The Wine Curmudgeon regularly gets emails offering samples from less well-known parts of the world; my reply, always, is that if the wine isn’t for sale in the U.S., it doesn’t do me much good to review it. So imagine my surprise when the Pajzos Furmint, a Hungarian wine, was at a Dallas retailer.
Hungarian wine still isn’t widely available here, even though the country’s producers have been trying to re-establish their industry for 30 years. I’ll taste it every once in a while while judging a competition, usually a dessert wine, and something called Bulls Blood may be on a bottom store shelf, dusty and abandoned.
But a dry white table wine made with the country’s trademark furmint grape? Almost never, which is where the Pajzos Furmint ($10, purchased, 13%) comes in. I bought it not because I thought it would be worth drinking, but because it was supposed to be a dry table wine made with furmint. That’s a big deal if you do what I do, and sometimes, it’s worth suffering for your art.
But I didn’t suffer. The Pajzos Furmint, from the Tokaji region (a rocky, hilly speck in the Hungarian northeast near Ukraine) was everything a great cheap white wine should be: clean, fresh, and varietally correct. It had spice (white pepper?), apricot fruit, and even some nuttiness (almonds?). Missing was any harshness, unripe fruit, or lingering sweetness that wines from less known regions often have.
Highly recommended, and a candidate for the 2017 $10 Hall of Fame. This is a wine for spring salads or sipping on a pleasant afternoon as the temperatures get warmer.