Homonna "Estate Selection" Tokaji 2017
Dry white wine from Tokaji!
Tokaji (toe-KAY-ee) are the noble wines from the town of Tokaj, located in northeastern Hungary, bordering Slovakia, in the shadow of the Zemplen mountains on the bed of an extinct volcano. The volcanic soils and its wines have been revered for millennia.
One of the oldest delimited regions in the world, the boundaries and regulations for making Tokaji were first set out in 1730, a full 125 years prior to the classification of Bordeaux. The historic wines of Tokaji were enjoyed in the highest echelons of society, from Russian courts to French salons. Louis XIV is said to have called it vinum regum – “the wine of kings.” Just as noble as their dessert wines are their dry white wines, and Attila Hommona is crafting world-class whites from the native Furmint and Hárslevelű grapes, from his tiny 3.5-hectare eponymous estate.
He meticulously picks the grapes by hand and ferments them, from native yeast, in 250 and 500-liter barrels, akin to how they make wine in Burgundy. The parallels don’t stop there, either – in a recent tasting I was hard-pressed to not identify this as a fine Vouvray or Meursault.
The blend is 50/50 Furmint and Hárslevelű; with complementary aspects of aromatic depth and linear acidity, the two grapes have a push-pull tension that creates a whole greater than the sum of its parts.
The bouquet leaps from the glass, with orange flower water, white peach, nectarine pit, mint, and lemon balm. The palate is absolutely Bugundian in its texture and viscosity, with mineral oil and flavors of round stone fruits, mint, gunflint, and mineral grip to the blossom-infused, layered finish.
Attila Hommona (no relation to the infamous Hun) farms a mere 3.5 hectares (less than ten acres) of vines in the village of Erdőbénye, population of 1000, a few kilometers from the town of Tokaj itself. Attila resists classification, but his wines are no doubt world-class, organic, minimalist and intensely expressive examples of Hungary’s finest dry whites. This is a masterful white wine on par with the finest in the world that you should not miss.