Are we beggars here in Ontario at the mercy of state monopoly Liquor Control Board of Ontario? A dearth of Eastern European wines. I suppose the money trail leads to California, Italy and France. Eastern Europe is too risky. God help us if Polish Pinot Noir floods the market!
The LCBO gods throw us, the curious, a Hungarian red. It is a blend of Merlot (60%), Blaufrankish (30%), Pinot Noir (5%), Cabernet Sauvignon (3%) and Zweigelt (2%). It matured for 8 months in Hungarian oak barrels.
Aroma: Earthy and smoky in the harem of Sultan Wine. Move beyond this initiality it lands somewhere between a Marechal Foch and a Baco Noir but it is the Blaufrankish speaking.
Palate: Light on its feet with some black cherry and cranberry lurking around or better said lolling in the oak. Some wandering fragments of oak intermingled with coal. Tannins are on the high moderate meter.
Personality: If you were in 1974 Budapest when the Communists were in power and you knocked at the door of a “private club” in the right part of Budapest you might have seen me in the shadows in a dimly lit table smoking Russian cigarettes. I have a husky voice and am full of mysteries.
Food Match: For some reason I think of my favourite New York common people bistro Les Deux Amis. This would suit a “Bucky Burger” perfectly for a Sunday brunch. I can be stereotypical and say eat with Hungarian goulash over noodles. I have had my fill in Hungary of goulash as a poor student.
Cellarbility: This is a twisty turny wine and hard to read. I would say drink in 2023 but the smoke and Hungarian wood just might improve into 2026 or descend into hell.
In a nutshell: Easy peasy to blow this one off but be a bit patient and inquisitive and you have a complex and difficult wine to deal with. This does not mean it wins a “gold medal” as you must pay for that but go Hungarian wild and enjoy.
RKS 2023 Wine Rating: 88/100. David Lawrason 89.
(Kuria Red 2017, Transdanubian PGI, Etyeki Kúria, Etyek, Hungary, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 21272, 750 mL, 14%).