A Soul-Satisfying Hungarian Gem
We may have found the Holy Grail — the Holy Grail of wine, of course.
It's a Hungarian treat: Lenkey’s 2011 “Human” Hárslevelű.
It's a wine to drink now, but it's also something we can lay down and enjoy over many years. It's a soul-satisfying classic. (After all, Tokaj was the first wine region to have its rules and regulations codified.) But it could also be considered a quirky discovery from a lesser-known region.
Géza Lenkey, vigneron of Tokaj estate Lenkey Pincészet, is an ambitious producer who uses the region’s unique volcanic terroir and indigenous grapes to produce incredible wines. While he does produce a few wines in the classic ‘sweet’ Tokaji style, Lenkey’s focus is on making age-worthy dry whites with dazzling complexity.
The 2011 Human Hárslevelű fits this description to a ‘T’. Old enough to start showing off its complexity, but concentrated and structured enough to withstand another few years in your cellar, it’s effusively aromatic and more than a bit wild, with swirling notes of crème brûlée, petrol, apples and smoke. Anyone who appreciates mature dry Rielsing, Chenin Blanc, or Arinto will find much to love here.
Making dry wine in Tokaj sounds new, but is actually just a twist on the famous Tokaj Aszu process. Those sweet wines are made by adding ultra-ripe botrytized grapes to an already finished dry white. So these "newfangled" wines allow the winemakers to apply all they know about their vines and terroirs to a dry wine that can be appreciated on its own, rather than going through the second step to become a dessert wine.
At less than $30, it's a no-brainer for the reasonable cellars out there. Frankly, it’s hard to imagine a better opportunity to get acquainted with one of wine’s more exciting producers.