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A Stunning, Perfectly Mature Hungarian Duo from Lenkey

Stylized image of Lenkey bottles

Dry Tokaji may be obscure today, but we think it’s poised for a breakthrough. The best examples are simply too good, too interesting, and too age-worthy to be ignored much longer.

And it’s hard to think of better examples to hold up than these two stunningly complex 2006 library bottlings from the cellar of Geza Lenkey. Both come from single vineyards in the village of Mád. The major difference is grape variety: one is made from Furmint, the other Hárslevelű.

They’re often blended together, because they complement each other well. But each is certainly worthy of a starring role. Furmint is known for producing racy, firm, and very mineral-expressive wines; it's often compared to Riesling by wine critics. Hárslevelű, still electric but a little softer and richer in fruit expression, could easily be mistaken for Chenin Blanc in a blind tasting. Both can make fabulous, long-lived wines.

Because both wines come from “1st class”-designated vineyards, it’s tempting to talk about Tokaj’s vineyard classification, which was the first of its kind, well before Bordeaux or Burgundy had such a thing. But there’s not enough space for that here. Just know that, as in Burgundy, some villages have better reputations than others, and Mád is the most celebrated, making it sort of the Puligny-Montrachet or Meursault of Tokaj.

The Hárslevelű comes from the south-facing Kishegy vineyard, where the soil is mostly red clay. It's waxy, wild and spicy wine, with a mind-melting amalgam of flavors, like baked apple, marzipan, fresh tobacco leaf, and dried herbs.

The Furmint comprises a few blocks within Holdvölgy, which has a greater diversity of soil and exposition than Kishegy. It’s also an incredibly complex wine, but more focused and brisk than the Kishegy, tasting of lemon, ginger, apple and beeswax. There’s also a very strong mineral signature here, which amplifies on the finish.

Together, they make for an outrageously fun side-by-side tasting. What an awesome way to experience dry Tokaji’s complexity and age-worthiness, and also to understand the personalities of Tokaj’s two main grapes! And, considering the pedigree of the wines and their perfect maturity and provenance, we think these wines are amazing values.

Lenkey Pinceszet, Kishegy Harslevelu, 2006 $45.99

Lenkey Pinceszet, Holdvolgy Furmint, 2006 $45.99


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