February 1st is International Furmint Day!
The holiday was set on the international calendar in 2017. Before that, in Hungary, they had celebrated “Furmint February” (so really, feel free to celebrate all month). Dániel Kézdy, a Hungarian wine expert, organized Furmint February events and then began International Furmint Day to bring global attention to this grape!
What is Furmint? You might be more familiar with the wine “Tokaji Aszú,” one of the world’s oldest sweet wines made from this grape in Hungary. This grape is also used to create a dry wine that is light and more vibrant than the sweet Tokaji.
If you happen to love Tokaji Aszú, it gets its own holiday in December (watch for that later this year!)
Want some geeky details on this grape?
- The clusters are large and have lots of dense berries (that is what grapes are called in the wine world…they are actually clusters of grape berries, right?).
- This grape ripens late and is super susceptible to botrytis, a grey mold that, in this case, is a good thing, as it allows them to make the luscious Tokaji Aszú.
- One of its parents is Gouais Blanc, making it a sibling to Chardonnay, Gamay, Riesling, and a bunch of others.
- You can also find this grape in Austria (where it is called Mosler), Croatia (where they call it Moslavac), Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.
- This grape has mutations and comes in many colors.
- It’s a late-ripening grape harvested in September for dry wines and after October for sweet wines.
- In Austria, it is grown in Rust, and they make both dry and sweet wines from it. Including the Ausbruch sweet wine Ruster Ausburch – a lusciously sweet wine
- It is often blended with Harslevelu and Muscat Blanc Petits Grains.
- As it ages, it gets copper tones.
While it is Primarily found in Hungary, made into a dry wine in Somló and a sweet wine in Tokaji, there is quite a bit being grown in Austria, especially in Burgenland.
It has roamed further afield also. When we visited Syncline Winery in Washington’s Columbia Gorge AVA, they had planted Furmint.
When we visited Syncline Winery in Washington’s Columbia Gorge AVA, they had planted Furmint.
Cool Hungarian words!
Puttonyos = number of hod of Aszú grapes in a barrel of wine (originally)
Now, the number of grams of residual sugar in a Tokaji Aszú wine.
Hod = (this was a new one for me!) A hod is a 25 kg basket used to harvest the Aszú berries (grapes)
How Tokaji Aszú is made
The sweet, concentrated botrytized grapes are added to “murci” (fermenting grape must) to soak then this is pressed into the wine. So…the number of Puttonyos would tell you how many baskets of these botrytized grapes were added to the wine.
Now, this has been simplified to grams per liter of residual sugar. So 3 Puttonyos is 60 g/L, increasing by 30 g/L for each Puttonyos.
What does Furmint taste like?
You can expect notes of Meyer lemon, ginger, green apple, pear, lime peel, and smoke in dry versions.
In sweet Furmint, you’ll get apricot, marzipan, black tea, honey and spice.
You choose! Go dry or sweet or both! But this is the day to search and find a Furmint!
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Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
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