In the mouth sweet dark cherry fruit mixes with new oak and peanut-butter-thick tannins, which dominate the finish, which has notes of black tea. The tannins are so massive in this wine they get in the way of the fruit. 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc. 15.5% alcohol.

2008 Tringa "Phaeton" Red Blend, SzekszĂĄrd
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry fruit with hints of dark chocolate. In the mouth the wine offers a very nice black olive savoriness mixed with cherry and plum, though the mid-palate is a little hollow, and the finish short. Drying tannins are the primary oak presence. 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. 15.2% alcohol.

2007 Vida "Hidaspetre" kékfrankos, Szekszård
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of leather and cassis and black cherry. In the mouth the wine offers black cherry and sour cherry. Earthy notes rumble along under the flavors and a tangy raspberry note lingers through the finish. 13.22% alcohol.

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2008 Bock BorĂĄszat Kft. "Jammertal Selection" Cabernet Sauvignon, VillĂĄny
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of wood smoke and graphite with sweet oak. In the mouth creamy flavors of caramel, cherry, black cherry and cola mix with powdery tannins. The fruit is a bit of dried out. Somewhat blocky. 14.35% alcohol.

2009 Bolyki Pincészet Cabernet Franc, Eger
Dark garnet in the glass this wine has a classic green bell pepper and cherry nose. In the mouth the wine offers bright cherry and plum flavors with a hint of green bell pepper. Thick tacky tannins have a drying quality and the oak is too present. Lacks much of a finish. The fruit is quite pure though. 13.5% alcohol.

2009 Cezar Winery Kft. "Reserve" Syrah, Zala
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of prunes and chocolate. In the mouth the wine offers dried fruit and chocolate flavors, with less acidity than I would like. The wine is well made, but generally overripe for my tastes. Mouth-coating tannins, and a hint of sweetness. 13.4% alcohol.

2008 CsutorĂĄs Nagyanyag "Nagyanyag" Red Blend, Eger
Light garnet in the glass, this wine smells of unusual, pungent floral notes with underlying red fruit. In the mouth the wine has a detergent / fabric softener note that is the only odd part of an otherwise cherry, earthy wine with nice texture. 50% Pinot Noir, 50% Menoir (aka Medoc Noir). 13.5% alcohol.

2008 Eger Korona BorhĂĄz "Selection" KĂ©kfrankos, Eger
Medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sweet black cherry. In the mouth black cherry fruit that is quite sweet predominates, with bright acidity, but sweet vanilla of oak overwhelms the fruit. Mulling spices. Drying, tacky tannins. 13.7% alcohol.

2008 Első Magyar BorhĂĄz - Szeremley Birtok Kft. Syrah, Badacsony
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this wine smells of sauerkraut, wet wood, and a hint of red fruit. In the mouth, cherry and leather and cedar flavors swirl with powdery tannins. Decent acidity and a somewhat unusual sour tanginess that has a cabbage quality. 13.1% alcohol.

2009 Eszterbauer BorĂĄszat ""TĂŒke" SzekszĂĄrd BikavĂ©r" Red Blend, SzekszĂĄrd
Dark garnet in color, this wine smells of wet earth, leather, and hints of mulberry and cassis fruit. In the mouth slightly candied flavors of cherry and mulberry mix with strong new oak and drying peanut buttery tannins. 42% Kekfrankos, 18% Cabernet Franc, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 10% Pinot Noir, 4% Kadarka. 14.5% alcohol.

2009 GaramvĂĄri Szőlőbirtok "Lellysium CuvĂ©e" Red Blend, BalatonboglĂĄri BorvidĂ©k
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dark chocolate and black cherry. In the mouth somewhat tight flavors of cherry, white pepper, and cassis mix under a stiff roof of oak. The wine isn't integrated well, and feels disjointed. 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah, 20% Merlot 13% alcohol.

2009 Janus Syrah, VillĂĄny
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of espresso and dark chocolate, which is to say, mostly new oak. In the mouth dark cassis and cherry fruit takes on a coffee and chocolate character that leans towards caramel on the finish. Too confected for my tastes. Hint of sweetness. Low acid. 14.4% alcohol.

2009 TarjĂĄnyi Pince Eger KĂ©kfrankos, Eger
Very dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of smoky new oak. In the mouth, flavors of dark cherry and cedar are somewhat overwhelmed by new oak. Good acidity, nice texture, and a bit of heat on the finish. This would have been a very pretty wine if it hadn't been killed with new oak. 14% alcohol.

RED WINES WITH A SCORE BETWEEN 7.5 AND 8
2009 Cezar Winery Kft. "Reserve" Malbec, Zala
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of new oak and a hint of something odd - plasticky. In the mouth flavors of cassis and cherry are swathed in oak which leaves drying tannins in the finish that seem to overwhelm the fruit. 12.9% alcohol.

2009 CsutorĂĄs KerekszilvĂĄs D?lő "Egri BikavĂ©r" Red Blend, Eger
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of peat and smoky cabbage. In the mouth bitter cherry, wet dirt, and notes of vegetal quality mean that this is a hard wine to like. Nicely textured though, with powdery tannins. 50% Kekfrancos, 30% Cabernet Franc, 20% Pinot Noir. 14% alcohol.

2009 Figula PincĂ©szet "Tihanyi" Cabernet Franc, BalatonfĂŒredi-csopak
Medium to dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of cherry and strawberry. In the mouth it has a sweet aspect to it, with quite bright juicy fruit, but not much complexity to back it up. Overly sweet and jammy. Unfortunately so, as the fruit is quite pretty. 13.5% alcoh

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Tags: wine, alcohol, mouth, smell
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