A life-changing furmint
2016 Garten Eden This producer stands out as making the finest wines from the furmint grape that I have ever tasted, says Matthew Jukes.
2016 Garten Eden, Furmint, Michael Wenzel, Rust, Burgenland, Austria £73, reduced to £64 each by the case, TheGoodWineShop.co.uk; £64 per bottle at Newcomer Wines, Newcomerwines.com,020-7249 2177, email: email@example.com.
Newcomer Wines' recent tasting, focusing on top-flight central European estates, was an eye-opener. Peter Honegger, the palate behind this pioneering company, favours wines from the natural side of the fence, but there were enough examples of epic wines that didn't seem to me to be too funky or dank. One particular producer stood out as making the finest wines from the furmint grape that I have ever tasted.
Michael Wenzel's father, Robert, started bringing furmint cuttings over the border from Hungary in the 1980s to reintroduce it into the local winemaking culture. Grown organically on quartz, mica and gneiss soils, these wines are electrifying. Before I launch into a suite of whites, Wenzel's 2016 Aus Dem Kalk Blaufrankisch (£21, Newcomer Wines) benefits from the inclusion of 20% whole bunches in the mix and it is a beautifully exotic interpretation of this haunting red grape.
If the 2016 Furmint "Unfiltriert" (£28, The Good Wine Shop) was the only white on show I'd have been satisfied. It is unfiltered, grippy, perfumed and vital. The 2016 Kvarc Furmint (£31, Newcomer Wines) adds gravitas and length, while fleshing out the palate, too. The tiny Garten Eden site was planted a decade ago with centenarian cuttings and this wine is nothing short of life-changing. The red quartz soils, depicted on the label, give rise to the most complex and mesmerising dry furmint I have ever tasted.
Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition's Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).