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s p r i n g 2 0 1 7 | 5 7 It's my last day in Tokaj. I'm in the bucolic village of Mád, hemmed in by the ever-verdant rolling Carpathian foothills. It's a remote place with a burgeoning culinary scene that proves to be as surprising as Mád's recent about-face: The region as a whole is collectively moving from producing mostly dessert-style Tokaji, that palate-drenching honeyed nectar we're familiar with, to a dry style of varietal Furmint, its lithe and linear twin. Everything that follows in the wake of this new Tokaj, a handful of upscale restaurants and the posh, newly-opened Hotel Botrytis, whispers of change on the horizon. I've spent four intensive days exploring the wines and food in the region, from traditional Hungarian dishes like Marhahúsleves, a simple, soulful beef broth soup, to the best wood-fired pizza I've ever tasted. Anyukám Mondta (literally translated, "my mother said") is an unas- suming Italian-Hungarian establishment in the neighboring village of Encs. Scribbled lines in my journal describe the pizza crust as "exqui- sitely pillowy and tender," and I would later learn that owners/brothers Szabolcs and Szilárd Dudás drive a van to Italy every other week to restock essential ingredients in their pantry's arsenal. The tomatoes used for the pizza sauce come from a single-hectare plot located in the heel of Italy's boot. These transcendent tomatoes—which can only be described as the perfect, pure expression of tomato-ness—aren't sold in the U.S. because grower Paolo Petrilli doesn't have to. I am told there are only two exceptions: Both Frank Sinatra and Tina Turner received small allocations. I am also told that to get a reservation at Anyukám Mondta, patrons must book a table months in advance. The Future of Furmint Both István Szepsy Jr. and his father, István Szepsy Sr., are credited with being on the forefront of the dry Furmint movement in Tokaj, and István Jr. is on hand to walk me through the wines and dishes that have become so integral to the region. We drop by Aszú House for a casual lunch; it's a new complex, an homage to the wines of Mád, with a cozy grill house tucked away on the side of the building and a formal fine dining restaurant at the front. The lower levels house an interactive exhibit where visitors can learn about the intricacies of the Aszú harvest and explore the ultra-modern, James Bondesque wine vault. We gather around a table that has an already-lit grill at the center of it. The glowing red embers are hazelnut shells, and as soon as we're seated, our servers place thin strips of lamb, veal and tri-tip steak on the grill along with quartered gem lettuces, thinly sliced peppers and eggplant. The pairings are all white wines from the Szent Tamás and Mád portfolio, including a compelling single-vineyard sparkling wine made from 100 percent Furmint. Served as an aperitif, the Kishegy 2011 Brut Nature is crisp and slightly biscuity with convivial overtones of Asian pear and yellow apple. Dry Furmint in all its complexity and mineral- driven splendor is an incredibly versatile wine and is a natural partner to the culinary creations at the Gusteau Culinary Workshop. "We try to demolish the boundaries of conventional pairings. For us, Mád is a playground." — Gusteau Culinary Workshop's Head Chef, Gábor Horváth. Both István Szepsy Jr. and his father, István Szepsy Sr., are credited with being on the fore- front of the dry Furmint movement in Tokaj.

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