We have spent the last few days at at a wonderful traditional Hungarian peasant house in Magyarpolány. Magyarpolány is situated not so far from the Somló wine region, hence we've not missed it :)
Somló wine region:
The smallest wine region in Hungary lies on the slopes of Somló hill on the one hand and those of KisSomlyó and Ság hills on the opposite side of Marcal baisin. The particularity of the region lies in the fact that vine is grown here even on the northern slopes of Somló, which means that vineyards reach around and actually embrace the hill slopes. The equalizing effect of Lake Balaton is hardly felt here. It looks as if vine grew right from the basalt rocks in many places so the mineral quality of wines is even more pronounced than in other regions around Balaton. This is why anyone ever tasting Somló wines will always recognise it / will never mistake it for another one. Although the climate is free from the extremes, the area is rather windy. A moderately warm summer is followed by a long warm autumn and a relatively mild winter. Somló hill used to be an active volcano, which is today a real basalt hill with a symmetric shape an the volcanic base rock is covered with remains of lava.
Varieties of grapes and wines:
Wines grown here are fiery and rich in extracts and alcohol; they are primarily recommended for slow consumption.They are par excellence aged wines, which means that they characteristically show their real aromas only after two years of aging but are at their best after being aged in oak barrels for four years. The leading varietal is Olaszrizling in the region, followed by Chardonnay, Hárslevelű, Furmint, Rizlingszilváni, Juhfark, Rajnai rizling, Ezerjó, Tramini and Bánáti rizling. This is the only region where Juhfark is grown in a considerable quantity.
The area has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. Early man was attracted here by the opportunities offered by the brook Séd. Growing vine on the side/slopes of the inactive / sleeping volcano was probably started in Roman times. The first written document referring to winemaking dates from the 11th century. On the sunny slopes grapes often start to desiccate to turn aszú, and on the quondam church vineyards here even aszú wines were being made. One of the leading varietals of the wine region, Furmint was brought here by Italian settlers after the Mongol invasion int he 13th century. Till the mid-seventeenth century the sick were treated with wine int he absence of a doctor. Somlói, the Wedding-night Wine was a favoured drink of the Habsburgs because the it was reputed to assure male progeny for the ones tasting it on their wedding-night. That time wines from the region rivalled Tokaji wines in reputation. By now, the special indigenous varietals of yore has been replaced or at least supplanted by high-yielding kinds that are not really suitable for making quality wine. One of the most important challenges of the present is the structure of property, with a predominance of too small estates. A more reasonable and efficient division of property is under way and slowly everything gets together for the rebirth of great Somlói wine.
Somló is the name of the hill, the Castle and wine region and "somlói" menas the somlói galuska and the wine in the same time. Of course we tried the authentic somlói, it was delicious :)