Furmint Grape (Vitis) Color of berry skin Blanc Species Vitis vinifera Origin Hungary, Slovakia Pedigree parent 1 Gouais Blanc Notable wines Tokaji Formation of seeds Complete Sex of flowers Hermaphrodite
Furmint is a variety of wine grape from the Pontian Balcanica branch of Vitis vinifera, used for white wines. The name Furmint is taken from the word "froment" for the wheat-gold color of the wine it produces. While it is possible that it the grape is native to Hungary, the grape was likely brought to Hungary in the 13th century during the reign of King Béla IV.   It is a late variety, usually ripening in the second half of October, and is often inflicted with Botrytis.
Today, Furmint is most widely grown in Hungary, particularly in the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region where it is used to produce single-varietal dry wines as well as being the principal grape in the better known Tokaji dessert wines. It is also grown in the tiny Hungarian wine region of Somló. Furmint plays a similar role in the Slovakian wine region of Tokaj. It is also grown in Austria where it is known as Mosler. Smaller plantings are found in Slovenia where it is known as šipon. The grape is also planted in Croatia, Romania and the former republics of the Soviet Union.
While the exact origins of Furmint are not clear, it is generally well established that the grape was introduced to the Austro-Hungarian area in the Middle Ages. As noted by wine expert Jancis Robinson, the grape was likely brought to Hungary in the 13th century during the reign of King Béla IV. Following the destruction of the Mongolian invasion of Hungary, Béla wanted to quickly revive the country's devastated vineyards. The king instituted several policies encouraging mass immigration of people knowledgeable in viticulture and winemaking. Many of the immigrants that heeded Béla's call brought new grape varieties with them - one of which was likely Furmint. An elaboration of this theory has the grape originating in Piedmont and being brought to Hungary during Béla's reign by Italian immigrants.
In the Burgenland region (now in Austria), Furmint was historically associated with the production of the sweet dessert wine Ausbruch. The grape gradually fell out of favor in the Burgenland but in the 21st century, several Ausbruch winemakers (particularly around Rust) have been rediscovering the grape's potential in their area. In Hungary, the grape is a significant component of the notable dessert wine Tokaji that has been in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region for several centuries. During Communist rule of Hungary, Furmint's fortunes and notability declined as many vineyards and wineries fell into neglect. When Communism ended in the country towards the end of the 20th century, most of the joint venture wine companies that emerged decided to focus mainly on Furmint's uses in sweet wines - despite a general shift in consumers' wine tasting habits towards drier wines. It wasn't until the 21st century that more attention was given to Furmint's potential for dry wine production.
In recent years, DNA profiling conducted at the University of Zagreb has shown Furmint to be likely to have a parent-offspring relationship with the lowly Gouais Blanc, which similar research elsewhere has shown to be a parent of numerous other varieties, including Chardonnay. Furmint has also been confirmed to be the same grape as the Croatian white variety Moslavac.
Furmint is most widely cultivated in Hungary, particularly the Tokaj-Hegyalja region where it is often blended with Hárslevelű and Sárga Muskotály. In Somló, producers dedicated to producing dry styles of Furmint have been steadily increasing plantings. Outside Hungary, it is found planted around the Crimea where producers have endeavored to make their own versions of Tokaji. For the same reason, small plantings of the grape have been done in South Africa. In Austria it is most commonly found in Burgenland (where is known as Zapfner)) and Styria (where it is known as Mosler).
Wines and styles
Furmint can be produced in a variety of styles ranging from bone dry to extremely sweet wines afflicted by noble rot. The grape has the potential to produce wines with naturally high levels of acidity with complex flavors derived from phenolic compounds in the juice and through brief contact with the grape skins. Furmint wines, particularly the botrytized dessert wines, can have immense aging potential with some well made examples from favorable vintages continuing to age for over a century. These wines, described by wine expert Oz Clarke as nearly "immortal", are most often the aszú style wines of Tokaji made from the top 10-15% of Furmint harvested. This potential comes from the balance of acidity and high levels of sugars in the wine which act as preservatives during the aging process.
Dry styles of Furmint are characterized by their aroma notes of smoke, pears and lime. Dessert style wines can develop notes of marzipan, blood orange, apricots and barley sugar. As these dessert styles of Furmint age they will often develop more smokey and spicy notes of tobacco, tea, cinnamon and even chocolate.
Confusion with other grapes
Furmint shares a wide range of synonyms with several other European grape varieties - such as Sauvignon vert which was once known under the synonym of Tocai Friulano even though the grape the grape was likely never used in the production of Tokaji. To confuse things further, not only does Furmint share several synonyms with Sauvignon vert but Sauvignon vert itself is a synonym for the "green berry" sub-variety of Furmint. This, coupled with physical similarities between several strains of white grapevines makes identification of different wines, particularly those in developing Eastern European countries difficult. Among the grapes that ampelographers question whether they are the same grapes or different varieties are the Croatian grape Pošip and the Romanian grape Grasă de Cotnari.
- ^ a b DiWine Taste "Hungary wine" Issue 11, September 2003
- ^ a b Wein-Plus Wine Guide "Hungary" Accessed: December 18th, 2009
- ^ a b E. Tresmontant "Discovering Hungary’s Tokaji wines" ViaMichelin, September 1st, 2009
- ^ a b c d e f J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 292 & 348 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0198609906
- ^ a b c d e f g Oz Clarke Encyclopedia of Grapes pg 90 Harcourt Books 2001 ISBN 0151007144
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Furmint — grappe de furmint Caractéristiques phénologiques Floraison … Wikipédia en Français
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furmint — ⇒FURMINT, subst. masc. VITIC. Cépage blanc de Hongrie produisant le vin de Tokay. L Altesse de Savoie, voisine du Furmint de Hongrie (LEVADOUX, Vigne, 1961, p. 40). Prononc. :[ ]. Étymol. et Hist. 1849 (Dict. univ. d hist. nat. dirigé par M. C. d … Encyclopédie Universelle
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Furmint — Der Furmint ist eine alte weiße Rebsorte, deren Ursprung noch nicht ganz geklärt ist. Wahrscheinlich entstand sie aus einer Kreuzung eines Heunisch Sämlings mit einer noch unbekannten ungarischen Rebe. Andere Vermutungen deuten auf einen Ursprung … Deutsch Wikipedia
furmint — /foor mint/, n. 1. a variety of grape from which Tokay is made. 2. the vine bearing this grape, grown in northeastern Hungary. [ < Hungarian < MF fromenté, fourmenté a type of grape; see FRUMENTY] * * * … Universalium
furmint — noun a) A type of grape grown in Hungary, commonly used in tokays. b) A wine made from this grape … Wiktionary
Furmint — Fụrmint, spät reifende, aber ertragreiche Weißweinrebe mit großen, lockerbeerigen Trauben, bevorzugt leichte, lockere Böden und warmes Klima, v. a. in Ungarn vertreten; liefert alkoholreiche Weine mit feinem Bukett, so (mit anderen Trauben)… … Universal-Lexikon
furmint — (fur min) s. m. Nom du cépage qui fournit le célèbre vin de Tokai … Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré
Furmint — Druen der er hovedingrediensen i den berømte ungarnske vin Tokaji. Sorten er yderst modtagelig for ædel råddenskab, men mosten har også et højt syreindhold, der giver den et godt gemmepotentiale. Dyrkes også i Slovenien under navnet Sipon og i… … Danske encyklopædi