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White Hungary under £10

Find out who one this year's regional trophy. And the winner is...

Szent István Korona Irsai Olivér 2010

Irsai Olivér is a grape few people outside Hungary will have heard of – and learning that it’s a cross of Csaba’s Pearl and Pozsonyi doesn’t exactly help. What drinkers do need to know is that it’s gently grapey, floral and Muscat-like (actually a grandparent), and, when made well, it gives delightful pretty summery wines.  

This wine is made by Gábor Laczkó who, aged just 34, is the youngest winemaker at Törley, one of Hungary’s biggest producers. He studied food technology to start with but fell in love with wine through spending summer holidays visiting wine cellars with fellow students. Trips to Argentina and South Africa helped him to broaden his vision, though he notes, “we have to accept that we can only support Hungarian viticulture by consuming Hungarian wines.”

The Szent István Korona (St Stephen’s crown) range is his responsibility and he says “my aim is to make refreshing wines at affordable prices.” This is a wine that does exactly that, and that’s no small achievement in the cool, rain-drenched 2010 vintage, one of Hungary’s worst for years.

However, what made it a trophy winner is that it shows something that is relatively rare in wines in this price category: a true sense of place. It comes from just 14 hectares of vineyards in the rolling hill of Etyek-Buda. Here the cool climate and chalky subsoil give wines a fabulous, crisp acidity and mineral backbone – exactly what this grape needs to lift it above just pretty summer drinking, and all for a very affordable price.”

Ex cellars 1.50 Euros

Written by Caroline Gilby MW

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