Thursdays @The Tasting Table
This is when we get to introduce some of the fascinating people who we cross paths with while exploring the region’s food and wine. We invite them into our open kitchen to cook, or into our tasting room to share their wines. Our guest hosts can include chefs, winemakers, authors, sommeliers, photographers, food enthusiasts, or others who are doing fascinating things in the food and wine world. At these casual evenings, with somewhat of a speakeasy vibe, everyone gathers around our two big communal tables. Tamás (our chef) prepares the meals and food is served family-style. Wine is poured generously. These Thursday evenings are all about enjoying great food, wine, and company.
Price: 9,900 HUF per person
Note: We are happy to accommodate dietary restrictions, food allergies, and vegetarian substitutes, but we must know in advance! All of our events are always in English. Menus may be changed due to availability of ingredients.
All guests receive 10% off of all wines purchased at the Tasting Table on the night of the event!
As the weather cools, we’re finding ourselves dreaming about red wines from southern Hungary. So we are so happy to have Stier Winery as our guest winery this week. Stier is one of the newer wineries in Villány, but has made its mark with some truly stunning wines made from the Villány varietals—kékfrankos, cabernet franc merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. The winery is unusual in that it owns very little vineyard area, and prefers to focus its energy on sourcing the top quality grapes to purchase (a strategy which has so far proven successful). Villány is the warmest wine region of the country and is also well known for being the first region to switch from quantity to quality after the fall of the communist regime. The region is known for its blends, and full-bodied red wines—which is what Stier will be presenting us with tonight (we’ll save the whites for another time!). With its 70,000 bottles of annual top-quality production, Stier is a winery to keep an eye on in Villány. At the moment it is relatively undiscovered, but its wines are in perfect shape and ready to be enjoyed … and many of them are also sturdy enough for laying down for many years. Join us for an evening of wonderful food, wine, and company!
Seasonal Roasted Mushroom Salad
Beef cheeks with Red Wine Sauce, Egg Barley (Tarhonya), and Pickles
Plum Lepény (Tart)
Kékfrankos Rosé 2016
Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Villányi Franc 2013
Villányi Cuvée 2009
Save the Dates ...
Thursday November 2nd
Winemaker Dinner with Szabolcs Újfalussy from Oremus
(Tokaj) with a St. Martin’s Day Goose Feast
Thursday November 16th
Introduction to Bull’s Blood (Bikavér) with Robert with Smyth (wine journalist and author of Hungarian Wine)
Thursday November 30th
Winemaker Dinner with Horst Hummel (Villány)
Thursday December 14th
Traditional Christmas Dinner Royal Tokaji (Tokaj)
We’re kicking off the fall season with our friend, Zsolt Berger, and his wonderful wines from Erdőbénye (Tokaj region). Zsolt and his wife, Szilvia, run the small Karádi – Berger Winery, which focuses on dry wines like the single varietal furmints from the Palandor and Narancsi vineyards, which we will taste. The winery is located in a house which once belonged to an Armenian wine merchant from Transylvania, which the couple bought and painstakingly renovated over the past several years. While Zsolt’s wines are more on the modern side for Tokaj, his is one of the few wineries to still regularly produce dry Szamorodni, a wine reminiscent of a fine Jura or a dry sherry. It’s a must-taste wine for anyone who enjoys discovering truly unique wines. Made from a mix of regular grapes and botrytised grapes, the fermentation under flor and the lengthy aging give it an interesting spectrum of yeasty and toasty flavors and an intense aroma of fresh green walnuts. Zsolt’s dry szamorodni is as traditional as they come. This style of wine has been neglected for decades, but as you’ll taste, there is a good reason for bringing it back (and we are so glad that Zsolt is making this wine!). As always, chef Tamás will prepare something seasonal to pair with these special wines. Join us to hear the story of Zsolt’s winery, the terroir of the vineyards around Erdőbénye, and how he makes these wonderful wines. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to go visit for yourself for the village’s annual wine festival, which Zsolt organizes!
Dry Szamorodni 2010
Mixed salad with goat cheese, grapes, walnuts, and honey
Rooster stew with túróscsusza (pasta with curd cheese)
Quince bread pudding (máglyarakás)
Join us as wine writer Robert Smyth, author of the book Hungarian Wine: A Tasting Trip to the New Old World, introduces kékfrankos, Hungary’s most planted red variety. Though this varietal is perhaps better know across the Austrian border, where it’s called Blaufrankisch and is synonymous with the Burgenland region, these days it is also increasingly being taken more seriously in Hungary. The Sopron region—which lies across the border from Burgenland—dubs itself the “Kékfrankos Capital” and is home to several wineries in which winemakers commute across the border, making wines on both sides. But the grape is grown in many regions around Hungary. While Robert discusses the various terroirs where kékfrankos is grown, and how its style varies from region to region, we’ll taste our way through eight wines—starting with a rosé and including a Bikavér (Bull’s Blood), as kékfrankos is one of the components of that blend. Generally kékfrankos is a medium-bodied wine, which can really vary from region to region. It is often really fruity, and is full of sour cherries, cranberries, plums, blackberries, and black cherries. Its fruitiness and good acidity make it a great choice for rosé, and there are plenty of excellent ones in Hungary. Kékfrankos is a wine which could often easily have good aging potential (resulting in some seriously complex wines). But as a young new/old winemaking country, Hungary doesn’t have a lot of mature wines sitting around to taste. The best ones disappear quickly, and winemakers need the cash to keep going. So for now we have to use our imagination in this area! Tonight as you become experts on kékfrankos, you’ll taste your way around the best kékfrankos’ of Hungary. Along with the wine, we’ll serve a variety of small snacks (like local cheese, ham, charcuterie, oils, and dips). Join us to learn why kékfrankos is a Hungarian wine to keep on your radar!
8 glasses of kékfrankos
A spread of local cheese, ham, charcuterie, oils, and dips
It is hard to believe that with just 3.5 hectares of vineyards in Somló, Béla Fekete (also known as “Béla Bácsi,” or “Uncle Béla”) became one of Hungary’s truly legendary winemakers. He was one of the old-school originals—famous for barrel-aging his wines for many longer than most other wines coming from this volcanic hill. When Fekete decided to retire a few years ago he faced the question of what to do with his winery. His family didn’t want to continue, so he searched for investors who would be keen to continue the traditions he started decades before. He found investors—three good friends (Ákos, György, and Gábor)—who were passionate about Somló and continuing the Fekete Béla Winery with as few interruptions and changes as possible, doing whatever they could in the same ways as Fekete. Along with a winemaker, these guys are now running the estate (still under Béla Bácsi’s supervision, though). Fekete set high standards, and his wines are consistently a dark golden color, strong, and thick with minerality. They are amongst the best from Somló, and are wines that will be etched into your memories. Tonight one of these new members of the Béla Fekete Estate will join us to introduce this iconic winery and the Somló region, tell us the story of how this group of friends ended up owning this important Hungarian winery, and tell us what it’s like to work with the legendary Béla Bácsi! We’ll taste seven wines, paired with some seasonal dishes prepared by Chef Tamás. Some of the wines we’ll taste were still made by Béla Bácsi, while a few are newer ones made by the new winemaker. In the summer heat, these stone cold wines will be perfect. Don’t miss it!
Seasonal fruit soup
Veal pörkölt (stew) with dumplings and fresh salad
Vanilla ice cream roasted pumpkin seeds and pumpkin seed oil
In the heart of the summer, we love to drink Tokaj wine. So we’ve invited winemaker/ estate manager Ádám Molnár from Bardon Winery as our guest this week. Bardon is located in the village of Erdőbénye—a special place in the middle of the Tokaj wine region, surrounded by forests. The winery owns nine hectares of vineyards and was founded in 2007 with the mission of making dry and crisply elegant white wines, along with the some of the traditional Tokaji sweet wines like szamorodni and aszú. Ádám will introduce us to a number of Bardon’s wines, starting with the single varietal furmint and hárslevelű, followed by different vintages of the blends Alpha and Omega. We’ll finish on a sweet note with special tastes of their sweet szamorodni and aszú, which are from vintage 2013 and have not been released yet. Ádám has traveled around the world as a student of winemaking, working vintages in vineyards from Burgundy to New Zealand. He’ll share some of his international wine adventures with us, and relate how he brought home what he learned abroad to apply here at home in Hungary. Of course, he’ll also introduce us to life in the beautiful village of Erdőbénye, the different vineyards which Bardon works (like Lapis, Meszes, and Sarkad), and the various types of wines made in Tokaj. In our open kitchen Chef Tamás will be preparing dinner to match these food-friendly wines. Join us for another special evening of learning, tasting some special wines, and enjoying a great dinner with new friends!
Salad with duck breast, balsamic vinaigrette, and berries
Crispy pork belly with layered potatoes, mushrooms, and spinach
Bardon Meszes Furmint, 2015
Bardon Hárslevelű, 2015
Bardon Alpha, 2013
Bardon Alpha, 2012
Bardon Omega, 2012
Bardon Szamorodni, 2013
Bardon Aszú, 2013
When it’s summer in Hungary thoughts (including ours) turn to Balaton. So we’ve invited Tamas Kovács, the young winemaker from Szent Donát Winery in Csopak, a lovely village on the northern side of the lake. We are excited to bring this iconic Hungarian lake and its vineyards closer by welcoming Tamas at The Tasting Table. His family has deep roots at Lake Balaton and the nearby Káli Basin region, having been involved in making wine there for centuries. His own winery was founded in 2001, and it has grown to include more than ten hectares of vineyards in Csopak and on the nearby Tihány Peninsula (which is famed for its fields of lavender). The winery produces 25,000 to 30,000 bottles a year, and is considered to be amongst one of the best in the region (and the country), particularly noted for its Olaszrizlings (Welschriesling). What we especially love about Szent Donát is that it focuses on the old school varietals of Csopak, and it makes a number of terroir-based wines from the signature varietal of the region: Olaszrizling. Olaszrizling is the most widely planted white grape in Hungary, and it’s also a wine which we wish more winemakers would take seriously. For Hungarians it is associated with Northern Balaton, long summers at the lake, and drinking fröccs (spritzers) in the sun. Szent Donát’s wines prove that there is much to appreciate about this terroir, and that Olaszrizling can be much more complex than the easy-drinking summer wine it’s often categorized as. Tonight chef Tamás will also bring the Balaton feeling to the kitchen. We’ll start with chilled fruit soup, another Hungarian summertime favorite. And we’ll feast on fogas, Hungary’s delicious pike perch (served with Olaszrizling sauce and seasonal vegetables). Join us for this special evening of learning about (and tasting) Balaton, and getting to know Olaszrizling through one of its winemakers who does it best.
Cold fruit soup
Whole baked fogas (pike perch) with spinach, mushroom, potatoes, and Olaszrizling sauce
Linzer with cream cheese and summer berries
Csopak Olaszrizling, 2015
Meszes Olaszrizling, 2015
Márga Furmint, 2015
Slikker Olaszrizling, 2015
Kishegy Olaszrizling, 2015
Magma Kékfrankos, 2015
Join us as wine writer Robert Smyth, author of the book Hungarian Wine: A Tasting Trip to the New Old World, introduces furmint, one of the flagship wines of Hungary. Hungarians have always loved furmint, but these days it’s more popular than ever. It grows in several regions in Hungary (as well as in other nearby countries), but really dominates in Tokaj and Somló. We’ll taste several furmints in various styles from these two regions, as well as one from Northern Balaton, where it grows in small quantities. Robert will explain how furmint’s characteristics—being a late-ripening varietal with sharp acidity and strong tannins—make it excellent for sweet wine production (it is the backbone of the world famous aszú, Hungary’s famed sweet wine). As one of Hungary’s leading wine writers, Robert has tasted countless furmints, and has seen how styles have evolved over the years as dry furmint has boomed in popularity. The real beauty of furmint is its versatility. It’s a grape that can result in very different wines depending on its terroir, when it was harvested, the winemaking process, and its aging. Some furmints have crisp acidity and grapefruit aromas, making them perfect aperitifs. Furmint can also result in medium-bodied, oak-aged wines which go well with roasts or stews. In Somló’s volcanic soil, furmint makes a heavier wine with flinty aromas that recall the smell of wet stones after it rains. Tonight we’ll sample a range of these furmint styles, as Robert explains why this year has been dubbed “the year of furmint” in Hungary.
A generous selection of local artisan cheese, charcuterie, and spreads.
Pelle Tokaji Pezsgő Brut Nature, 2013
Zsadányi Görbe, 2013
Szent Donát Márga Furmint, 2015
Somlói Vándor Furmint, 2015
Bott Frigyes Furmint 2015
Oremus Mandolás 2007 or 2013
Hétszőlő 5p Aszú 2008
“These are wines of consequence; demanding and authoritative. The best can age for decades,” writes John Szabo, a Canadian-Hungarian Master Sommelier, about Somló wines in his recently published Volcanic Wines book. Tonight we will taste some of these wines with Kreinbacher Winery, one of Somló’s largest. Kreinbacher was founded in the early 2000s and now own 40 hectares of vineyards on Somló hill (which is a rarity in this region where most producers work on just a few hectares). Somló’s history started four to five million years ago when solidified volcanic lava emerged from the soil of the ancient dried-out Pannonian Sea, creating a basalt hill made of steel-hard volcanic rock. This is today’s Somló hill, which sticks out from the rest of the landscape because of it’s flat cap. Its hillsides are covered with vineyards and small houses, mainly used as weekend houses for the vineyard owners. There are just a handful of permanent residents. In addition to making lovely versions of signature Somló varietals like furmint, juhfark, tramini, and olaszrizling, Kreinbacher has also become well-known for some its wines which are not typical of the region. Its syrah (one of the few reds made on the hill) has been widely praised, and lately Kreinbacher has been in the limelight for its traditional method sparkling wines (made with the help of a French consultant from Champagne). This sparkling wine is a favorite at The Tasting Table, and we are in full agreement (with many others) that it’s probably Hungary’s best sparkling wine. We’ll taste these delicious bubbles, among others. For dinner tonight, Chef Tamás will be highlighting some of our wonderful local cheese with a special cheese menu. Join us to taste these beautiful volcanic wines, and to learn about the Somló region from the perspective of its largest winery.
Smoked trout with potato salad
Grilled gomolya duo with a mixed salad
Brut Classic NV
Öreg tőkék bora 2008
Prestige Brut Magnum 2011
We talk a lot about Hungarian wine, and not enough about another exciting part of the drink scene in Hungary—the rise of craft beer. While big name beer companies dominate the market, drinking beer in Hungary has become more interesting because of the recent boom in small-scale brewing. Our beer expert (who also guides beer tours for Taste Hungary and leads beer tastings at The Tasting Table), Carsten Olm, is our guest tonight. He has immersed himself not only in all aspects of the local beer scene—like knowing all of the best beer joints and the latest product releases—but also in the science of beer brewing (he’s a home brewer). Carsten will introduce us to nine really special local beers which are barely found outside of Budapest. In addition to telling us about how this craft beer revolution started in Hungary, he’ll also go into some background about beer production and methods, the differences between styles, and unusual ingredients (such as coffee and Tokaji aszú). There are micro-breweries across the country, too many craft beers to count, craft beer festivals, bars (and trucks) dedicated to craft beer, and legions of loyal fans. There’s everything from pale ale, stout, and wheat beer to a variety of fruit beers and local specialties. By the end of the evening you’ll have a good understanding about how this all happened. You’ll be able to answer the questions: how is beer made, what makes good beer, and who makes good beer in Hungary? Wine and food pairing gets plenty of attention, and tonight chef Tamás will prepare us a meal proving that beer and food pairing is an equally exciting idea.
Selection of sausage (white, chorizo, mini Debreceni) with mustard, horseradish, bread, and arugula salad
Crispy beer roasted pork tenderloin, sage roasted potatoes, roasted tomatoes and fennel
Chocolate linzer cake with tonka beans and berry sauce
Hedon Vertigo (lager with Amarillo hops)
Horizont Japanese Wheat (German style wheat beer with Japanese Sorachi Ace hops)
Hedon Credo (IPA, SMaSH — single malt and single hop)
Legenda Sour Trois Cuvée (sour beer)
Coffee beer (TBA)
Hedon Charlie Firpo (rye APA)
MONYO Black Alligator (dark Saison with alligator pepper)
Horizont Vanilla Milk Porter
Imperial Stout (TBA)
Northwest Hungary holds some of Hungary’s smallest wine regions—namely Somló, Etyek, Pannonhalma, and Mór—and this week we’ll be focusing on the tiny Mór region. Though Mór is only about an hours drive from Budapest, in the rolling Transdanubian hills, it’s still little-known (even in Hungary). This week we are welcoming our first-ever winemaker from this region, Krisztina Csetvei, who is seen as one of the region’s rising stars. In her previous life Krisztina studied engineering and business, and had a short and successful corporate career. In 2011 she decided to follow her passion for wine and started a winery in Mór which is now in its fifth harvest. Chef Tamás has long been telling us about the big feasts he cooks for Krisztina at an annual party at her cellar in Mór. Mór is a largely white wine producing region, and Tamás likes to prepare light dishes that really let the wine shine. As we taste six of Krisztina’s wines—including ezerjó, the flagship wine of this obscure region—she’ll tell us the story of what it takes to build a winery from scratch, and why she chose to do it in the Mór region. If you never heard of these grapes, come and join us to taste and learn about these local curiosities!
Asparagus salad with herbs
Roasted chicken with tarragon butter and lime, new potatoes and chives
Móri Királyleányka 2015
Móri Ezerjó 2015
Móri Chardonnay 2015
Móri Szürkebarát 2015
Nagy-Somlói Olaszrizling 2015
We first met Tamás Kis several years ago when he was an assistant winemaker at St. Andrea Winery in Eger. As he masterfully discussed the Eger region, he revealed his dream of starting a boutique cellar in a very different wine region. He wanted to make wine in Somló—his favorite region in Hungary—and it didn’t take him too long to realize his dream. Tamás made his first barrel of wine in Somló in 2010, and has increased the quantity every year since. He split his time between Somló and Eger for years, which is how he came up with his winery’s name—Somlói Vándor translates as “The Wanderer of Somló.” The region is Hungary’s second smallest wine region, and it pretty much comprises one vineyard-covered hill. Somlói Vándor is a promising winery to watch. Somló produces some of Hungary’s most exciting wines, yet it’s also a region which is steeped in traditions. Somló is one of the two volcanic Hungarian regions where furmint is a dominant grape variety (Tokaj is the other). It’s also home to unique local grapes like olaszrizling (welschriesling), juhfark, and hárslevelű. Though almost exclusively white wines are produced in Somló, don’t assume that these are lightweight wines! These are full-bodied and complex wines. With their heavy minerality and sharp acidity, these wines stand up to the roasted duck which chef Tamás will serve. Join us to learn about this undiscovered terroir with winemaker Tamás Kis, while tasting wines from his portfolio.
Duck breast salad with balsamic vinaigrette and berries
Rabbit in game sauce with bread pudding
Aranygaluska (yeast-raised dumplings) with wine sauce
Sauvignon blanc 2015
While the name Jackfall might suggest a big winery in California, Australia, or some other English-speaking country, the name Jackfall is actually the old Swabian name of the Kisjakabfalva village, located in the Villány region. Tonight we welcome the Jackfall Winery as our guests. Owner Gábor Jandrasics and winemaker András Kőszeli will join us to present the winery, the region, and a selection of their wonderfully elegant wines (to accompany the meal prepared by chef Tamas). Founded in 2001, the winery took the name Jackfall (pronounced Yaackfahl), and now works on more than 13 hectares of vineyards. This southernmost Hungarian wine region is known for its elegant full-bodied red wines, particularly Bordeaux varietals and blends. Jackfall produces about 100,000 bottles of wine annually, in a wide range of styles from light chardonnay and crisp rosé to elegant Portugieser and heavier reds like cabernets and merlots. Winemaking in Villány actually traces back to the ancient Roman times, but the region’s modern wine culture goes back to the German-speaking settlers sent here in the 1700s by Maria Theresa. Many of the descendants of these settlers still live in the region, and some are winemakers—like József Bock, who was actually born in the house where the Jackfall winery is located today, who became one of the pioneers of modern-day Hungarian winemaking in the 1990s after the fall of Communism. Join us for an evening of good food and Villány wines from Jackfall!
Guinea fowl consommé with vegetables
Roasted pork tenderloin, egg barley with lecsó, and pickles
Prémium Chardonnay 2015
Classicus Rozé 2016
Prémium Portugieser 2013
Prémium Grand 2009
Classicus Villányi Syrah 2012
Prémium Pillangó (Cab Sauvignon) 2009
Though Tokaj is famed for its sweet wines, but it’s a region with more intricacies than practically any other region in the world, and is becoming increasingly appreciated for its dry furmints. Hajni Prácser, from Erzsébet Pince, is one of the best people from Tokaj to explain these layers of detail, which have been evolving over centuries. Erzsébet is one of Tokaj’s leading small wineries. It’s a true family-affair, run by Hajni, her brother (Miki), and their parents. It also doesn’t hurt that Hajni’s husband is a Master of Wine and a Master Sommelier, who helps behind the scenes. While Hajni sells the wine, Miki is busy in the mould-covered cellar making the wine, and their parents (Miklós Sr. and Erzsébet) reign over the vineyards. Both siblings are well-traveled, but decided to remain in their hometown to focus on making top-notch wine and build the family business. Hajni will present a selection of her family’s wines (ranging from dry to sweet), while chef Tamás prepares a meal to complement these extraordinary volcanic wines. Erzsébet Pince is located in the center of Tokaj, in an 18th century building which once belonged to a Russian wine merchant. Their wonderful cellar is a magical place, filled with bottles in all shades of gold. Hajni is an exceptional storyteller who is talented at converting wine drinkers to Tokaj lovers. She’ll introduce the region and the terroir, while telling us her family’s story and explaining the winemaking process in Tokaj, including all of the aspects that make it so unique in the world of wine.
Chicken liver paté with pistachios and green salad
Roasted mangalica with potatoes and roasted vegetables
Rákóczi túrós (Hungarian pastry with curd cheese, meringue, and apricot jam)
Tokaji aszú 6 puttonyos 2010
There are iconic winemakers, wines, and wineries in every country. These icons are important because they set high standards both for winemakers and consumers. Icons play a big role in inspiring travelers to come visit, and they can really boost the development of an emerging region. One such example in Hungary is the St. Andrea winery in Eger and its winemaker, György Lőrincz Sr. The winery and winemaker are icons, and so are many of their wines. For those who live in Hungary, the names of St. Andrea’s wines—such as Napbor, Áldás, and Merengő—are instantly familiar. They have become iconic labels that set standards and expectations high. Tonight György Lőrincz Jr. will present the family’s wines and tell their stories. György is one of those young winemakers who set out for years of traveling and making wine around the world, and then returned to Hungary to rediscover his heritage and work full-time at the winery. We’ll learn about these iconic wines straight from the source. He’ll tell us about Eger’s famed red wine blend, Bull’s Blood, and it’s newer white wine blend, Egri Csillag. He’ll also explain the history of winemaking in Eger, and tell us why it is once again on the rise. Easter is approaching and chef Tamás will prepare a Hungarian Easter-themed lamb dinner. Join us to taste some of Hungary’s most sought-after wines, introduced by one of the country’s most promising young winemakers.
Selection of local ham (dried, cured, and boiled) with horseradish cream and smoked quail eggs
Roasted leg of lamb with anchovies and rosemary, rosemary potatoes, roasted tomatoes and zucchini
Chocolate linzer cake with tonka beans and berry sauce
BÚÉK! We’re starting 2017 with something that many Hungarian families look forward to doing over the winter—feasting on pork meat! We are hosting a disznótoros-themed dinner Tasting Table style! While chef Tamás prepares the pork feast, our guest, Csilla Sebestyén, will present the Sebestyén family’s wines from Szekszárd. Csilla and her brother, winemaker Csaba Sebestyén, are the first generation of their family to be involved in the wine business, but have made big names for themselves in this up and coming region. They focus on reds (kékfrankos, kadarka, and some blends) as do all winemakers in the region. However they do make a lovely cserszegi fűszeres and rosé. The disznótor (pig slaughter) is a Hungarian countryside tradition), which often takes place on a freezing winter day. The grapes and plants are sleeping, the soil is frozen, but the clean cold provides the perfect conditions for butchering and sausage preparation. This evening we’ll prepare a traditional disznótor menu like you would have if you were invited to somebody’s house. The Sebestyén wines will be the perfect complement. This family came to winemaking through other very different careers, and they now work on about 12.5 hectares of vineyards. Csilla is bringing a good selection of their wines along with stories from Szekszárd. Join us for some great wine, food, and insight into Szekszárd.
Orjaleves (consommé with pasta, meat, and vegetables)
Hurka (blood pudding) and kolbász (sausage) with steamed red cabbage and onion mashed potatoes
Plum jam “hájas” pastry (similar to puff pastry, but prepared with Mangalica fat)
Cserszegi fűszeres 2015
Nánai Kékfrankos 2013
Iván-völgyi Bikavér 2012
Gradus Cuvée 2011
Görögszói Franc 2013
Join us for an evening devoted to Central European wines with one of Hungary’s leading wine writers, Dániel Ercsey. Dániel has a special interest in wines from the entire Central European region, and he is a fantastic storyteller. He travels widely (and often) throughout the region to research and write articles for his award-winning web site, Wine Sofa, among others. Tonight we will serve eight wines—two furmints, two olaszrizlings, two kékfrankos, and two sweet wines (plus a few surprises)—along with a meal prepared by chef Tamás. To illustrate the many unique terroirs in this part of the world, we’ll serve the wine blind in pairs. Each pair will include one Hungarian wine next to a wine made from the same grape from another Central European country. By drinking wines made from the same grape varietal from two different countries, you’ll taste both the differences and the similarities in them. Just as the histories and cultures of Central and Eastern European countries are so often interconnected, so too are the grape varieties, the winemaking traditions, and the styles. Daniel will tell us about the wines we are drinking, the regions where they originated, and the winemakers who made them. He’ll also reveal the inspiration behind Wine Sofa, as well as stories from his travels (including his long kayaking wine journeys). Daniel is also a co-author of The Great Hungarian Wine Atlas, has contributed to many other wine publications, and is a frequent judge at international wine competitions.
Smoked trout with horseradish sauce and green salad
Lamb paprika with sztrapacska
“Emperor’s crumbs” with apricot sauce
Blind pairings will include:
2 sweet wines
We’ve long been fantasizing about devoting an entire dinner to pálinka. While we’ve hosted dozens of wine dinners (and even olive oil and paprika dinners), it’s now time to focus on pálinka. This national Hungarian drink is so omnipresent that it’s served from morning until night, from vessels ranging from re-used plastic soda bottles to fancy customized long-stemmed glassware. It may be even more ubiquitous than wine in Hungary. Pálinka can be described as Hungarian fruit brandy, and since it can be made from any fruit grown in Hungary, there are dozens of varieties. For this pálinka-dedicated evening we are partnering with the Brill pálinka distillery from Szekszárd. We’ll be sampling eight types of pálinka, which we will match with small courses of traditional Hungarian dishes (prepared by our chef Tamás). We’ll enjoy delicious Brill pálinka in flavors ranging from traditional plum and apricot to more unusual ones like pepper and barrel-aged cabernet franc marc pálinka. Attila Petzold—an independent wine and spirit consultant who knows more about pálinka than anyone else we know—will be our guest. This is your chance to become a pálinka expert, so bring all of your questions for Attila! We’ll learn about the fermentation and distillation process, the characteristics of the different types of fruit, and the history and traditions surrounding Hungarian pálinka. Join us for this tasty experimental dinner bringing together Hungarian flavors and pálinka.
Traditional Hungarian spreads and bread (eggplant spread, foie gras, Liptauer cheese, crackling cream)
Grilled peppers and goat cheese
Grilled sausage with potatoes
Roasted pork spare ribs with polenta
Selection of strudels
Apricot, grape (Írsai Oliver), lepotica plum, pepper, elderflower, cabernet franc, barrique marc, blueberry “bedded”, quince
Erhard and Evelyne Heumann are a German/Swiss couple who were led by fate to switch careers and settle in Villány to make wine. After Evelyne’s father travelled to Villány and ended up buying some vineyards, the Heumanns started making wine there in 1993 as a hobby, bottled their first professional wine in 2003, and have steadily been building on their wine business since then. What started as a hobby is now a full-timejob, with both of them devoted to the success and quality of the winery. Villány, located in the southernmost part of Hungary, is one of Hungary’s most prized red-wine-producing regions. It’s a region filled with whitewashed wine cellar rows, and beautiful vineyards. The Heumanns export most of their wines (The Tasting Table also sells several of them). Their reds—including kékfrankos, cabernet franc, and syrah—are opulent, concentrated, and dreamy. Since their vineyards are locates in Siklós (the section of Villány where white wine was traditionally made), the Heumanns also make lovely whites like riesling, chardonnay, and an easy-drinking blend named for their father-in-law. We are great fans of the Heumanns’ elegant wines, and we are sure you will be too after tasting them. Join us for this evening with Erhard, a great storyteller and ambassador for the Villány region.
Porcini cream soup with smoked goose breast
Roasted spiced pork belly, mashed potatoes and celeriac with fennel
Hot paprika-spiked chocolate cake
Rajnai Rizling 2015
Kékfrankos Reserve 2013
Villányi Franc 2012
Terra Tartaro 2011
Willi Opitz has hosted a sitting US president (Bill Clinton) at his winery, and Formula One champion Kimmi Raikönnen is a regular guest. Located in Illmitz, a tiny town on the eastern shore of Austria’s Lake Neusidler, the success of Opitz’ winery is not just due to the quality of his wines, but to his charming personality. Opitz (who is somewhat of a celebrity winemaker in Austria) will join us to present his wines, tell us about the unique Burgenland terroir, and share some fascinating stories about his career in wine (which includes also managing wineries in Romania and Spain).
A selection of Opitz wines from Austria (including welschriesling, grüner veltliner, and ausbruch), as well as samples from his Spanish and Romanian wineries
Catfish paté with chives and salad
Pork loin, spätzle, porcini ragout
Apple strudel with ice cream
How did a winemaker from a Bordeaux winemaking family end up living in Tokaj and making some of the finest sweet and traditional wines in the region? Samuel Tinon’s story has become one of the legends of Tokaj. He arrived in the early 1990s, along with first wave of foreign investors who came to rebuild the region after Communism ended. He has worked for many big wineries in the region, but his own wines—which can be found in Michelin-starred restaurants and fine wine shops in many countries—are made in small quantities from just five hectares of vineyards. His wines have the perfect balance between tradition and modernity, and he is known as the king of dry szamorodni. Though the szamorodni style has fallen out of style, Tinon has remained one of its few champions. Tinon also makes one of the best dry furmints in the region (though he was skeptical about making modern-style dry furmint for many years). This will be a unique opportunity to taste Tinon’s wines (which are not sold at many places in Hungary), and learn about Tokaj from his perspective as an outsider who has become an iconic winemaker in the region. The menu will be a French-Hungarian dinner paired with Tinon’s wines.
The range of Tinon’s Tokaj wines, from dry furmint, to dry szamorodni, and the sweet aszús
Escargot ragout with garlic and spinach
Ginger-crusted foie gras, celery mashed potatoes, baked apple
Winemaking is essentially a simple process, in which not much technology and chemistry is needed—you pick the grapes, crush them, collect the juice, and let it ferment. In other words, you allow its natural yeast turn the grape’s sugar into alcohol. However, just a fraction of the world’s winemakers allow the process to stay so simple. Terra Hungarica is a movement, and a wine shop, focusing on these natural wines. It champions the philosophy, and has a growing profile of wineries abiding by it. Our guest, Péter Hajsz, is one of the founding members of Terra Hungarica, and he will guide us through the the Hungarian natural wine movement and introduce us to a few of the great wines which have come out of it.
6 natural wines from Terra Hungarica (from Hungary, Serbia, and Slovakia)
Amuse bouche of ham and sweet onion
Ramp salad with honey, yogurt, and walnuts
Lamb stew with “sztrapacska” (sheep cottage cheese with dumplings)
Forest fruit tart with vanilla ice cream
Lake Balaton, and the wine regions which surround it, is an iconic destination for summer fun and relaxation in Hungary. Of the many gorgeous places dotting the lake, one of the truly special is the Káli Basin on the northern side. This is where winemaker Michael Liszkay has his heavenly estate. The terroir is unique, and with the Káli Basin’s special micro-climate and volcanic soil, Liszkay produces more reds than whites. While that may seem unusual for Balaton, the area was once a primarily red wine growing region. After escaping Hungary in 1956 as a teenager, traveling the world as a pianist, and running restaurants and businesses in several countries, Liszkay returned to Hungary to settle and make his wine. As he pours his award-winning wines along with a Balaton-inspired spring dinner, Liszkay will tell us about winemaking in the Káli Basin, and about how he ended up in this special place.
A selection of wine from Michael Liszkay’s portfolio
Asparagus with chervil mayonnaise, salad
Perch filet in riesling sauce, spring vegetables
Chocolate brownie with berries
While evidence of wine production in Israel may date back millennia, its wine industry is a young but exciting one that’s just starting to acquire the know-how to express itself and the secrets of this ancient land. Israeli winemakers face a task of biblical proportions to channel fine wine from such a hot climate, but they are proving to be a creative lot who are more than up to the task. Join local wine writer Robert Smyth as he shares his experiences from his recent visit and presents some of his fine finds.
Around 10 Israeli wines, hand-picked by Robert
A variety of Hungarian mezze
Etyek’s close proximity to Budapest makes it the perfect place to start exploring Hungarian wines. In Etyek, we have been enjoying the Hernyák family’s hospitality (and their wonderful wines) for many years. But this time, they are coming to us! Vali and Laci, the husband-wife pair who built the winery, will introduce Etyek and their wines, and tell us the story of how they ended up making wine (and brandy) at their beautiful boutique winery after immigrating here from war-torn Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. They will bring their wine for us to taste, including sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot blanc, and pinot noir. We are especially excited that they will be bringing their sparkling wine—which has not yet been released, and has been ageing on the lees for more than four years. It is made with the traditional method in cooperation with a family winery in Champagne. With dessert we’ll taste their brandy, which is distilled at their estate.
A selection of Hernyák wine and brandy
Grilled peppers and feta cheese
Wild mushroom salad with Parmigian and parsley
Duck confit with summer cabbage and pasta
Strawberries with mascarpone
Join us as wine writer Robert Smyth, author of recently-published Hungarian Wine: A Tasting Trip to the New Old World, introduces the white wines of two of Hungary’s most distinctive volcanic wine regions, Badacsony and Somló. With its stunning volcanic landscape, basalt soils, distinctive indigenous grapes, choice lakeside setting on Lake Balaton’s northern shore, and gifted winemakers, Badacsony is a hot vinous destination any time of year. Not far, the Somló region also boasts basalt soils, a stunning volcanic panorama, and its own set of indigenous grapes. It is one of the smallest wine regions in Hungary but the slopes of Somló Hill produce some of the country’s biggest and most complex white wines. Badacsony possesses ideal conditions for making complex white wines of great drinkability, which have typically savoury ‘mineral’ character, vibrant acidity, and a wonderful combination of fruitiness and saltiness. Smyth will bring the dazzling and distinctive wines of two of the most exciting Badacsony talents, Szászi and Válibor. He will also contrast Badacsony with nearby Somló. We will introduce the Furmint and Hárslevelű of Somlói Vándor, made by Tamás Kis—one of the region’s hottest young prospects, as well as typically concentrated Olaszrizling from Kolonics and then a Juhfark by the mercurial Spiegelberg. Legend has it that drinking wines from the latter grape can help induce male offspring, and was apparently the favourite wine of Queen Victoria.
Since we’ll be tasting some truly unique wines from grapes which are grown practically nowhere else (Rózsakő, Budai Zöld, and Kéknyelű), we are pairing these wines with another special Hungarian delicacy—Mangalica pork. Our chef, Tamás, will be preparing a meal featuring Mangalica in every course! Join us for some delicious food, some stunning and rare wines presented by Robert Smyth, and good company.
Szászi, Olaszrizling, Szent György Hegy, Badacsony
Szászi, Rózsakő, Badacsony
Váli Péter, Budai Zöld, Badacsony
Váli Péter, Kéknyelű, Badacsony
Somlói Vándor, Furmint, Somló
Somlói Vándor, Hárslevelű, Somló
Spiegelberg, Wedding Night Wine, Somló
Koloniccs, Olaszrizling, Somló
Mangalica cracklings, mangalica cheeks, pickles and salad
Mangalica loin wrapped in ham, rosemary potatoes, fennel, and tomatoes
Hájastészta (similar to puff pastry, but prepared with Mangalica fat) with plum jam
We say goodbye to the summer by introducing Eger—one of Hungary’s best-known wine regions—through the wines of Nimród Kovács, a Hungarian-American businessman, entrepreneur, and winemaker. Eger produces a good variety of whites (including furmint, chardonnay, and the Egri Csillag blend), but it is best known for its signature Bull’s Blood blend (Egri Bikavér). We are lucky to have Nimród as our special guest this evening, and with him we will taste a number of his iconic wines, including his award-winning chardonnay battonage, his Monopole reds, one of his top NJK label wines, and two of his Bikavérs. Nimród’s winery is now around 30 hectares in size and is one of the key players and pioneers of the region. It is also probably the most active winery from Eger on the international market. Throughout the course of the evening we’ll learn about the Eger terroir, the variety of wines produced there, and the winemaking history. Join us to taste these special wines in the company of Nimród, along with a wonderful meal prepared by our chef.
Grilled goat cheese with almonds and caramalized figs, green salad
Deer Ragu with prunes, truffles, dumplings
Chocolate cake with crumbled pecans and blueberries
Furmint Nagy-Eged 2013
Battonage Chardonnay 2012
If you’ve traveled around Hungary and Austria, the name Esterházy (or Eszterházy) will ring a bell. The Hungarian noble family has long been a part of the area’s history. During the times of the Habsburg Empire they were great landowners, and they were well known for their support (and employment of) composer Joseph Haydn. One of the most spectacular of the family’s many palaces is in Eisenstadt, Austria. Nearby, the Esterházy Winery is one of the top wineries in the Burgenland region. Owned by the Esterházy foundation, which manages the remaining properties of the family, the winery is situated in a beautiful modern building, surrounded by vineyards. Aristocratic families were known for their love of wine, and the history of the Esterházy family and wine goes back to at least the mid-18th century when Prince Paul II. Anton Esterházy’s wife had Pinot Noir vines from Burgundy planted at their Burgenland estate. Burgenland winemakers today are still creating beautiful pinot noirs next to their Blaufrankish and Zweigelt. Joseph Haydn even took part of his salary from the family in wine! Located in the very special Lake Neusiedl (Neusiedlersee) region, the Esterházy Winery makes diverse wines expressing the variety of soils and climates found in this region. Our guest from the Esterházy Winery will present seven different wines, and discuss the family’s fascinating history, the region, and the different wine styles and vineyards. Our chef Tamás will prepare an Austrian-inspired dinner to pair with these delicious wines.
Farmer cheese with pumpkin seed oil and brown bread
Smoked duck breast, grapes, plums, pine nuts, and salad
Eszterházy roast, potato dumplings, roasted vegetables
Esterházy Grüner Veltliner Sekt
Esterházy Estoras Grüner Veltliner
Esterházy Leithaberg Blaufrankisch
Esterházy Reed Wine/ Schilfwein (sweet wine)
This week we welcome Tomi Dúzsi Jr. from Szekszárd. The Dúzsi family started their winery in the early 1990s with a 3.3 hectares of land which Tamás Dúzsi Sr. purchased with the family’s compensation coupons which he received in the aftermath of Communism. Naturally, since they are from Szekszárd, the Dúzsis focus on making red wines, with the emphasis on kékfrankos and kékfrankos blends. However, due to a logistical snag with steel tank capacity one year, the winery ended up making an unexpectedly amazing rosé, and ever since has been unofficially known as the “king of rosé.” in Hungary. Dúzsi makes single varietal rosé from many varietals, and they are associated with their crisp, fruity, acidic rosés. But they also make very nice reds, which we will taste a few of. We’ll taste a rare variety called menoire, a barrel aged kadarka from old vines, a kékfankos, and their signature red blend from the Görögszó vineyard. Tomi Dúzsi will tell us all about the Szekszárd terroir, the family’s winery, and the unique wines which we will taste. Our chef Tamás will prepare a traditional cellar dinner to accompany the wines.
Cured ham, grilled pear, and green salad
“Cellar” stew (beef and pork) with parsleyed potatoes
Poppy seed and sour cherry strudel
Fürtike (Ezerfürtű), 2016
Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé, 2015
Marci (Márton’s Day New Wine), 2016
Kékfrankos Selection, 2012
Ó Estate Wine, 2012
While every Hungarian family has its own Christmas culinary traditions, there are a few classics which no Christmas is complete without. Join us for a traditional home-cooked holiday dinner to get an idea about how the locals celebrate! Dinner will be served with six wines, and we will share our memories of Hungarian Christmas celebrations while we introduce what Hungarians eat and drink at Christmas.
Smoked trout with horseradish foam and green salad
Gál, Zweigelt Rosé, 2015 (Alföld)
Szászi Pince, Badacsony, Rózsakő, 2015 (Badacsony)
Bott, Határi Furmint, 2015 (Tokaj)
Sebestyén Pince, Iván-völgy Bikavér, 2012 (Szekszárd)
Kovács Nimród, Superior Bikavér, 2012 (Eger)
Oremus, Sweet Szamorodni, 2012 (Tokaj)
In celebration of the Bor, Mamor, Bénye Festival (Wine, Shine, Erdőbénye), held a few days before this tasting, we are focusing on the wines from the up-and-coming village of Erdőbénye, in the heart of the Tokaj region. The village is surrounded by the wooded Zemplén hills, and the main street is lined with elegant houses from the 19th and early 20th centuries, some of which were once owned by Armenian or Jewish wine merchants. Cooperage is an old trade here, and there are several coopers in the village who still make barrels by hand (from oak from the Zemplén hills) the traditional way. It has been called the most beautiful village in Hungary, and there’s a vast multi-level labyrinth of a wine cellar under the village (which is mostly unused), built by the Rákóczi family, Transylvanian royalty who came to this region in the late-16th century, acquired most of it, and played an important role in the region’s sweet winemaking history. Tasting Table owners, Carolyn and Gábor, have a house in Erdőbénye and spend a lot of time in there, tasting the wines and meeting the winemakers. Tonight Gábor will introduce the village’s wines, tell stories about its history and impressive wine pedigree, its terroir, its wineries, and its future. We’ll be tasting wines from five of the villages wineries, and chef Tamás will prepare a meal featuring regional dishes and ingredients.
Vayi Frizzante 2015
Bardon Hárslevelü 2012
Bardon Omega Furment/Hárslevelü 2012
Karadi-Berger Palandor Furmint 2013
Karadi-Berger Dry Szamorodni 2010
Budaházy Fekete Kúria Hárslevelü 2013
Karadi-Berger Birtok Furmint 2007
Homonna Édes Hármas 2011
Grilled porcini mushrooms with grilled gomolya cheese (from Erdőbénye)
Wild boar pörkölt (stew) with polenta
Strudel with farmer cheese and dill
If there is one ingredient that Hungary is associated with, it is paprika. It is indispensable in any Hungarian kitchen and symbolizes Hungarian cuisine. It’s what gives some of the best-known Hungarian dishes—such as gulyás, pörkölt, and chicken paprikás—their brilliant orange color and intense peppery flavor. Our special guest this week is Anita Molnar, whose family has been producing paprika for generations in Szeged. Chef Tamás will prepare a dinner featuring paprika in every course, and Anita will tell us all about paprika—from how it arrived in Hungary in the 16th century and how it became so beloved, to how it is grown, dried, and transformed into Hungarian “red gold.” We’ll pair the meal with wines from around the country that can stand up to the paprika, and we’ll top the evening off with a taste of paprika pálinka!
“Paprika found its second, and at the same time, true home in Hungary. It was in this country that such a high level and veritable cult of the growing, the processing, and the use of paprika has been achieved, the like of which cannot be found anywhere else.” — Zoltan Halasz, Hungarian Paprika Through The Ages
Körözött (paprika-spiced curd cheese dip) with fresh bread and vegetables
Grilled pepper and goat cheese salad with paprika oil dressing
Catfish paprikás with túrós csusza
Chocolate torta with hot paprika and paprika jam
Gál Zweigelt Rosé 2015
Somlói Vándor Furmint 2015
Heimann Szekszárdi Bikavér 2013
Wassmann Kékfrankos 2012
Brill Paprika Pálinka
If you are a fan of Tokaj (of if you are not a fan yet, but want a crash course), this is an evening you will not want to miss. Our guest, Szabolcs Újfalussy, is from the Oremus Winery, one of Tokaj’s greatest wineries. Szabolcs is also one of the best Tokaj educators we know, and this evening will be a masterclass in the wines of this world-renowned region. We will not only taste a range of dry and sweet wines from Oremus, but we’ll also crack open a bottle that few people (even in the world of wine) have ever had the opportunity to taste: a 4 puttonyos Tokaj aszú from 1956, in honor of the 60th anniversary of the 1956 Revolution. As the grapes for this wine were ripening and being harvested in Tokaj, bloody battles were being fought on streets all over Budapest. In fact, the revolution started right next door to The Tasting Table in the headquarters of the Hungarian Radio.
Szabolcs lives in Tokaj and knows its history, production, and people inside out. If you thought you already knew everything about Tokaj, you will realize that there is always still so much to learn. If you ever had any questions you were afraid to ask, this is the perfect chance. Szabolcs will present seven wines beginning with three vintages of dry furmint, followed by four sweet wines. Chef Tamás will prepare dinner in our open kitchen. Oremus (which is owned by Vega Sicilia) is a benchmark winery in Tokaj. It was one of the pioneers in the early 1990s to start building a serious international brand and to start making quality wines again in Tokaj. Their Mandolás furmint and their creamy, rich and perfectly-balanced aszús are amongst the best sweet wines in the world. Their 500 year old cellar system is one of the biggest in Tokaj (and is worth seeing for yourself, if possible!).Tokaj aszús are famous for their aging potential, and as they get older they become darker and darker, and their fresh citrusy and apricot jam character changes to more nutty, caramel, Madeira-like flavors. There are few bottles left of these old aszús, so our taste of the 1956 Tokaji aszú tonight will be a truly unique opportunity, and it will be a treat to see how it has developed over the past 60 years.
Roasted foie gras and apple, basil and fresh salad
Roasted spiced pork belly, celeriac mashed potatoes, fennel, and tomatoes
Vargabéles (Hungarian noodle cake)
Mandolás Furmint 2015
Mandolás Furmint 2009
Mandolás Furmint 2007
Édes Szamorodni 2013
5 puttonyos aszú 2007
5 puttonyos aszú 2000
4 puttonyos aszú 1956!
Though Thanksgiving is not celebrated in Hungary, we’ve decided to celebrate with a Hungarian-inspired Thanksgiving dinner. We’ll serve a selection of the six Hungarian wines which we are most thankful for, paired with a Thanksgiving-inspired dinner (prepared with Hungarian ingredients). Our sommelier will tell stories about the wines which we will be tasting, illuminating us on the regions and the people who produced them.
Smoked goose breast with pomegranate salad
Duck leg confit with layered potatoes, grilled vegetables, and blueberry sauce
Chestnut pie with pecan crumbs
Samuel Tinon, Tokaj, Birtok furmint, 2014
Szászi Pince, Badacsony, Olaszrizling, 2015
Berger Pince, Tokaj, Dry Szamorodni, 2010
Stier Pince, Villány, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013
Vylian Pince, Villány, Cabernet Franc, 2011
Holdvölgy Pince, Sárgamuskotály, Late Harvest, 2012