Drink This Now: Sparkling Hungarian Wine, Kiralyudvar Tokaji Pezsgo "Henye" 2008

Drink This Now: Sparkling Hungarian Wine, Kiralyudvar Tokaji Pezsgo "Henye" 2008
B. Rodell

Among the weird and wonderful wines produced in Hungary, Kiralyudvar 's Tokaji Furmint Sec has been a favorite of wine writers and wine geeks for years. Widely available and priced at around $20 a bottle retail, the dry tokaji, made primarily from furmint grapes, is all golden honey petrol goodness, fantastic with food and on its own.

So I was intrigued and surprised last week to come across a sparkling Kiralyudvar on the wine list at Gjelina. Apparently Kiralyudvar began producing sparkling wine in 2007 in small quantities.

Gjelina has the 2008 on its list, of which there was only 200 cases made. The Pezsgő is 85% furmint, and 15% hárslevelű, harvested from the company's biodynamic Henye vineyard, and was made in the "méthode traditionelle" style. It has some of the funky, honey characteristics of its furmint sec brethren wines on the nose, but it finishes creamy, toasty and dry.

At $60 on Gjelina's list and around $30 retail (if you can find it -- I had some luck on wine websites), this is a serious contender for best sparkling value around. I found it far more complex, elegant and interesting than many of the mass-produced Champagnes out there that cost significantly more.

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