Juhfark - Ewe's tail or Sheep's tail

A Hungarian indigenous variety

Katalin Kiszel-Kohari - July 30, 2019

I do love Lidl's selection of wine. Whoever buys for them, definitely thinking out of the box and knows his or her trade. I know that is always slightly risky, but hey, it makes me very happy! Great prices and lovely new finds! So my little wonder today was this peculiarly christened grape.

The name Juhfark looks rather odd, and it covers a white Hungarian grape variety. It takes its name after the long, cylindrical shape of the grape bunches. You can find it almost exclusively in the Somló-wine region in North-West of Hungary. This is the smallest wine region in Hungary. Its fame was used to compare to Tokaj's reputation.

The climate is moderately warm, rather windy, as it is near to the Alps. The Somló Hill itself is a dormant volcano, so the soil is a mix of basalt, loess and some sand. The grape yields a bone dry, very mineral wine with high, crisp acidity, medium to full-body. It ages well and it has neutral flavour which is not necessarily a bad thing. Chardonnay is famously neutral too and it can nicely reflect terroir or oak. Pinot Grigio is remarkably flavourless not just neutral, and unbelievably popular, so again neutral is not bad in this context.

Thanks to the high acidity levels, you really do not want to over chill this wine. 13°C-15°C and you are good to go, otherwise it can be unpleasantly sharp. The vinification process used to be oxidative and Hungarian oak barrels were used for maturation, but nowadays is more likely to get a reductive wine made in stainless steel vats. It is a wine that can age well and develop complex flavours.

The one I have tasted was a cold fermented and reductive wine with freshness, richness, good acidity and beautiful terroir reflecting character. Not very fruity, but has an appealing citrus aroma.

Traditionally the members of the Habsburg dynasty had this wine on their wedding nights. According to popular and traditional view, this is the wine for nuptial nights (in Hungarian: nászéjszakák bora) as it makes the man (How can I put this delicately?) very able to conceive a male heir. I believe this theory is still awaiting to be proved. Nonetheless, Hungary is a country where you can find wine for any, I mean really any, occasion or purpose.