Pet – Sabar Olaszrizling Birtokbor 2017

When you fall in love with something it’s a bit like adopting it. Not the best stance for a critic but I have comforted myself by the thought that it’s a sign of still being passionate about wine. I loved the 2016 Sabar Olaszrizling so much that not only have I emptied at least a dozen bottles over the last 18 months but I have also got protective about it: I was frightened by the idea that some people might diss it. The 2017 lets me out from this self-imposed cage of affection.

Initially I was worried about the possible ill effects of the scorching heat in summer, but after the first sip I realized that it was the oak I should have been concerned about. Only one third of the wine was aged in barrels but it was enough to remind me how in general I dislike oaky whites. Fortunately after a while the smell of wood lost its intensity and my guess is that come next summer it will be completely integrated.

The 2017 Sabar Olaszrizling is a charming wine that manages to be attractive without resorting to cheap tricks. Well-defined and intense nose: ripe pears and peaches, honey, wild flowers, herbs and some raw wood. Great mouthfeel, quite concentrated, creamy and lively. It may contain a bit of RS which helps to highlight the juicy stone fruit character. Starting from mid-palate there is a fine almond-like bitterness that leads to a long and satisfying finish. Balanced, delicious, this is a well-made wine showing the most beguiling side of the variety.

6 points and excellent value for 6 euros.