I love discovering new wines, so I was delighted to be introduced to Juhfark (pronounced you-fark) at City Place in Sunnyvale. I’ve never tasted a white wine quite like this, and I’m really eager to try more of it.
Juhfark comes from Nagy Somló (pronounced shomlo), Hungary’s tiniest wine region, which is located on an extinct volcanic butte about 90 miles west of Budapest. The bedrock is black basalt, the remnant of ancient lava flows.
For centuries, people believed that the volcanic Somló wines had positive effects on everything from anemia to paralysis. According to legend, aristocrats and monarchs even had fertile women drink the wine, believing that the wine’s overpowering masculinity would lead them to beget male heirs. While these legends sadly haven’t proved to be true, this wine definitely has a following.
As an FYI, Juhfark in Hungarian means “sheep’s tail,” a reference to the vine’s distinctive, dangling grape clusters that are much longer than they are wide.
When I tasted the wine, I told Theron, the sommelier at City Place, that I’d never tasted anything like it. He said the taste was fully attributable to Somló’s unique volcanic basalt soil terroir.
Here are descriptive words that resonated the most for me about this wine: fiery, salty, savory, minerally, acidic and rich. The wine was not very fruity but had hints of apple and citrus.
Theron told me that the Juhfark we were drinking was made by a 92-year-old winemaker who recently stopped making wine. So we were lucky enough to be drinking one of his last vintages.
According to the experts, Juhfark pairs beautifully with a Hungarian dish called Töltött Tojás, also known as warm deviled eggs baked in sour cream. It also goes nicely with spicy Hungarian dishes and Southeast Asian foods, including Thai cuisine. That combination sounds great to me. At City Place, we thoroughly enjoyed it with a very soft, rich French cheese.
If you’ve been lucky enough to try Juhfark, please share your experiences with us. Thanks (Kösz in Hungarian).
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