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!
Although its origin hasn’t been confirmed via genetic research, most ampelographers have come to the consensus that the Romanian “Grasă” (Romanian for “fat”), or “Grasă de Cotnari”, and Kövérszőlő are one and the same grape variety. Altought this title has only been apparent since the 19th century and onwards among the Tokaj grapes. Professionals also believe that Kövérszőlő is the same as “Fejérszőlő”, which goes back to as far as the 17th century, being mentioned in multiple texts. It’s been grown for more than hundreds of years around the Cotnar area in Romania. In this region, three different types are described: another with yellow or greenish berries, and one with a crunchier fruit skin. This amount of variability can be related to Cotnar being the original home of Kövérszőlő.
According to a Romanian folktale, Stephen III, a Moldavian monarch was visiting Matthias I in his court in Gyulafehérvár, where the former was so impressed by the Kövérszőlő wine he tasted that he actually returned with several cuttings in order to create a plantation of his own back home. Another tale claims that Kövérszőlő was brought to Cotnar from Hungarian territory by the German Gutnar, where he gave his name to the village that gave home to the vineyards Gutnar-Kotnar) in the 15th century.
It is easily recognised by its large, dark green, deeply toothed leaves and, of course, its giant (fat) berries (Kövér-szőlő = Fat-grape) and large clusters. Its secondary shoots grow forcefully and it takes a special sort of attention to make sure that its clusters don’t become too overwhelmed with its leafage. Failing to address this can lead to a slow ripening process and increases the chance of acidobacter infection. The latter is more probable thanks to the amount of wasps and boars that like to feast on its easily consumable berries. It ripens one, maybe two weeks earlier than Furmint. It’s recommended to harvest it at the end of September or the beginning of October if one aims to make dry wine out of it. The examinations of the Tokaj Research Institute compare the grape to older, white wine yielding grape varieties such as the variations of Goher, Balafánt or the White járdovány. When it comes to the potential of dry wine, the character and qualities of the dry Kövérszőlő are the closest to the Furmint. Its growing popularity in the past centuries is also thanks to the fantastic quality, greasy, rich aszú berries it can yield after having been affected by noble rot. Harvesting these berries can lead to the production of incredibly valuable sweet wines. Many like to consume it fresh, as a fruit snack, although its thin skin makes it susceptible to bursting open, therefore the transportation of Kövérszőlő is quite troublesome.
It is grown on more than 400 hectares today in Romania, primarily among the hills of the Moldovan wine region and its twelve main foothills, in the Cotnar region, secondarily in the Wallachian and Oltenian wine regions, in the area of Dealu Mare. Dry, semisweet, sweet and late harvest wines are all made from its fruit. It was quite the important grape type in the Tokaj region until the unfortunate phylloxera plague destroyed most of its plantations, making it almost completely disappear from the repertoire of grapes. Multiple smaller installations of Kövérszőlő were created in the 1990s, which leads to a total amount of a little more than 50 hectares being produced today (a small sum of 1% of the whole region). Its wine can be labelled once again as “Tokaji” since 1998.
translated by Áron Várhelyi
2020. Tokaji Kövérszőlő / !! ÚJ !!
száraz | dry / 0,75l
alkohol | alcohol: 11,94%
maradékcukor | residual sugar: 8,4 g/l
sav | acidity: 7,6 g/l
készült | bottled: 980 palack | bottles
nébih engedélyszám: IHZG
2015 óta készítünk száraz bort is ebből a nagyon ritka tokaji szőlőfajtából. A visszajelzések arra biztatnak minket, hogy ne szakítsuk meg ezt a szokásunkat, így íme itt a 2020-as évjárat!
Szeptember végén szüreteltük a szépen beérett szőlőfürtöket.
Az erjedés tölgyfardóban, lassan, nyugodtan zajlott le és a tisztítási műveletek után a bor további 3 hónapot töltött még hordóban.
Ízben vastag, komplex, inkább fűszeres, kissé ásványos, citrusos. Illatban halvány fúszeresség, körte és őszibarack.
Érdekességek a Kövérszőlőről itt!
BORTESZT | Borrajongó blog / 2021. július
"Egy ritka, száraz iskolázású kövérszőlő. Visszafogott fehér húsú gyümölcsös, őszibarackos illat, enyhe trópusi érintéssel. Gömbölyded, finom szövésű korty fogad szájban, a savak és a maradékcukor szépen kiegyensúlyozzák egymást. Ízében őszibarack, körte, fehér húsú gyümölcsök, egy kevés citrus és fűszer"
2018. Tokaji Kövérszőlő, késői szüret
édes | sweet 0,75l
Malomfeli dűlő | single vineyard
alkohol | alcohol: 12,5%
maradékcukor | residual sugar: 57 g/l
sav | acidity: 5,6 g/l
készült | bottled: 2170 palack | bottles
Túlérett, töppedt fürtökből válogatott alapanyag. 5 hónap fahordós érlelés.
Érdekességek a Kövérszőlőről itt.
BORTESZT | Ripka Gergely-Tokaj Guide / 2020. június
"Édes verzióban is megcsodálható a történelmi fajta. A rá jellemző (édesben is) visszafogott, enyhén herbális, vegetális jelleget mutatta orrban. A korty nagyon kerek, nem mondható hosszúnak, viszont egyensúlyos (57 g/l cukorral), finom és mindenekelőtt tiszta zamatú. Lazább, közérthető, egyszerű édes bor, mindennapi fogyasztáshoz. 5+"
2014. Tokaji Kövérszőlő
édes | sweet 0,375l
Malomfeli dűlő | single vineyard
alkohol | alcohol: 11%
maradékcukor | residual sugar: 130 g/l
sav | acidity: 6,5 g/l
készült | bottled: 1619 palack | bottles
Túlérett, töppedt, aszúsodott fürtökből válogatott alapanyag. 14 hónap fahordós érlelés. "5 puttonnyi" maradékcukor.
Érdekességek a Kövérszőlőről itt.
BORTESZT | Borrajongó blog / 2021 július
"Túlérett, aszúsodott fürtökből készült, 14 hónap hordós érleléssel, lényegében szamorodni technológiával, 130 g/l a maradékcukor. Fejlett, szépen érő illatában aszalt gyümölcsök, datolya, birsalma, egy kevés dió. A korty dús és koncentrált, finoman krémes, de van benne tartás is a sok maradékcukor mellett. Aszalt gyümölcsök, birsalma, datolya, füge, pici dió színezi, határozott botrytises karakter érezhető ízben is."
BORTESZT | Ripka Gergely-Tokaj Guide / 2020. június
"Nehéz év, zseniális bor. Akik régóta figyelgetik a tokaji évjáratokat, azok talán tudják, hogy 2010 és 2014 is okozott TokajSweet vonalon meglepetéseket: az aszúzás után, ami fenn maradt és nem rohadt le, az olyan koncentrált, szárazanyagban oly gazdag édes alapanyaggá tudott válni (az esős évjáratok tápanyagforgalma révén), ami szárazabb, melegebb években lehetetlen. Almás, birses, körtés, érett gyümölcsös aromák, egyedi illat. Ízben is megvan az érettség, magas cukra azonban repíti, hosszú, vastag és nagyon gazdag bor (extrakt). Eszméletlenül komplex, vastag korty, utóízben az aszalt gyümölcsök mellett kávéval. Extrém bor, de jó, hogy ilyesmi is megtapasztalható önálló tételként. 7"
BORTESZT | Debreceni Borozó / 2017. december
"Nagyon halvány szalmasárga szín, citrus, barack, köszméte, vaj az illatában, szép kerek sav és édesség, közepes test, a korty zamatos, gyümölcsös, közepesen hosszú." 84 pont
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Read more about other grape varieties of the Tokaj wine region!
The three most popular grapes of the Tokaj Wine Region, the Furmint, Hárslevelű and Sárgamuskotály, are all products of natural hybridization, could have happened hundreds, or even a thousand year ago. The potential ancestors of these grapes can nowadays be pinpointed via the assistance of modern genetic research. The origins of Zéta, a grape variety that is grown in the smaller area, are known to us, however: Dr. Ferenc Király and his colleagues created Zéta by crossing Furmint and Bouvier in 1951, in Pécs. It’s a sort of „half-sibling” to the Zengő, Zenit and Zeusz. The grape previously known as Oremus was later renamed in 1999 due to it having the same name as a vineyard in Sátoraljaújhely. Its new name was declared Zéta, which was inspired by a hero of a novel written by Géza Gárdonyi. The goal of the grape breeding agenda was to take the qualities of the popular, late maturing white grapes like Ezerjó and Furmint, and transfer them into early maturing and safer grape types. The early maturing is thanks to the usage of Bouvier: the french-sounding name is that of Clotar Bouvier, a grape breeder, who most likely developed Bouvier based on a grape plant discovered in current-day Slovenia in 1900, through further cross breeding.
Out of all the Zéta that was approved by the state in 1990, only 34 hectares were being cultivated to in the year 1999 in the Tokaj Region. At the start of the 2000s, a rapid development of growth started and today, Zéta is planted on nearly 116 hectares in the region. From a viticultural standpoint, it’s much more demanding than Furmint or Hárslevelű. It produces many shoots, and its hidden buds break out frequently on the stems of the vine. The timely removal of these unnecessary parts are vital to maintaining a breezy and loose foliage.
The maturity is at least 10 days, often two whole weeks or more earlier in relativity to the Furmint’s time of maturing. Given the potentially rainy autumn weather, this can very often make or break a harvest season. Even without the presence of aszú, it can still be considered as a late harvest grape before the autumn rains arrive around here. If aszú is indeed present, however, its dense clusters go through the process quite evenly and in a balanced fashion, therefore, the collection of aszú berries can be rather quick. The berries attacked by Botrytis are prone to falling off the stem of the cluster, and so it so important to harvest the Zéta aszú very carefully. Both the late harvest and the Zéta aszú are quite concentrated in terms of taste, carrying a rich, honey-like palette of aroma, which of course applies to most of the naturally sweet wines created from it. The only disadvantage of the variety may be its relatively low average acid levels. It is for this reason that many recommend combining it with the much more acidic Furmint after an especially hot summer and autumn.
translated by Áron Várhelyi
Although there are more than 200 grape varieties called Muscat, a majority of them aren’t actually related to Sárgamuskotály or the Muscats of Alexandria or Ottonel. When it comes to the ancient origin, popularity and intense smell of a grape, Sárgamuskotály is and always will be the absolute winner.
„Muskotály” is one of the few words in our language. The persian word muchk, or the Greek moschos, Latin muscus, French musc, English musk and the Hungarian mósusz are referring to a material known since ancient times as an aphrodisiac, its main source being the sexual secretions of a hoofed animal called the musk deer, which makes its home in South-East Asia. Since the extreme hunting of the animal from the 1970s, the musk deer are considered a vulnerable species, therefore the material is mostly artifically produced for the perfume industry nowadays. The smell and the rare perfume-like scent of the Muscat types reminded many wine-makers and consumers of an especially valuable perfume. When it comes to Muscat, it was referred to in around 1230, later to be described in French texts. In the sense of Yellow Muscat it was first mentioned in 1304, found in an Italian source of transcripts.
One widespread – but never confirmed – theory suggests that Sárgamuskotály originates from Ancient Greece and made its way to Rome by the way of traders and merchants. The romans later brought it to the mediterranian areas of France, where it grew to be recognised as Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat (de) Lunel. Genetic research proves its relation to Greek varieties, alongside an obvious parent-offsping relation to the Muscat of Alexandria and several other Muscats. The “official” name of the grape in France is “Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains” (small-berried white muscat).
When exposed to the sun, its bulky clusters are made up of small, yellow, then rust-brown colored berries, which take place either loosely or quite close together. Yellow spikes on the edge of its older leaves separate it from other Tokaj varieties. Younger shoots and leaves also emit its familiar scent when rubbed together, making this grape type clearly special.
It’s considered one of the more difficult grapes to grow when it comes to viticulture. It creates multiple, but not as intensively growing shoots. Its hidden offshoots also break out occasionally, becoming a necessity to remove them in order to create a loose foliage. The shoots don’t grow upwards as much as Furmint or Hárslevelű, therefore it becomes vital to keep them as much inbetween the wiring as possible. It’s recommended to use the Guyot-method, one of the more popular cultivation methods of this grape, instead of the other cordon-based cultivation style. The skin of the berries can easily get “scorched” if exposed to a large amount of sunlight, creating slight amounts of scar tissue on the fruit. It’s quite susceptible to acetic rot, especially after a large amount of rainfall, making the berries blister and puff up, tightening to each other before eventually bursting. Its fruit is well-liked by hornets, wasps, deer and boar as well. Being a naturally good sugar collector, it makes for great aszú material. It is mostly used for creating products for fresh consumption and making nicely scented dry wines, although its unique taste palette can be used for producing late-harvest or even aszú wine from Sárgamuskotály.
Its flavours’ primary components are terpene compounds (monoterpenes), which are primary aroma components found in the ripe berries themselves. Due to consumers usually lacking the experience in tasting the original musk, its scent is usually associated with a “grape’s fruit scent”, or perhaps a rose’s flowery smell. Other grape varieties have also proven to emit the muscat-like scent (such as Chasselas) and the Gewürztramini’s special taste is also thanks to terpene compounds. The preservation of the primary aroma is the most challenging factor of working with this grape, since these valuable substances are quite sensitive to high temperature and oxidation. In past years, the dry, elegantly scented, relatively low-alcohol wines’ fruits are usually harvested at the end of a hot August, or an early September. During these times, an early morning picking and the cooling of the berries – before the processing of the fruit – is a great way to preserve the natural scent and taste substances.
Sárgamuskotály is the most popular muscat in terms of planted areas in the world. It’s grown on 7620 hectares in France (2009), 13280 in Italy (2010), 713 in Spain (2008), 693 in Portugal (2010) and 647 hectares in our “slightly more competitive” home country of Hungary (2008). 560 hectares of the total are to be found in the Tokaj Region, according to recent statistical data (2018, HNT). Its oldest mention is from 1570 as “Muskotal”, although, like the other types grown in the region, it regained popularity after the replantation following the phylloxera swarm. It is most likely the oldest grape type produced in the Carpathian basin, being a great base for the rich wines made around Somló, the Mátra and the Balatonboglár regions as well.
A tokaji Malomfeli-dűlő legmagasabban fekvő tábláiból szüreteltük a szépen beérett, illatos szőlőfajtát. A bort az elsődleges - fajtából eredő - illatanyagok és aromák legtökéletesebb megőrzése céljából tartályban erjesztettük. Palackozására 2021. áprilisában került sor.
Ebben a - teljesen száraz - változatban igazi ritkaság.
BORTESZT | Vince Magazin / 2021. július
"Visszafogott illat, benne virágok, enyhén méz és nyomokban sárgabarack. Szép savszerkezet, közepesen intenzív aromák a kortyban: barackos és almás jegyek.Ásványos, szikár lecsengésteszi karakteressé, utóíze kifejezetten hosszúés összetett. Sokkal inkább egy jó száraz tokaji, mintsem illatos bor." Kiváló bor 16/20 pont
6-os kartonban -10% kedvezménnyel veheted meg itt!
száraz | dry / 0,75l
alkohol | alcohol: 12,87%
maradékcukor | residual sugar: 0,7 g/l
sav | acidity: 6,7 g/l
készült | bottled: 1332 palack | bottles
nébih engedélyszám: IHZE
There are varying accounts regarding its origins. Based on historical and linguistic evidence, the most common theories claim french, italian or syrmian sources, although its diversity with many subvarieties located on Tokaj-Hegyalja claim the region to be the source. The most recent genetic research claims that its parents are the Gouais blanc and the Alba imputato, the natural cross-breeding of the two being the result of it appearing until the 16th century.
Taxonomy dictates that the grape is a subtype, specifically belonging to the pontian subgroup, of the common grape vine (Vitis vinifera). Along with the currently grown White Furmint, collections preserve the Red and the Variable Furmint types as well. The latter receives its name from the berries’ early green colours changing into red, then shifting into a shade between greenish to golden yellow, not unlike the White Furmint.
Ampelography is the discipline which works with the detailed description of grape types. I won’t delve into the Furmint’s total ampelographical explanations here, but I’ll mention some of the more significant details; first, its upright sprouting system greatly helps regarding the ’green-work’ of the grape, which consists of the shearing and other handiwork up until the harvest arrives. Thanks to the fact that the shoots growing from the buds grow vertically upwards, the foliage are much easier and convenient to maintain, at least compared to other unruly and spreading types (such as Sárgamuskotály). The Furmint’s shoots also fortunately tend to stay nestled inbetween the wiring that keeps the foliage together. Later on, the first tendrils above the clusterzone twist around the wires, ensuring that the shoots are safe from being blown out or simply broken by a stronger wind. The leaves’ edges are serrated yet lacy, its teeth rather pointy, therefore with some experience it may be told apart from the Hárslevelű’s lacy, rather round and dull teeth.
The stamp of the 1972 I. World Wine Competition held in Budapest. A stylized Furmint cluster and leaves hide behind a popular aszú bottle, the background showing Tokaj and its traditionally cultivated vineyards from the other side of the Tisza. The stamp was made by József Vertel, one of the most employed hungarian stamp designers. Note the berries’ differing hues, potentially indicating overtly ripened grapes or even the appearance of aszú.
Regarding its ripening tendencies, it is considered a late type, placing its harvest to the second half of October. In its complete ripeness it appears greenish yellow and, if exposed to the sun, a distinct golden yellow hue. The most important qualities include defined acid and high alcohol contents in the balanced overcropped plantations, but also a high susceptibility to shrinking and therefore ’aszú-ification’. Although the Furmint doesn’t have any characteristic primary aromas (let’s mention the muskotály type as a counter-example and as Irsai Olivér), during the process of fermentation the secondary flavours can include apple, pear, peach, white flowers and other similar evocative qualities. Most Furmint enjoy being fermented in oakwood, which ensures tertiary aromas to enrich its already versatile taste.
Ripened clusters, also beginning to show signs of aszú. Furmint is susceptible to ’scrubbiness’, meaning that if the badly fertilized, small (runt) berries find majority on a cluster, it can significantly decrease the yield of the grapes. The left image, however, shows the positive side of this phenomenon, providing healthier, looser clusters, which are more suitable for creating dry wine. The large, stuffy, blistery berries on the right image (Hólyagos Furmint) are much more susceptible to aszú.
The variety identifying as a "Hungaricum" is located on around 4000 hectares in the country, most of it being in the Tokaj Wine Region itself. The most recent data suggests that out of the 5603 total hectares 3726 (67%) is home to its most significant grape.
It’s also on the list of traditionally grown grapes in many other regions, such as the Somló Region and around Pécs and Balaton, amongst several others. The Sopron Region has contained much of its plantations some time ago but today it has almost completely disappeared from there. Beyond our borders it is widely represented in Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia and Austria.
translated by Áron Várhelyi