Greg is currently dedicating his life to Tokaj, Hungary’s world renowned wine region. Having moved there out of genuine passion for the wine and the art of it, Greg currently spends his time learning about his favourite industry and working as a guide to the region. We are delighted to have Greg as our regional expert and look forward to all of his insights on the surprising wines of Tokaj!
Interview with Greg
When did you discover your passion for wine?
Well, quite late. As a matter of fact, I had been a teetotaller until I got married at the age of 33. My first encounter with wine was when my would-be wife, Krisztina, presented me a bottle of 6 puttonyos Tokaji Aszú shortly after I had proposed to her – and she’d said yes! Then a few years later I started my own electronic wine magazine, The Tokaji Journal, and moved to the Tokaj region when my wife took up a new job at the region’s Research Institute for Viticulture and Oenology.
What are the key highlights of Tokaj?
One is clearly Furmint, the dominant one of the six grape varieties authorised for Tokaji appellation, giving superb single-vineyard dry wines as well as Szamorodnis and Aszús, the natural sweet styles that made Tokaj famous centuries ago. Another is the culinary delights offered by an emerging restaurant scene: traditional Hungarian dishes with modern twists made from locally sourced ingredients. The Tokaj Wine Region is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Cultural Landscape, for its natural beauties and built heritage.
When are the best times to visit Tokaj?
Tokaj is a place to visit all year round. The landscape shows its best while vine leaves run the gamut from verdant green in late April or early May to bright yellow and frostbitten brown by mid-November. I can also think of Tokaj as a great destination for New Year’s Eve, and a January or February tasting of new wine from the previous year’s vintage can be a unique experience for the wine aficionado.
Do you have a personal favourite winery in the region?
Ábrahám Cellar in Erdőbénye. It is a down-to-earth winery that is run by a young couple with a background in philosophy and is set to become one of Tokaj’s leading producers in the coming decade. Expect no wood-panelled tasting rooms or fancy winemaking equipment – just a few hundred bottles of very stylish and individual dry wines from every vintage.
Finally, which wine region would you like to visit next?
Burgundy. Or Tuscany. Or perhaps the Jura region. I haven’t made up my mind yet.