Kreinbacher Olaszrizling Selection 2016

The older I get the more my tastes are shifting from art and self-expression towards fun and wit. As an adolescent I produced my fair share of poetry brimful of self-expression but without any fun or wit. However popular culture still leaves me cold and even after 30 years I feel genuine outrage when I think of Neil Tennant’s (Pet Shop Boys) bon mot: „We’re the Smiths you can dance to” (though I must admit it’s witty). I can see the mischievous wink in Andy Warhol’s soup cans but in my eyes it falls short of art. Anyway, what I’m getting at is this: self-expression coupled with craft and irony thrills me, but I find no joy in laboured exhibitionism or shameless playing to the gallery.

But how does that relate to wine? Broadly speaking: I don’t have time for terroir when it’s expression is plain ugly. And surface charm doesn’t satisfy me. An ideal wine awakens both your senses and your mind and keeps keeping them busy. Kreinbacher’s Olaszrizling Selection awakens, even thrills your senses however it provides food for thought for the wrong reasons.

The nose is intense and alluring with notes of honey, ginger, melon and apricots. Full-bodied and delicious with well-rounded acidity and a touch of tannins. Smooth and balanced but not lacking in zest. The finish is long and complex with the tiniest hint of mushroomy bitterness. Botrytis is barely detectable, it acts like delicate seasoning. A world class wine.

Delicious. Beautiful. A truly well-crafted Hungarian white. But were I to taste it blind I doubt I could identify the variety or region. And being a fan of both olaszrizling and Somló I see that as a loss. The fault may lie with me – tasters with lower detection threshold might identify markers for both variety and terroir even at such low concentration. Maybe with time what is hidden now will grow in intensity and shine through the surface thereby making this wine great.

Another excellent Kreinbacher wine. Notwithstanding my subjective (and theoretical) objections its quality is beyond doubt. 6 points and selling at €13. (Source: