So the 2012 Pannon Wine Challenge is over. Through a stringent 3-tier procedure nine judges selected this year’s best Hungarian wines. The top trophy winner is, yet again, a sweet Tokaji Aszú: the 2006 Oremus 5 puttonyos. It’s a classic Tokaj in the tense acidic structured style that Oremus is renowned for. In the final ballot Oremus defeated (after a tie and an extra round of voting) Zoltán Demeter’s 2008 Eszter (nominally a late harvest Tokaj but actually sweeter than Oremus).
The top dry(ish) white wine is a surprise; a Juhfark from Slovakia, made by the Hungarian Bott Frigyes family (according to a slightly disturbing fashion of including all pre-1918 territories in Hungarian wine regions). Top red wines include St. Andrea’s 2009 Hangács, voted best Bikavér and yet another trophy for this stellar winery (they won the Bikavér trophy last year too), and another surprise, the 2009 Kreinbacher Syrah from Somló, a 99% white wine region.
The latter medal confirmed the excellent performance of Syrah, of which at least two more deserved gold medals in my book. Raw arithmetics also indicate a relative defeat for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc (totalling only 3 wines in the top 17) as well as the region of Villány (3), while Kadarka, Kékfrankos and Egri Bikavér snapped up more statistical awards (7) even though they were represented by a smaller number of wines. Merlot can console itself with the decent performance of red blends where it often accounts for between 40 and 70%.
On the white wine front Hárslevelű impressed more than Furmint (see here) although the latter received the top ‘Good Value’ awards for wines that retail below 7€ (Tokaji Kereskedőház Késői Arany 2010). Olaszrizling fared moderately well but offered no stand-outs, contrarily to Juhfark which snapped up two medals.
I’ll look more in-depth into these results soon and now I’m off to the gala presentation of winners and a seminar shared with leading US blogger Alder Yarrow, themed ‘Inspiring Wines’ where I’ll present a Hárslevelű and two Syrahs including one I didn’t like, actually. More on this later.
I am paid to work as a juror at the Pannon Wine Challenge and my flights, accommodation and evening programme are paid for by the organisers.