Wines of the week: Hungarian white wine from Tempos Vega Sicilia, fresh red from cake bread and XO rum from Kirk and Sweeney

Posted on

It’s all too easy to get stuck in a wine groove, bursting baskets and caps from the same styles, regions or grape varieties with too much regularity. Of course, it can be challenging to branch out – there is more good wine from around the world at affordable prices than ever before, and it can be confusing and confusing. It makes sense that so many people tend to stick to the same things every time a drink is okay.

But to do so means to miss a literal world of unexpected joys in the glass. So my week’s white wine today is a phenomenal argument with a bottle to drink outside your comfort zone. Tempos Vega Sicilia Oremus Mandolás Furmint 2018 is a white wine that will not only challenge everything you thought you knew about Hungarian wine (for most of us, Hungary is synonymous with the wonderfully sweet and age-worthy Tokaji Aszú), but also likely to frame white wine in general.

It is made from Furmint, the large grape that is most famously sweet, but in this case it is fermented dry. The fruit was grown on the only Mandolás vineyard, fermented in new barrels and then matured in 136 liter barrels. The result is a transporting wine that is deeply mineral on the nose, with lemon blossom, almond blossom and subtle spice as well as a touch of beeswax. The palate is deeply concentrated with incredible cuts and flashes with flavors of beeswax, honey with lemon blossoms, almond skins and warm slate minerality that ring through the mouth-watering, salt-watering and impeccably balanced finish. This will age in the next decade (or two!), But it’s also phenomenal right now.

Pushing your drinking limits does not always require expanding your geographically borders; rather, it is often deeply rewarding to experience a well-known producer and region through the lens of a grape variety that is less widely associated with any of them. This week’s red wine, Cakebread Cellars Cabernet Franc 2018 Napa Valley, is exactly that kind of wine.

After all, Cakebread is one of the most well-known and highly respected producers of Cabernet Sauvignon (among other grape varieties) in a region without a lack of icons. But this first vintage’s release of their Cabernet Franc shows how deep the major producer’s work can also be with this one.

This remarkable Cab Franc was grown in Cakebread’s rocky Suscol Springs Vineyard, whose more southeastern situation in the Napa Valley makes it possible to take advantage of generally cooler temperatures that result in a wine of energy and lift. The juice was fermented in small steel tanks, matured for 17 months in French oak (of which 64% was new) and bottled in April last year. The presence of 19% Merlot and 5% Petit Verdot in the blend rounds it off and gives it depth and richness without masking the character of the marquis variety itself.

In the glass, its aromas of mocha are complicated by toasted, smoky vanilla and joined with nods in the direction of oolongte, hot rocks, brambly berries, lavender, violets and crust. These all precede the taste of cigarette tobacco, blackberries and black plums, plums, burnt soil, dried scrub-like herbs like charred rosemary and thyme, chocolate-caramel and a touch of grilled meat. This needs some time, but it is delicious with a little air and promises to continue to integrate and evolve at least in the early 2040s.

Finally, I can not highly recommend Kirk & Sweeney Dominican Rum XO Edición Limitada No. 2, a spectacular spirit crafted from black milk made from sugar cane harvested manually immediately south of the distillery in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. It was made from a range of rums up to 26 years old and matured in both French and American barrels before bottling. The result is a spirit of richness and elegance with layers of caramel and nougat, brown butter and almond pizzas. These aromas are subtly layered with caraway seeds and pineapple rhum baba, and all taste of cinnamon stick, allspice, salted caramel, dried fruit, the crispy top of a perfect vanilla crème brûlée as well as the hint of boiled honey. With a little water, the natural sweetness emerges, and a clean, silky texture reveals orange blossoms, honeysuckle, more sweet spice and a touch of caramel wrapped in chocolate. What a remarkable rum. It carries its 131 proof with true elegance. Only 2,000 bottles were produced and it’s worth snatching one up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Similar Posts