In 2012, when I was invited to be a judge for Hungary’s Pannonhalma Wine Awards , my experience with Hungarian wines was limited. I had only enjoyed a few Tokaji Aszú dessert wines, and a taste of dry Furmint courtesy of an adventurous sommelier in New York. I accepted the invitation to judge with the hopes of getting a quick education in what the country was capable of doing, and that’s exactly what I experienced while tasting a few hundred wines over a couple of days.
At one point on the afternoon of the first day of tasting, a wine was poured into my glass that resembled none of the previous wines. It smelled like pollen and tasted like sunshine filtered through a clean mountain stream. It made me smile, and even giggle. I almost certainly dropped the f-bomb with glee.
One of the greatest pleasures of exploring the world of wine comes in the form of a wine that, from out of the blue, eclipses the world around you — shrinks your attention to the immediacy of what is in your glass — and makes the fireworks go off on your palate.
That’s what my first taste of Juhfark did to me, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. Had I been more impulsive, and less considerate of the work that had gone into planning the itinerary that was to follow the competition, I would have immediately headed off to find out where this wine came from and how many more like it existed in the world.”
Alder Yarrow, about Somloi Apatsagi Pince’s Juhfark wine
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