Gastronomy and Dry Furmints: A Match Made in Heaven
It’s a well-known fact that a key structural element of pairing wine with food is the naturally occurring acidity in the drink. For instance, a well-made sparkling wine (or better yet, Champagne) typically stands up well as a complement to most dishes, including those on fine dining menus.
Luckily, Hungarian Furmints are truly blessed in this regard. Annual grape yields include at least 6-7g/L of natural acids which are well-preserved throughout the winemaking process. In fact, high acidity is a distinguishing characteristic of the terroirs of Tokaj and Csopak (for more information, see the “Terroir” articles).
Here’s a quick anecdote to bolster my case: a few years ago, I ordered oysters at London’s renowned Wright Brothers – Borough Market, and requested Furmint as an accompaniment. I was met with curious looks and alternate recommendations for Muscadet Sevre et Maine or Champagne. Naturally, I stuck to my conviction that Furmint is as good – or even better – a pairing as these wines. The staff challenged me to prove my point, and we bet: the stakes were a dozen oysters. You know how they say Hungarians are so resourceful they manage to exit a revolving door ahead of you even if you entered first? Well, I put this trait to good use and quickly grabbed a nice bottle of Furmint at Vinopolis next door – then proceeded to thoroughly enjoy my free oysters, of course!
Thus began my journey of experimenting with Furmint and seafood pairings, which naturally also included sushi. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the incredible flavors of Furmint stood up well to the saltiness of soy sauce and wasabi’s spice. I also discovered that smoked It’s a well-known fact that a key structural element of pairing wine with food is the naturally occurring acidity in the drink. For instance, a well-made sparkling wine (or better yet, Champagne) typically stands up well as a complement to most dishes, including those on fine dining menus. 25 seafood demanded intense wines with pronounced oaking, such as Majoros Deák Furmint 2013, Holdvölgy Vision 2013, or even Erzsébet Zafír 2012. Wine drinkers who prefer their fish cooked fill find Furmint harmonizing well with almost all roasted or grilled varieties.
Next, I moved on to exploring Frumint as an accompaniment to Italian cuisine. I found that white, creamy sauces lent themselves to Furmint best while tomato-based dishes tended to overpower Furmint’s characteristic flavors. As noted earlier, seafood dishes worked remarkably well, but chicken- or small game-based pasta was equally successful. A few recommendations: for lighter fare, try Kvaszinger Winery Estate Furmint 2013, and choose Béres Lőcse Furmint 2011 for heavier dishes with beef or large game.
And how could I forget the modern mainstays of culinary entertainment: grilling and BBQ? The longstanding rule, of course, is to drink wine that matches the color of the dish: whites with chicken and turkey, and reds with pork and beef. I respectfully disagree, especially with the second part of this dictum as it relates to Furmint. No matter if you roast or charcoal-grill your steak and chops, you will find complex Furmints with highly concentrated flavors to be excellent pairings. In particular, I recommend Barta Öreg Király Furmint 2012 or Szent Donát Márga Furmint 2013.
A cheese course will benefit from choosing wines according to flavor intensity. Try a mild Gouda with Béres Estate Furmint 2014, or a tangy Apenzeller with Holdvölgy Vision 2013.
And finally, when it comes to desserts, the clear choice are late-harvest wines. These are typically rich in sugars (often above 100g/L) and as such, stand up well to sweet treats. A traditional creamy mille-feuille, for instance, would pair beautifully with Basilicus Furmint Szamorodni 2012 while a cheesecake with Barta Furmint Szamorodni 2013 could be truly memorable. For less sweet offerings, such as key lime pie or plain cheesecake with lemon or lime sauce, have your guests take a chance on the dry Degenfeld Furmint Zomborka 2013 for a memorable culinary surprise.
I encourage you to experiment with Furmint and food pairings as I strongly believe you’ll be hard-pressed to find a less-than-ideal match from FurmintUSA’s wine portfolio.
And why not enjoy our Furmints all on their own: have a simple glass or two in in the company of good friends, or throw a Furmint party to share the gift of Hungarian Furmint with others. Introduce your father-in-law (or, even better, your mother-in-law) to the joys Furmint has to offer, surprise a wine-loving friend, or gild a romantic night at home with a few bottles.
Let’s drink to our health (and try that in Hungarian: “egészségükre!”) – and here’s to hoping you’ll enjoy many glasses from FurmintUSA in the years to come.