Eastern European wines are more widely enjoyed than ever these days! But with this infusion of amazing indigenous grape varietals comes a certain amount of confusion. What the heck does furmint taste like? If I'm a Pinot Noir lover, which Armenian grape will I like best? Great questions! Consider this post your entry point into lesser-known wines from Eastern Europe.
Enjoy the journey!
Winemaking has been a part of Hungary's history dating back to the Romans. The country boasts 22 different wine regions and is most famous for the Tokaj region's aszú—a sweet and golden-hued wine made from the furmint grape—which was hugely popular among European royalty for centuries. Seasons of war, plague, and Communist rule have sent Hungary's wine industry on a rollercoaster of changes, but today, many Hungarian winemakers are once again turning toward small, low-intervention, family-run operations that value quality over quantity.
Hungarian wines can seem a bit tricky to navigate because...
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Right now, in June of 2020, the words skin contact might totally freak you out. Social distancing is a thing, staying extra safe is on all of our minds, and the thought of touching another human being is suddenly a frought thought indeed.
But we're not here to talk about that! On THIS blog, we're talking skin contact as it applies to wine. Wine! What a happy topic.
Soooo, what is skin contact wine, anyway?
It's super simple. Skin contact wines are white wines that are made more like red wines.
The big difference between making a white wine and a red wine lies in the fermentation process. With a white wine, the winemaker presses the grapes and then removes the pomace (all of the residual solids, like seeds, grape skins, etc.) before fermenting the juice in a tank or other vessel. When making red wine, the winemaker will allow that pomace to hang out in the fermentation vessel with the juice, giving them more time to macerate. All of those lovely seeds and skins impart several things...