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Baby, I’m back!

Baby, I’m back!

Tuzko Tolnai Kékfrankos 2015

Tuzko Tolnai Kékfrankos 2015
Tolna, Hungary
$18.95

I’m back! Did you miss me? I know it’s been awhile, but I spent the last year and a bit gestating a baby, then caring for that baby. I’m still, you know, taking care of him. But now that he’s almost 7 months old (how?!), I can get back to things I love. Like telling you about wine.

Getting back into wine after a 9-month mostly hiatus has been interesting. My palate hasn’t necessarily changed, but I’m definitely more interested in beer than I used to be and I have less tolerance for wines I don’t like. And a lower tolerance in general. So I have to make every sip count.

I’ve also been going through my cellar more than buying new wines, so I’ve had less to tell you about. But all that changes now with this bottle. It’s from the March 2 Vintages release, so there’s still plenty left on shelves and I think you should try it.

But what it is? Glad you asked.

It’s an an unusual wine from an unusual place: a Kékfrankos from Hungary. Yes, Hungary makes wine (although we see very little of it in Ontario — and what we do see often isn’t very good). In fact, Hungary is one of the oldest wine-making countries and they make everything from sweet to dry wines that pair beautifully with food. They’re famous for the lusciously sweet Tokaj, made from botrytised grapes, and Bull’s Blood, which contains no blood at all.

Kékfrankos, also known as Blaufränkisch (in Austria) and Lemberger (in Germany and North America), is at the heart of a lot of Hungarian reds. It’s one of the main grapes in Bull’s Blood and is grown across the country. Here it stands on its own, a high-acid delight that would make any schnitzel sing (although I had it with rotisserie chicken, an episode of Brooklyn 99, and an early bedtime). It’s full of cherry berry notes, floral aromas, and a spicy savoury somethingness that reminded me of both Barbera and Gamay (no real surprise there, because it shares a parent with Gamay).

It’s also a steal at just $18.95.

So, go out and grab a bottle. It’s really delicious and easy to drink (even on day two after forgetting to recork it properly, whoops!). And it will definitely open you to trying new things from new regions and, really, that’s my goal here. Because if there’s anything I’ve learned from motherhood, it’s that comfort zones are overrated and getting out of them can bring you a whole new world of delights.

Nose: Violets, rose petals, cherries and spice. I would 100% peg this as a Barbera in a blind tasting. It’s also got a bit of both red and black licorice going on and I am not at all mad at it.
Palate: Super high-acid with moderate tannins. Again, reminiscent of Barbera and Gamay but so obviously from a cooler region. It’s all cherries and spice, rounded out by some sweet (but not sweet) strawberries and that anise licorice thing again. Really lovely, mouth-filling flavours that stay light and bright thanks to the acidity. If you weren’t hungry when you started drinking it, you will be — that acidity just begs for food. And, surprisingly, this went really well with a square of dark chocolate.

Pure pleasure

Pure pleasure