In a nutshell: An elegant and surprisingly complex Hungarian dry white.
The lowdown: The small Kardos winery sits in the heart of the Hungary's Tokaj region, famous for its dessert wines. However, although he does produce sweet wines winemaker Gabor Kardos also produces a range of excellent value dry wines, a growing number of which are now gaining in popularity. Made from 100% Furmint, one of Hungary's trademark grape varieties, on south facing slopes it's fermented carefully in stainless steel tanks with natural Tokaji yeast. This result is a delightful wine which is pale green in colour and has a fresh grapefruit nose with additional notes of pear and lime which follow through on the palate. Dry and beautifully crisp there's an elegant minerality which keeps the wine in good balance all the way through and finishing with a refreshing crisp edge.
When to drink: It's difficult to go wrong with this really versatile white. It's great by itself or pair with seafood and poultry dishes.
The vineyards that comprise this small estate have been in the family for centuries, however, the opportunity to build the Kardos winery only came about after the Central and Eastern Europe revolutions of 1989. From then onwards they've quietly gone about making a name for themselves in this region of Hungary that's been home to the famous sweet wines of Tokaj for hundreds of years.
From humble beginnings of selling wines from their cellar door in the village of Mád (which is widely regarded as of Tokaj's most prestigious area) and to local bars, what started out as a boutique winery started to get more serious when the owners son, Gábor Kardos Jnr. came on board full time in 2008. Abandoning a law degree for the land, Gábor Jnr started modernising the winery, introducing strict yield restrictions, multiple bunch selection and selective harvesting techniques - all of which dramatically increased overall wine quality. With vineyards in Mád and the two neighbouring villages of Rátka and Bodrogkeresztúr, Kardos produce (in the words of Gábor Jnr) Characteristic dry white Tokaji and late harvest sweet wines by optimising the exceptionally characteristics and extraordinary uniqueness of the Mád terroir.