Sunday, September 28, 2008

Report from ... The Torley Dinner - September 17, 2008

Two of the principles from Torley joined us here in Toronto for a dinner at the Courtyard restaurant in Yorkville and to let us try some old favourites, recently released and hopefully, soon to be released wines, from this Hungarian wine making giant.

Haven't heard of Torley? Well maybe you've tried their Hungaria Grande Cuvee Brut ($11.10 - #619288), most people have, it is very popular here and abroad. In fact, it seems that's what Torley started out as in 1882 when Jozsef Torley left Roedere's Champagne house in France to start his own company in his native Hungary. Today Torley makes 10 different kinds of sparkling wine (6 in the charmat method, 2 transfer method and 2 traditional) to the tune of 6.1 million bottles annually, and growing. They sell most of their sparkling at home (76%) by far the king of the Hungarian market, but their still wine is mostly for import (57% gets sent out of country). So for those of you who know them for their bubbly here are a few more choices in Torley wines you might enjoy.

Hungaria 2006 Pinot Noir ($14.95) ... about 200 cases were released, very quietly through Vintages stores earlier this year, and they seem to have sold out pretty quickly; a few bottles still remain in about 17 stores across Ontario. There was no wonder why this wine sold well - it has all the characteristics you expect from Pinot (raspberry and strawberry smells; red currant, sour cherry and a touch earthy on the palate) at a price that doesn't prohibit you from trying a bottle on a whim and going back for more the next day.

Those looking for an affordable white with some character all its own, would do well to try the Hungarovin 2007 Debroi Cuvee ($7.95 - #536268). This wine, made from the local Harslevelu grape, is spicy on the nose with an over-ripe peach smell, in the mouth it has honey nuances and a very good spiciness. Interesting and worth a try are good descriptors and fo under eight bucks, why not.

Last wine of the night was a Chapel Hill 2007 Pinot Grigio ... they are hoping to have this one in the market by next summer. Light, refreshing, medium sweet on the palate but with a nice pleasant dry finish with a touch of citrus and apple; very fruity and at well under $10 this should be another winner from the Torley.

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