Hungary has been making wine for thousands
of years. Over the course of a thousand years, there
will be lots of ups and downs. The 20th century was more downs but communism
and the world wars are long gone now. 30 years ago, Hungary and Hungarian winemaking
started a new chapter. My name is Gabor Banfalvi and I’m one of
the co-founders and co-owners of Taste Hungary and the Tasting Table. We created our own space in Budapest, the Tasting Table.
We hold two classes every day. The master class would include 8 glasses of
wine, a lot of education on Hungarian wine regions and wine history.
Hungary has 22 wine regions. Our word for wine is ‘bor’.
That means that the Romans didn’t teach us how to make wine, we already knew what
wine was. Typically, we go to three wineries on a day
trip. To get to Tokaj is about two and a half hours.
The first one would be a visit to a larger establishment.
These typically hand-carved, centuries old wine cellars are very unique to the region.
The Tokaj region got its fame from the sweet wines back in the mid 16th century.
Today it’s a special coexistence of climate, soil and tradition.
The wine is golden in colour, the wine has this gold flavour profile.
To understand Tokaj you have to picture yourself in a world where sweetness is a luxury and
that was the 1700s. Sweetness was only from honey and ripe fruits.
Tokaj was the source of the wine for the Pope, the wine for the kings, the wine for the queens.
After the first tasting, we would have lunch at a family owned winery. The third tasting would typically be at a very small winery still making very top quality
wines. The possibilities here are limitless because
we have the native grape, the furmint. It’s a grape that can produce wonderful
dry wines, wonderful singular vineyard wines expressing the terroir.
It has richness. It’s not just a white wine that’s fresh
and needs to be drunk young but it’s a wine that you can age.
It’s a wine that collectors can be excited about.
People felt like they were really immersed into our culture, learnt a lot and discovered
something that was totally obscure to them before.