Crazy science – Villa Tolnay Mozaik 2016

Mixing up your Burgundy with a Bordeaux can be painfully embarrassing but it is not a crime (see footnote). Blending cabernet and pinot noir on purpose however is a serious offence and ever since Code Napoléon there has been a law against it. Similarly expect to be turned back at the French border if the records show that you are a producer of blends mixing chardonnay with riesling. I am not exactly sure if there are sanctions against this kind of shenaningans but I was stopped in my tracks when I saw that Villa Tolnay blends Burgundy with Loire, oak with clay.

If you are a law-abiding traditionalist then simply keep away from it. If you are looking for some excuse to give it a try then think of it as an out-of-the-box, uber creative idea and if that doesn’t do the trick you can always turn to Émile Peynaud’s bon mot: „tradition is an experiment that worked”.

On my first encounter with this wine I was reminded of a donkra: the oak-aged, sweet toned chardonnay and the rough-hewn amphora-aged sauvignon blanc just wouldn’t mix. Then I tasted it again in summer, and the two elements seemed to have merged almost seamlessly. And by now they are pulling together. (Reading about the vinification you still can’t help but think of a mad scientist on the loose.)

An original wine that perhaps bears some resemblance to the great whites of Lake Balaton with their saline, taut and weighty character. Far removed from the easy appeal of fruits and flowers this is like a riddle that is hard to crack and makes you return over and over again to give it another go. There is weight, tension and punch. Completely dry, persistent finish. Even if it hurts you keep coming back for more. One of the best Hungarian whites on the market today.

7 points and 4450 Ft.

(Footnote: the late Harry Waugh was once asked if he had ever mistaken a Bordeaux for a Burgundy in a blind test, to which he replied: „Not since lunch”.)