AWW Episode 3
Post By: Richard Smith on 03/02/2009
Firstly, let me apologize for the terrible pun - I beileve it was Jesse who came up with it but, in his defence, if we had not been half way through our second bottle at the time, he would probably have kept his mouth shut. At Stoney Creek, when we do a wine tasting, there is none of this sip and spit nonsense, we taste wine the same way you do at home; by the bottle.
Last week we were in China, and experienced the disappointment of a bottle gone bad. I have, thus far, failed in my attempt to find a replacement, so we ventured across the Himalayas, carefully avoided Afghanistan, dipped our toes in the Caspian and Black (which is not black by the way) Seas, trudged through the Carpathians (a little grim at this time of year) and stumbled into Hungary. Hungary is a country I would like to visit one day. Why, I cannot say. My sister returned from a school trip there, 10 pounds lighter, and complaing bitterly about the food; battered curds being one of several dishes to have traumatized her during the visit. However, I suspect there is much more to this fabled country whose capital city, Budapest, is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful in Europe. And that's not the same as being one of the most beautiful cities in say, Africa. Not the same at all.
It was an inexpensive or, more accurately, cheap Pinot Gris that brought us to this land but, based on our tasting results, it will not bring us back. Firstly, it had a strange color, like a yellow that has lost its lust for life. Its aroma was nondescript and its taste somewhat sweet for a Pinot Gris and lacking any distinction whatsoever. It fact, the only thing of note about this wine was that it created a slight tingly feeling on the tongue; in the same way that champagne does if you leave a half-finished glass on the coffee table overnight and then polish it off the following morning for breakfast - not that I've ever done that of course. In fact, the theory that the wine could, in fact, have been an old, flat sparkling wine would explian both the taste and the color. But then, surely, the makers would not be so brazen as to claim the wine came from their 'Connoisseur Collection', would they?
Fortunately, I also had a bottle of Kalala Organic Pinot Gris which was as good as the other was bad. A strong (and identified as such by all of the tasters), yet far from unpleasant, grapefruit taste softened significantly as the wine was left to breathe. It was, as all the wines I have tasted from Kalala have been, delicious. Now, I know that some among you will point out that Kalala is in Kelowna, British Columbia, far from Eastern Europe but, as I had a bottle in my backpack, it still counts.
I suspect that there are far superior wines to be found in Hungary so, perhaps, after all, we will stay a while and see what we can find. Until next time, bon voyage.
Winery: Count Karolyi Private Cellars
Varietal: Pinot Grigio