Balancing act – Disznókő Inspiration Dry 2017

Not sure it means anything if I sing the praise of a Tokaj furmint. Of course in my heart of hearts I am convinced that the answer is ’yes’, but there is a practical doubt not easy to dismiss: if I were intent on discovering let’s say loureiro I would much rather rely on the recommendations of someone who loves this variety than someone who is sceptical about its merits. 

Just for the sake of clarity: technically Disznókő’s Inspiration Dry is not a furmint but a blend containing 15% hárslevelű, and as for my furmint-scepticism it is shorthand for being underwhelmed by the majority of Tokaj dry furmints.

Previously the various single vineyard furmints and the one hárslevelű of Disznókő were bottled separately in micro-batches. ’Inspiration’ brings together these tiny lots to come up with a wine that is produced at a volume that is discernible on the market. And then there was the all-important fine-tuning of the final blend. All the lots were raised in oak but none of them in new oak.

The USP of this wine is its balance. Getting picking times right – ripe fruit without cumbersome alcohol, freshness without overpowering malic acid, structure without rough textures – is a balancing act that has proved a stumbling block for many a Tokaj drys. Inspiration passes this test with flying colours (whether this is a testament to the excellence of the vintage or to the expertise of the winemakers, or both, I couldn’t tell).

Initially the oak makes its presence felt but a few hours after opening it retreats to the background. For a Tokaj dry the nose is definitely intense, lively and elegant showing hints of pears, pineapple, ginger and clay. The palate is clean as a whistle with succulent fruit and a good attack. It’s not a blockbuster, there is nothing OTT about it. It’s quietly confident with no element striving to dominate others. A Tokaj dry that while remaining true to its origin also manages to be pleasant, attractive and elegant.

6-7 points and by Tokaj standards this is great value at €13.

One final word: the name is OK-ish but the label is utterly uninspired.