Nowadays, wine is readily available and wine drinking is a recognised part of social activity. However, with so many different types of wine, knowing how to taste a wine helps discover a wide selection of personal favourites.
Wine tasting usually involves three main stages: Look, Smell and Taste – in that order. The first stage is to determine the colour, the clarity and opacity of the wine. The second stage determines your impression of the wine; a wine’s aroma is an excellent indicator of its quality and unique characteristics. The third stage determines the taste of the wine which involves three phases: the Attack phase (the initial impression that the wine makes on your palate), the Evolution phase (the wine’s developing taste) and the Final phase (how the flavour impression lasts after swallowing).
If you are a wine drinker in Budapest, You must have already heard of, or even been to, DiVino, located by St Stephen’s Basilica. Opened in May 2011, by an entrepreneurial group of young Hungarian winemakers, it has quickly become a popular place for wine drinkers in the city.
Recently DiVino Gozsdu opened at Király Utca Budapest, a franchise partner of DiVino. The concept of DiVino is to offer wine exclusively from members of the Association of Junibor (Hungarian winemakers who are aged 35 and under), second generation wine producers in a dynamic bistro milieu. Their youthful attitude is reflected in their choice of trendy and sleek interior design.
Designers Sütő Kata and Sütő László combined the basic colour of black combined with concrete and pine to create a clean and natural affect. The clever use of high tables and chairs also creates a friendly social environment, where people can join a table of fellow drinkers instead of just standing alone.
Another concept of DiVino is to create a comfortable place for newcomers to wine, particularly those in the 18-35 age range. There’s no reason to feel timid, the staff encourage questions whether basic or specific, after all they are young themselves.
I was invited to DiVino Gozsdu for an introduction to their Hungarian wines and selection of food.
DiVino Gozsdu is located in the Gozsdu Court at Király Utca 13. The court entrance looks quite ordinary from the street. But once inside, you will find many interesting restaurants, bars, shops and even a gym. DiVino Gozsdu is the first bar on the right as you enter from Kiraly Utca.
I was greeted by Tomi, the host of DiVino Gozsdu, he is a member of the Association of Junibor. He gave me an introduction on how DiVino was founded and the concept behind their brand. Tomi himself is a winemaker and his family owns a small vineyard of eight hectares in the Etyek-Budai region (//www.hernyak.hu).
Throughout the evening, we tasted several different bottles of white and red wine, including Tomi’s very own label, “Hernyák“. Tomi has an excellent knowledge of each wine that he brings to the table. As a non-wine drinker previously, I learned a lot about wine from Tomi and he got me interested in wine drinking. My particular favourite was a white wine called Demeter Endre Élvezet Furmint. It’s an extra sweet white wine that smells and tastes like honey. I think it would be a great choice for after my Christmas dinner and I will probably get a bottle to help celebrate the New Year.
During the evening, I sampled different dishes from their food menu. DiVino Gozsdu is primarily a wine bar and so their menu is slightly small with only three appetizers, five main dishes, two desserts and three treats to choose from. I had the special cheese board which consists of four different types of Hungarian cheese and a condiment, the Goosetrilogy (goose cracklings, smoked goose breast and goose liver pâté) and Grilled goose sausage with creamy lentils.
“We only serve Hungarian wine in DiVino, so it makes sense to serve a cheese board with Hungarian cheese” said Tomi. The cheese board was fantastic; the perfect compliment to great wine. It was a good selection of cheese; there was a white cheese with a similar taste and texture to cottage cheese, a creamy cheese with chives and spring onion, a much stronger cheese with a texture similar to strong cheddar and mixed with thyme. (that was delicious! ),and the fourth cheese was a hard cheese with a taste almost as strong as blue cheese. Tomi explained that in the process of making this particular cheese, Pálinka was used to brush the rind. Although I liked the strong flavour of the fourth cheese but I think it’s a little strong for accompanying some of the more subtle tasting wines. As for the condiment, it was made with pear and spices. It’s sweet with a hint of spicy, perfect for cleansing your palate between each cheese.
The grilled goose sausage with creamy lentils: in terms of presentation, it could have been looked better with a drizzle of white cream on the lentils to balance out the colour of dark green and brown. In terms of taste, the lentils were well cooked and creamy, the goose sausage was lean and salty. Perhaps a little too salty for my own personal taste but it tasted great when eaten with the creamy lentils.
Did you know that lentils represent prosperity? I was told that Hungarians believe eating lentils before the New Year will bring prosperity for the year to come!
As for the Goosetrilogy, it’s almost to die for if you like goose! The goose cracklings is a spread made with goose liver and pork cracklings. It was crunchy, flavourful and perfect when eaten with slices of DiVino’s fresh and crusty bread. The goose liver pâté was one of the best goose liver pâté I’ve had in Hungary. It was exquisitely creamy, not too fatty and it melted in the mouth. As for the smoked goose breast; again, it tasted delicious with its creamy layer of smoky fat on top, its perfectly cooked meat, all served in thin slices. I would definitely recommend the Goosetrilogy.
If you would like to learn more about DiVino’s extensive selection of wines, drinking and tastings, I would highly recommend you visit DiVino Gozsdu and ask for Tomi.
Overall, I had a great time at DiVino Gozsdu and I learned a lot about Hungarian wines. The bar is trendy and it was a nice place to spend time drinking and learning about wine. With 130 different types of wine available to choose from at DiVino Gozsdu, I am sure that there will be one that you will discover and enjoy.
Verdict: Fantastic selection of Hungarian wine with a good price tag. Staffs are knowledgeable and helpful. Trendy interior design and décor. Food selections are limited but it is a wine bar, after all. Highly recommended to learn about and taste good Hungarian wine.