Look Beyond the Label

Some wine labels entice you, they tempt you, they just shout ‘buy me’ at you. I blogged about such a bottle a few weeks ago – a wine I bought simply because I was attracted and intrigued by its label. Others – well, take the label pictured above. It’s quite stylish but it doesn’t tell you much: no obvious sign of where the wine comes from nor, unless you happen to recognise the name ‘Furmint’, what the grape variety is. As a result, it would be easy to leave on the shelf and look for something more obviously appealing. But that would be a shame as you would be missing a delightful, full-flavoured white from Hungary made with that country’s high quality native variety, Furmint.
We don’t see many wines from Hungary exported these days but, delving back into history, they produced the most sought-after wine in the Noble Courts across Europe. The wonderful, sweet Tokaji was the first choice of both the Tsars of Russia and Louis XIV of France (who called it the “Wine of kings, king of wines”). It’s still made today in the region from which it takes its name, using a unique production process and still including the Furmint variety as part of the blend.
But, back to our – very different – Furmint, made by Tornai and available from Corks of Cotham at £12.99. It isn’t a dessert wine although it’s just a touch off-dry and made, not in the Tokaji region, but much further west in Nagy-Somló not far from the Austrian border. It’s a lovely, tangy, rich, mouth-filling wine with hints of spice and lemon peel and really good length. The fruit is pure and clean and the wine is unoaked. Although fine to drink on its own, this is really a food wine: anything full-flavoured and, perhaps, a bit spicy would be best.
All in all, a delicious, good value white wine but, unless customers are willing to look beyond the label, how many will ever know what they’re missing?