Music to my Taste Buds

Music to my Taste Buds

Harmony + Balance = Szóló

When you taste the wines of Szóló, you wouldn’t think they’d only been making wine since 2013!

Tímea Éless is part of a new generation of Tokaj wine makers. The Szóló Parlando is a small production wine - less than 350 bottles are produced. It’s a blend of 80% Furmint and 20% Hárslevelü. From the vineyards in Bártfai, Tállya, Tímea proves that these grapes are able to make excellent dry wines too.

Hungary has recently seen a huge rise in high quality wineries emerging across the country, where the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity. The famous region of Tokaj has seen the biggest changes. Although the region was classified by royal decree, Tokaj-Hegyalja (to give it its official name) has realised that in an ever competitive wine world, they need to produce more than the delicious sweet wines they’re so famous for. To this end, many wineries have started producing dry style wines.

Szóló Fine Wines is the ‘new kid on the block’. It has 7 hectares in Dukát, Tökösmály, Bártfai, Héteny, Palota and Sipos vineyards. Despite the fact that it’s first vintage was in 2014, Szóló has already secured its place on the wine lists of a number of Michelin starred restaurants.

The wines are made according to organic principles by Tímea Éless, who runs and owns the winery together with her husband Tamás. The wines are spontaneously fermented from the yeast inherent on the grapes and in the cellar. In the vineyards, they use integrated viticulture. The aim is to keep the vitality of the vineyard at a high level to increase its ability to be resistant to disease. This means that fewer pesticides are needed. Szóló has always cultivated in harmony with nature and use minimal amounts of chemicals and no synthetic pesticides. The ultimate goal is balance and harmony between man and nature.

Furmint is at the heart of everything they do. Tímea believes it’s a variety that can succeed on its own. Szóló also does a lot of work with Hárslevelü.

Szóló believes that music and wine go hand in hand (I agree!). In choosing the names of the wines, they had a simple idea “we try to express in our wines the harmony inherent in music, relying on a common language, universally understood”. Parlando is a musical term meaning to sing in a speaking type of song. It’s used from préludes to formal arias. The rhythm of the spoken word is incorporated into the melody. They also have an off-dry Hárslevelü called Piano - which as a piano teacher I find particularly intriguing!

So what does the Parlando taste like?

In a word, this wine is....divine! In the glass, the wine has a deep, yellow colour with concentrated golden edges. The nose has an intoxicating perfume. It opens with yellow apples and cooked pear but it’s the apricot, orange blossom, vanilla and wild honey that steal the show. This heady aroma permeates the wine and your senses, reminding you that life is fundamentally good! The top of the nose is sprinkled with golden raisins, Seville oranges and marzipan.

The palate reflects the nose perfectly and holds true to its promise. There is precise angular acidity which provides great structure to the wine and a flint like minerality which creates a sense of balance. The wine has a long finish dominated by more Seville oranges, wild honey and vanilla.

As a piano teacher, rather than pair wine with food I pair wine with classical music. My music pairing for this wine is a piece that is deeply romantic, life affirming and captures the essence of this wine perfectly. It’s the second movement (Adagio-Molto Sostenuto) from Mendelssohn’s second Piano Concerto in D minor Op.40. The way the orchestra and piano mirror each other reflects how the nose and palate are aligned.

This beautiful wine has exposed me to more of what Hungary has to offer and made me very excited to try the rest of the Szóló range.

Order your bottle of Parlando now, we deliver it free!

Blog posted by Simon – Follow him on Instagram

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