Meinklang "Vulkan" Somlo White 2019
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We really couldn’t get enough of Somló this month, and apparently Meinklang, an Austrian producer on the Hungarian border, couldn’t help themselves, either. They started working 2 hectares of 40-60 year-old vines there, of course with Biodynamic farming — they are known for their large Biodynamic mixed working farm and vineyard in Austria — and 2019 is the first vintage of this project. Meinklang has combined Hárslevelű with Juhfark, another local grape that is more powerful. Juhfark was even called the ‘throne successor’ because of its supposed ability to help produce a male heir to the throne, and so generations of Hapsburg emperors drank up Somló Juhfark to keep their dynasties going. Weirdly enough the rate of males assigned at birth in Somló is 25% higher than the rest of Hungary today.
Luckily there are plenty of other reasons to drink this wine, namely that it is delicious and engaging. Nutmeg, gingersnap, preserved lemon, and a spicy bite of acid on the finish. Really great tension between the ripe body and the snappy cut, this is a savory, textural wine, a familiar volcanic hallmark, but it is giving and versatile as well. I really enjoy wines like this on their own before dinner, it’s got enough to sink your teeth into but still feels refreshing. This will match up with a lot of different food, too, but I have a dish I make with sardines, soba noodles, capers, lemon zest that is just perfect with this wine. Jonathan Kemp