Going for a song – Tornai Prémium Juhfark 2017

I’m as happy as the next guy to find a good wine at a reasonable price. However once in a blue moon the wine is more than good and the price is less than reasonable and this is when my happiness gets laced with remorse: I feel sorry for the winemaker, as if the world has let him/her down by failing to appreciate their achievements. I feel like witnessing a mugging and then helping myself to the spoils left around.

It happened twice this summer that my happy discovery turned sour. The first occasion was while sipping the 2016 Cotes du Rhone of Domaine Durieu, the other while tasting the 2017 Tornai Prémium Juhfark. The latter was on sale in August at Lidl for as little as 4 euros. First I was delighted to find this wine on sale as the previous two vintages were both excellent and if I had any doubts about how and why it ended up there they were immediately dispelled when I tasted it. The next day, finishing off the rest of the bottle, delight started to give way to puzzlement: how on earth could a wine made from a most unique variety grown in what is probably Hungary’s greatest terroir end up in the sales bin (metaphorically speaking) of a discount supermarket chain. And it’s not as if this was the yet undiscovered gem of a no-name winery, actually it is one of the most successful Hungarian wines at international competitions (International Wine Challenge Trophy winner in 2017 and regularly winning accolades wherever it is entered).

But what it’s like? The nose is intense, attractive and at the same time highly typical. One gets the mineral, ferrous spring water-like character so many Somló wines seem to share which is then overlayed by rich apricot and notes of underbrush and truffles (a sign of botrytis?). The dynamic palate is choke-full of flavours, the fairly lush texture is coupled with complex acidity. Great balance. The midpalate boasts some sweet and ripe fruit (peaches and tropical fruit) mixed with saline sensations carried through the lively and long finish. A well-made wine that keeps in check the often rustic character of the variety without giving up on excitement and vitality.

Two days later we returned to buy some more but there was none left. First I was upset but then the realization that there are people in my shopping vicinity who recognize quality and appreciate value cheered me up.

6 points and at full price it’s still only 7 euros. A best buy by all means.