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Austro-Hungarian

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Somló 2015, Somlowhite, Meinklang ($24.55, private import, 12 bottles/case)
A blend of Hárslevelü (50%), Juhfark (20%), Olaszrizling (20%) and Furmint (10%) from organically and biodynamically farmed vines grown at the base of the Somló (pronounced shom-low) volcano in southwest Hungary, not far from the Austrian border. The region’s basalt is weathered and topped with loess and light sand deposits, producing a fertile soil. The winemaking – which takes place at the estate’s Burgenland winery on the Austrian side of the border – is non-interventionist, with no additions except, possibly, a tiny squirt of sulphur at bottling. Screwcapped. 12% ABV. Quebec agent: La QV.
Complex nose: chalky minerals, white peach, lemon/lime zest, quince, gooseberry, straw. A sip reveals a wine with a slightly oily texture, spiced quince, apple and pear flavours, a soft buzz of acidity, threads of minerals and herbs and a white peppery sensation of spicy heat. It’s quite dry, especially on the long finish with its intriguing sour/bitter edge. The bottle opened at home seemed a tad less fiery – though no less enjoyable – than the sample tasted at the Salon des vins d’importation privée. Great with cabbage rolls made from fermented cabbage and Hungarian sausage. (Buy again? Gladly.)

Meinklang makes affordably priced natural wines that are always stable, always clean and always loveable. The estate is one of the most ecological and sustainable in the world. Its packaging is fun. Why, then, are this and the other wines in the line (Grüner Veltliner, Blaufränkisch, Blauburgunder, Zweigelt, Saint Laurent, etc.) not available at the SAQ?

By the way, also poured at the Salon VIP were two Meinklang wines aged in 900-litre concrete eggs: Konkret white (Traminer, I think) and red (Sankt Laurent). Amazing, especially the red. The good news is that La QV say they’re going to start bringing in some of the higher-end Meinklang bottlings, including the Konkret cuvées, some of the stunning monovarietal Hungarian whites and oddities like the Graupert (“unkempt”) Pinot Gris and Zweigelt, which are made from grapes from unpruned, untrained vines.

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Written by carswell

December 23, 2016 at 13:13

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