Many people think of winter as an unavoidable bad period, which we just have to survive. We cannot do anything against it, we cannot avoid it, thus we just have to get through this dark, grim and depressive season quietly, so we can be grateful for spring to come. But this is not true for the fanatic spin fishing anglers. December, January and February are the best months for aiming at one of the noblest fish of our domestic waters; this is the best time for fishing for zander with soft lures.
The real winter period starts when fish wander to their “winter place”. On our domestic rivers these places are usually deep holes, but sometimes the immediate environment of man-made edifices like bridges or hydropower plants can be such hot spots too. Large schools of baitfish gather around such frequented places in order to get through those few weeks when the temperature of the river is the lowest. Terminology refers to these areas as “wintering areas” where there is a ban on fishing in place in the winter in many cases, in order to prevent anglers from bothering fish that spend their winter rest there.
There are such river sections in Tokaj too; on River Tisza this area is between 543-544 river kilometers, while on River Bodrog it is assigned between 0-2 kilometers. From November 15 to March 1, it is not allowed to fish here. Besides baitfish, lots of zanders also gather in this area in hope of easy-to-obtain food. However, zanders wintering close to the baitfish schools are usually smaller, though they are present in large quantities. Fortunately, it is worth searching for zanders outside the forbidden places too, and it is more likely to find bigger ones there as well.
Winter fishing for zander with soft lures is not equal with deep water fishing. What is more, normally only small zanders gather in deep holes. We may find bigger zanders on sand plateaus, or in the pleats of clay bottoms, often on entirely homogenous, seemingly characterless bottom structures. They are usually either loners or spend the winter period in small groups. Therefore, it is worth fishing on shallow waters, on sandy bottom bed sections, and of course snags and rocky bottoms in the winter period.
Whenever we catch a fish, or achieve a small bite in a specific area, it is worth going back there, and scan these spots again and again, for often there are other solitary zanders there, we just have to find them. Winter zanders are quite passive in the cold water; thus they do not feed a lot, and not during the whole day. The essence of the biting period gets more significant, which may differ from place to place, but usually the morning hours and the early afternoon hours may bring along the appetite of larger zanders.
It is a good idea to use bigger-size soft lures, which can be even 13-15 cm long, since the easily available, bigger baitfish may appear more attractive for the predators. Therefore, they might strike earlier on a bigger fish than on a smaller.
In this period of the year, zanders will not hunt down baitfish from meters, and they decide to attack only when we present our lure right in their “striking zone”. This is why, it is important to present our bait slowly; we should use the lightest jig heads possible and move our bait with short lifts, slow movements.
We haven’t talked about the colors of the lures yet. Besides the typical zander colors (yellow, green, white), it is worth trying out darker tones too, for example brown, purple and dark green. We can also apply modern UV active lures too, since zanders’ sight is very good, and they clearly perceive UV active colors very well.
The rod and reel combination might be the same that we use in the summer or autumn for soft lure jigging. The only element of the tackle which deserves special attention is the main line, for the freezing of the rod’s guides can cause serious inconvenience in the harsh minus degrees. Because of this, the best choice can be Nanofil, which perhaps brings the least water up to the reel and the guides.
If we use thin braids, it is worth applying silicone spray on the main line or coat it with some kind of baby oil or lip balm before fishing. Of course, these are not magical panaceas, they won’t prevent the freezing of the guides all day long, but we can save time with it, thus we can fish longer without freezing.
If we want to practice catch and release fishing in winter too, and we wish to release zanders back to the river, we must pay attention not to touch the fish’s body with our hot hands, and not to keep them out of the water for too long in the frosty weather, to protect these wonderful fish from injuries.
Winter is also wonderful in Tokaj, and especially on River Tisza! It is worth visiting here in the cold season, for the wine cellars are open in the winter as well, and those who crave for active recreation, and would like to see the winter wonders of the magical Tisza, it is recommended to fetch their spinning rods and seek after the spiny predators in the winter period too.
Only a handful of ethnic groups, the Hungarians, the eastern Slovakians, and a few dialects of Ruthenes use the „Karácsony” expression when referring to the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. Some theories claim that the word originates from incarnation, others say that the slavic „korcun” meaning „to turn, step” (winter solstice) is the root of the expression. Whichever theory holds true, it is surely a holiday that is the closest to our hearts.
What happened then?
The exact birthtime of Jesus is quite unclear. It’s mostly based on a mutual agreement, but it’s a fact that the early church had already been celebrating the birth of Jesus on the day of Epiphany, January 6th starting around the 2nd century AD. The greek origin of the word, Epiphany, roughly means „appearance” or „revelation”. In 350 AD, the former Sol Invictus (victorious day) celebrated by the now officially Christian-believing Roman Empire was turned into the celebration of the birth of Christ – the winter solstice.
The date and duration of the census issued by the emperor Augustus did not produce accurate enough results to come to statistically trustworthy conclusions. If we say these assumptions are indeed true, then the comet Halley that appeared in 6 BC was supposedly the Star of Bethlehem, concluding that Jesus was born during that year’s summer. This claim is also supported by the biblical literacy which describes the pastors resting below a clear night sky. Then again, in 7 BC, Jupiter and Saturn met in conjunction three times, which prompted the astrologers of the times to think that something great was about to happen. The Gospels never mentioned how old Jesus was when the pastors and the wise men had appeared. The constellation Pisces, which included the two aforementioned planets, was also the constellation of Judea – this could have led the Babylonian astrologers to the court of the king of Jerusalem. According to Jewish beliefs, Jesus must have been even older at this point, since by tradition, a teacher must be at least fourty years old to be able to gather disciples and followers around themselves.
Based on current information, Jesus was born around 6 or 7 BC, but as to what day he was born, is unknown. Origen Adamantius (c. 184-254) was an Alexandrian Christian writer – he claimed that the intensive search for the exact date of the birthday in question isn’t relevant, but also harmful.
Did Jesus actually exist?
Many doubt that Jesus of Nazareth was an actual, living person. Several hundred years of time passed between the creation of the texts found in The Old Testament and New Testament of The Holy Bible. From this time period, very few sacred texts or writings remain. Flavius Josephus’ writings fall the closest to these times, who described the story of the Jewish people – he was born c. 37 AD. It’s important to note that he maintained a great relationship with the higher ranks of the roman leaders, therefore, his writings may not be the most objective source of text on the topic of the Jewish wars, favouring the history of the Roman peoples instead. His writings include a controversial part about Jesus, the flavian origin of which is debated by historians to this day.
There is no definite evidence of Jesus’ life from that time period – except for the existence of the Gospels, of course, Mark’s being the most ancient one among them (although it doesn’t contain the birth of Jesus). Even the letters of Paul the Apostle were written around 20-25 years after the supposed death and rebirth of Jesus, and the apostle himself only met Jesus in a vision on the Road to Damascus.
Luke the Evangelist describes the happenstances of Jesus’ birth with great detail, although we don’t know the exact birthdate of Luke himself. However, from the letter of Paul addressed to the Church in Colossae, we know that Luke was the physician of Paul, therefore being one of the closest people to have researched into the life and the stories associated with Jesus. Matthew the Apostle also describes elements of Jesus’ life, although it’s more likely that his disciples put his stories into text later, c. 80-90 AD.
But the man made God also presented serious challenges to the theologists throughout the centuries. How could Jesus Christ be god and man?
Bishop Athanasius of Alexandria ( c. 298-373 AD) was the first to describe how this was possible. Although he doesn’t mention the human soul element of Christ, but he claims him to be a real, existing person and differentiates between the acting subject (the godly individual) and the instrument of these acts, which was his human appearance. In Christ, therefore, there is a doer, but his functions are both godly and mortal. Since then, this phenomenon hasn’t been defined so clearly.
Traditions associated with the Christmas holidays
In Hungary, the reenacting of the Bethlehem events in the form of a play and chanting (reciting the happenings of Jesus’ birth around the village homes) are both ancient Christmas traditions. The „small Christmas” (kiskarácsony) is the day of the New Year, and the short week between the two holidays was traditionally a time for resting.
An Advent wreath is a relatively new tradition in Transylvanian and Hungarian cultures. The wreath is made from the twigs of willow trees, twined together in a cross-like pattern, decorating the middle with rose hips to signify the incarnation of Christ. The entire creation symbolises the fact that the holiday of Christmas would be meaningless without the cross of Easter, therefore the death and rebirth of Christ, or redemption.
Most of our Christmas traditions are rooted in German evangelic ones.
The tradition of the Christmas tree most likely originates from 16th century Germany, first depicted in the biblical pictures involving the Garden of Eden tree, and even the Catholic lexicon mentioned Martin Luther as the first to erect a Christmas tree.
The Advent candle lighting is also a german tradition. In 19th century Germany, everyone anticipated Christmas very differently: the most common way was to draw twenty-four lines of chalk on the door to a house, and wiping off one each day. Other places had candles with twenty-four markings, burning a bit off of them every day. Some places had built wooden cribs, putting one piece of straw as the days grew closer to Christmas, while others hung twenty-four paintings or pictures to count down from December 1st to the big night.
A Priest from Hamburg, Johann Hinrich Wichern produced az Advent wreath that’s most similar to today’s wreaths in 1839. Similarly to the previous ones, he placed 24 candles onto a car wheel (four of those were larger, for the purpose of the four „advent” Sundays leading up to Christmas), using it to teach the nearby children the methods of counting in the orphanage founded by him.
The spread of Advent calendars started in the 1850s in the circles of German Lutheran communities, most often decorated by meringues for the kids. The start of the 1900s saw the first printed Advent calendar with 24 Christmas pictures, later on in the 50s, the first chocolate filled calendar was made, whose variations are found on the shelves of stores nowadays.
The lights seen in the windows also come from a German origin: the less well-off families built Christmas pyramids instead of trees, often elegantly carved and decorated, even with variations of the Bethlehem events existing. In many places, like German mining villages, the entrance to the mineshafts were lit with similar Christmas lights, not unlike miner’s lanterns, albeit a lot more ornamentally fashioned. The simpler versions of these in our days are the triangle shaped lights adorning the windows, or the curved lights with seven bulbs.s
The holidays are indeed special, since the winter solstice indicates nature turning its attention to the springtime, as well as us. Although Jesus’ incarnation cannot be proven either historically or scientifically when it comes to the hows and whens, still millions of believers pray on these holy days and nights. This date is important to all of us: it connected with our lives and strengthens the love in our families. Christmas can be very difficult for the lonely so if we can take extra care of them and support them, it’s a most holy thing to do!
translated by Mara Várhelyi
Tokaj is a special wine region from several aspects. Unique areas, local grape varieties, particular wine categories and of course, a rich history. One thing that separates it from any other region in the world is the fact that every single year shows us just how different they can be in terms of the qualities and characteristics of the wine produced here. A favourite endeavour of everyday wine manners is the so-called „vintaging”, where the worldy and less informed consumers can’t always orient themselves easily, especially with so many years to consider. Fear not, this article will answer some questions like: what makes a year good or bad? What were the best years of the past decade? Is it worth to save these wines for my kid’s 18th birthday or not?
What makes a year good, then?
In most regions of the world it’s the main winetypes that define if that particular year will end up to be notable or not. It can be easily said that the classic, dry wine regions enjoy warm but not too hot years (the phenomenon of climate change has impacted this aspect quite a bit, especially since the early 2000s), with the precipitation spreading ideally and/or especially during the first half of the growing season (sprouting, blooming, ripening). And then there are those years where diseases (downy mildew, powdery mildew, rot) are more common, while the less humid or damp years aren’t usually bothered by these infections.
A nice harvest weather is paramount. This isn’t only important for the organization of the work that needs to be done, but the must degree of a berry can change in a matter of days or even hours, and this applies to the acid contents as well. The optimal timing of the harvest is the most important changing factor in terms of the quality of a finished wine. Especially regarding dry wines, a warm year provides us with more full-bodied wines with higher alcohol levels thanks to a general increase in sugar degree, often with noticable amounts of residual sugar (if the fermentation stops). Opposed to a warm year, a cool, rainy one can grant us wines with much more defined acid levels.
Tokaj is a bit different (in this too)…
The Foothills isn’t only home to its dry specialties – it’s also the region of sweet delicacies, where the presence of noble rot defines the qualities of the wines in the given year. The prerequisites for this are well or overly ripened grape produce and the damp, humid autumn mornings. In terms of the generally damp environment and of the large presence of botrytis, the correct dispersion of rainfall is extremely important. Rainy weather has to consistently swap around with sunny and warm days in order for us to make high quality szamorodni or even aszú wine – therefore, they are the only wine types in the world to require both rain and sunshine. Generally, the Tokaj region enjoys around 3 great vintages every decade (in the 90s, these were 1993, 1999, 2000, then 2003, 2006, 2007 and the latest decade would probably show a bit more tendency to change thanks to climate change)
Which year was good in Tokaj?
It’s important to note that, going back multiple hunders of years, there exist several vintage ratings on the region. With all that said, the wine types and shifts of trends means that a recent 5-star rated year is much different than that of a similar year in, let’s say, the 60s. The national wine combine defined the years by a quantified standpoint: there must be as much aszú as can be produced (in all sorts of puttony numbers), there has to be a lot of szamorodni, and the dry wines without botrytis never became popular until the year 2000. This leads up to our current two aspects, based upon which we can try to determine the quality of current vintages (especially regarding younger wines): it’s possible that a dry year is perfect for a dry wine, but simply not enough for an aszú and vice versa, if the noble rots hits the grape a bit too early due to the weather conditions.
In this text we won’t go over the years before the regime change, but rather do our best to showcase the past three decades with their most striking lessons, recommendations and what to look for all the way from the 90s up to this day - with a bit of additional label history, and painting the years red to indicate which ones yielded aszú wine here at Hímesudvar.
2020* - a difficult year with a large amount of rain, disease, not truly favouing any wine type, although, with the correct selection and proper harvest timing, the base wines could be made at a high quality.
2019**** - this one favoured several wine types, a warm year overall. Its dry wines already prove that it’s an exciting year and multiple (mostly larger) vineyards enjoyed a promising aszú harvest as well, with plenty of botrytised berries to collect.
2018*** - an extremely hot, early year with a never-ending summer throughout Europe. As a result, a less ideal year for aszú and the dry wines are less about the acids, being highly enjoyable when fresh.
2017***** - a beautiful year regarding all types. The dry wines are starting to really grow turn into their greatest forms and the aszú wines aren’t even in distribution. It’s worth to keep an eye on these!
2016*** - a mild year, botrytis came early, so a heavy amount of selection was needed for the dry items. Thanks to a large amount of rainfall during the autumn season, this is quite the limited vintage, as the few aszú that was made during it is showing fantastic levels of acidity.
2015**** - a warm year, which generally favoured the botrytis devoid, full-bodied dry wines. Very few aszú was made throughout the entire region.
2014* - once again an extremely rainy, disease-heavy year with a lot of selection, a bit of nice aszú but a lot of wines showed fast paces of aging (1-2 great aszú products).
2013***** - a great year with a warm fall, fine dry wines and then very intensified aszú presence which gave us rich, deep and thick sweet wines (with relatively low acidity).
2012*** - hot (stacking on top of 2011), a year full of drought, providing quite full-bodied, acid poor dry wines.
2011**** - similarly to the previous one, very warm, dry year but the 2010 rainfalls filled the land with water, so the grapes didn’t suffer as much. 2011**** bore high quality, although only a few, larger wineries could produce good aszú during this one.
2010* - lots of rainfall, infections, lots of selection needed. While it’s difficult to find the dry ones, a lot of great aszú were produced during this one.
2009**** - warm year, once again proving to be exciting across all dry wines, while the aszú wasn’t that favoured at all. Low acid levels all around.
2008***** - the year of acidity with fantastic, long lasting dry wines, then beautiful aszú presence allowing us to make wines with fresh acids and durable structure.
2007***** - extremely warm, quick ripening, with a massive noble rot presence during the shrivelling season: creamy, plump, thick wines in every category. A year to remember.
2006***** - one of the most well-balanced vintages of all. Moderate weather conditions, warm autumn, lengthy ripening period with great dry wines and harmonic aszú wines.
2005* - flood-like rainfall, moderate or maybe even a cooler year overall. It was a true search for dry wines during this one, but provided us with some exciting aszú wines.
2004** - rainy, cold vintage, failing to provide a lot of quality in the dry category. There are some sweet ones to be found from this year, however.
2003**** - one of the decade’s most memorable, warm vintages: there were some milestones to be made in terms of dry wines, and this year gifted us with some plump, rich aszú wines.
2002*** - not that outstanding in the dry category, but there are some notable, perfectly acidic, long lasting aszú items from this one. Required a lot of selection due to the harvest rainfall.
2001* - a difficult, rainy, cold year. Most categories enjoyed a weak quality during this vintage.
2000***** - a classic, warm, dry vintage. Several of the first few game-changing dry wines in the region, and then the creamy, complex, great aszú wines – which are making their way to the top nowadays – were produced during this year.
1999***** - one of the classic vintages of Tokaj’s modern era. Fantastic aszú items, high acidity, the sweet wines from there still feel fresh and young (the first cuvée blends and late harvest wines are created as well).
1998* - a mild one, with lots of rainfall and a lot of rot. Weak aszú harvest, with few exciting wines overall.
1997** - a late, cool year with a delayed ripening. Only the luckiest winemakers could harvest a good aszú yield, with relatively nice acidity.
1996*** - a milder summer, delayed harvest, late ripening. That said, several time-enduring aszú was made, where they selected according to the quality (an aszú year diving the old and the new styles).
1995*** - a warm summer full of drought, a long indian summer. A fine year, but overall a small amount of aszú.
1994* - cool, mild year, with insufficient aszú quality.
1993***** - the first great year after the regime change. Complex, fruity, long-lasting aszú wines were made then, which live up to their name to this day in their bottles.
A few great vintages are still remembered before the regime change: for collectionists, 1956 or 1972 are considered great treasures. The year of the comet, 1811 throughout Europe, therefore in Tokaj as well, is an important vintage. This was the first year where a large amount of bottled aszú wines survived several years and for posterity’s sake (even the world famous Christie’s Auction House met some of these wines). The first well-known, great year in the Tokaj Foothills was 1524. Well, if anyone has a wine from this vintage, make sure you let our editors know…!
translated by Mara Várhelyi
Discounted pre-orders for a limited batch of our newest aszú wine are available now until December 10-12. This one was 100% produced from the Zéta grape variety.
Expect more details in the next newletter.
Autumn represents the end of something in public consciousness; it brings along the twilight of the summer holiday and summer itself. But a new era starts on the rivers too just like at school, since the first cool nights, and the rapidly falling water temperature entail the explosive uptrend of predatory fish’s appetite as well. Most fish consciously prepare for winter, and parallel with the changing weather, a change gets started in the mood and appetite of fish too. For the anglers who arrive to Tokaj in this period of the year, it is not worth missing those unique opportunities that the Tisza and Bodrog rivers can offer.
The rivers show their wonderful faces in autumn. The floodplain forest is dressed in colorful clothes and the slowly balding trees dance to the roar of deer in the morning mist. Foggy mornings lure even the most cautious animals out of their shelter. Under the fog that covers the face of the river like a veil, deer and roe deer swim across the quiet flow. Wild geese, like giant arrows, cross the sky and say goodbye loudly to the changing landscape.
We are lucky in Tokaj because the two rivers have markedly different predatory fish stocks, thus pike, zander and catfish can be easily caught within a relatively little amount of time. The main predator of the Bodrog is pike, and the Tisza is famous for its zander and catfish population. The Bodrogzug Nature Reserve, as the “cradle” of the area, provides the fish with the right spawning conditions every year, thus ensuring continuous natural reproduction.
By autumn, the Bodrog River usually clears and slows down, showing a particularly friendly and quiet face at Tokaj. In addition to the larger depths of 6-8 meters, there are plenty of shallow shores, benches, shores lined with yellow water pumpkins and reeds. These shallow waters attract pike like magnets in September, as the water pumpkin fields are full of whitefish. As the water begins to cool with the first cold dawns, the “crocodile-jawed” predators visit coastal aquatic habitats and here we can catch large numbers of them if we use the right technique and bait.
This is the most exciting course for spin fishermen, as it is a big challenge to catch these strong river predators from the vegetation. Two methods are most effective in this case: we either fish with surface frog imitations on top of the pumpkin leaves or we use sinking lures (usually rubber bait) with protected hooks between the pumpkin leaf stalks. Due to the strikes seen in the vegetation, as well as the sight of pike wildly attacking surface lures, the heart of every spinning angler beats faster. These are the actions that make a spinning guy a spinning guy; usually the moment of the strike, the fierce attack of the predatory fish is what we like best in this method.
This period lasts as long as there is still water pumpkin on the surface. If the aquatic plants disappear once and for all - which usually happens by November - and the water temperature drops below the critical 10 degrees, the pike will also follow the large schools of whitefish gathering in the deeper layers of the water. Even then, they can be caught, but in a completely different way, and only in the vicinity of the bream flocks that gather at the winter dwelling spots.
The Tisza is just as magical as the Bodrog, but in terms of its predatory fish, zander and catfish are much more dominant in it. Even in autumn, these two fish species are the most common guests on the hooks of spinning anglers.
Many people do not even know how ideal September and October are for the scouting of the largest growing predator in our domestic waters. But the catfish is on a conditioning diet, getting ready for the winter. The digestion of the large-bodied fish is still quite fast in 15-20 Celsius degree water, which is why it feeds a lot and attacks larger fish more carelessly than in the summer. At the same time, when preparing for winter, it tries to get into the best possible shape, which it can achieve with regular and indiscriminate foaming.
It is no coincidence that we catch more and more catfish as by-catches during zander- and Volga zander fishing. After all, catfish prefer to stay close to smaller, easily swallowable, cylindrical fish around 30-40 cm length, and they do take the duty from them properly. But not only can we catch catfish by accident on the Tisza, but we can also aim at them consciously. We can be effective with traditional plastic lures and jigging technique or vertical fishing.
Zander migrate a lot during this period due to changing water temperatures. It is often the case that they need to be “investigated” on a daily basis, as whitefish troops move, so do the “spiny-backed” predators. They are most likely to be found on stone structures, drop-offs and underwater obstacles, snags. Interestingly, the deep pits are not yet functioning well during the transition period, they are only visited by whitefish - and thus by predators as well - just in the winter. The sandbanks, shallow but hard, clay-bottomed river sections can surprisingly keep many large zander in the fall.
In such cases, it is worth fishing for zander with the traditional plastic lure technique, but vertical fishing can also be effective. Zander fishing is a much more rewarding task in the fall than in the winter because the fish become inactive at water temperatures close to zero. This way, even a beginner spinning angler can clearly have a lot more success in the fall. Of course, there are better and worse days in autumn as well, but perseverance and conscious “point-hopping” will bring along the long-awaited success.
So, it’s no coincidence that autumn is the real season for predator anglers. We can chase our domestic predatory fish in cooling waters with much better results than in summer or winter. This is worth keeping in mind for all visitors to Tokaj, as it is easy for a spinning angler to catch the fish of his lifetime during a weekend family vacation. And if we want to pamper our limbs frozen due to the cool autumn wind, there is no better place for this purpose than a Tokaj cellar in the company of a little mulled wine.
Much like the furmint, this one is an old Hungarian grape type most likely created via natural breeding processes. According to one of several genetics-based analyses, one of the grape’s parents is the Furmint. It was first mentioned in texts originating from the Tokaj region, in 1723. The name is probably derived from its leaves being slightly similar to that of a linden tree’s, as this is also the case in other languages as well (french „Feuille de Tilleul" german „Lindenblättrige") Funnily enough, its wine frequently reminds one of linden honey when it comes to its fragrance. Traditionally, it was planted in conjunction with Furmint in order to maintain the latter grapes’ tough, more acidic characteristics and balance these out, softening and enriching the aroma.
Its subtypes were described by Márton Németh in his Ampelography: the Nemes (Noble) Hárslevelű’s long, cylinder shaped clusters are prone to ripening, the Fecskefarkú (Sparrow-tailed) subtype’s clusters are very long, often twisting and turning at the very bottom, and is slightly less prone to being as fertile. The Rúgós Hárslevelű possesses small clusters while being very loose, therefore making it basically unusable. During the selection of the grapes’ clones, the continued fertilisation of several, more valuable grapevines can lead to increasing the overall value of the grape. In the case of Hárslevelű, this can lead to generally better, more evenly sized clusters and plain better results regarding the taste of these clones’ final wines. These clones include the T.311 type from Tarcal, but Kecskemét’s selected K.9 and also the P.41, originating from Pécs.
Its loose clusters are made up of slightly smaller to medium-sized, thin-skinned berries, at least when compared to the Furmint type. Its cluster often grow very large, „as big as a small pig”, and the harvesters really like to take pictures with them during the season. The teeth on its leaves’ edges are round, while its parent types’ have pointy, serrated edges, thus being easily distinguishable from other grapes. Compared to the Furmint, it can prove to be slightly more vulnerable to many different effects: it doesn’t handle drought very well, it’s prone to illnesses and infections such as powdery mildew as well as malnourishment, and it’s especially sensitive when it comes to subzero temperatures, taking high amounts of frost damage. When it comes to the efficient and successful growing of Hárslevelű, a careful consideration of placement and extreme caretaking are required. It is less prone to the effects of noble rot, although its later-ripened specimens can be affected by it successfully. The aforementioned linden honey infused, delicately aromatic and spicy taste palette apply to both dry and sweet Hárslevelű wines, and a good amount of residual sugar can do wonders to the wine. It complements Furmint extremely well if one decides to mix multiple types.
The total plantation area of furmint is 1120 hectares throughout the Tokaj Wine Region, making it cover 20% (TBHK, 2018) of the entirety of grown areas in the region. Its overall planted area in the country is 1612 hectares (2008), traditionally grown in the Eger Wine Region around the locale of Debrő, in Somló, Villány, and on the northern coasts of Lake Balaton. Outside of Hungary, smaller plantations can be found in Austria, Slovakia and Romania as well.
translated by Áron Várhelyi
Read more about the other Tokaj grape varieties!