Happy Furmint February! Wait, what? My spell checker has no idea what Furmint is, nor did I before my wine course. Now I know that it’s a white grape variety of Hungary, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite wine regions.
To celebrate, my husband and I headed to our favorite wine bar, Les Caves in NE Portland. It was a cold, wet day, but the intimate, subterranean Les Caves was warm and inviting. We settled onto our favorite bar stools and were introduced to Tim Davey, a masked man wearing a black baseball cap and Patagonia jacket. Tim is a distributor of French and Hungarian wines. We spent the night talking to him about volcanic soils, the history of Austro-Hungarian wine, and how he turned his love of wine into a career that allows him to share his passion with others.
As we spoke, we tasted the wine he’d brought from Wetzer, a Hungarian winery. One of the white wines we sampled, a Furmint, smelled and tasted like green apples, pineapple, and biscuits. The other white, a Gruner Veltliner, reminded me of a freshly baked croissant drizzled with honey. Then we transitioned to the reds, my favorite of which was made with Kékfrankos, another central European grape variety. This wine exploded with flavors of white pepper, red fruit leather, and bread.
We walked home tipsy from the rich conversation and the alcohol, especially since Tim kept topping up our glasses as we talked. My head paid the price the next day, but my spirit still sings from the experience.