Author: Kristian Kielmayer, Ágnes Herczeg
The Zengő variety is associated with the name of Ferenc Király, who created this crossing of Ezerjó and Bouvier in Pécs in 1951. It was initially called Badacsony 8, only getting the name Zengő later, most likely named after the highest point of the Mecsek Hills. Zengő became a recognised variety in May 1982.
Another variety, Zenith, was created from the same parents, and although they have many characteristics in common, it is a totally different variety. Its leaves, berry structure and ripening are different to those of its sibling. For example, Zengő ripens two weeks after Zenith and generally has higher acidity than Zenith.
It has large, round leaves that are practically unlobed, medium-sized, relatively dense clusters and thick-skinned berries.br />
Today, the variety is grown on 200 hectares in Hungary, with 2% of the Bükk wine district planted to it, while the greatest amounts can be found in the Eger and Mátra wine districts. The variety is often found in blends. It seems to thrive on volcanic tuff soils and in cooler climates. It is most closely associated with the Upper Hungary wine region.
Wines are generally characterised by high acidity as well as acacia honey and floral notes. Depending on terroir and wine style, it can also produce powerful wines in its own right. It is a good sugar pump, while sources indicate that it can also shrivel well on the vine.
It is generally characterised by delicate, aromatic notes of white blossom and stone fruit. It has fresh acidity, medium to full body and often high levels of alcohol; it can also be found in styles with significant levels of residual sugar, which helps to balance the wine’s pronounced freshness.
Its structure and the right attention to detail in the vineyard combined can result in some ageworthy wines.
Zengő grape bunch and leaf
Zengő gives a medium-bodied, fresh floral wine with vibrant acidity. It is generally high in alcohol or may have significant residual sugar. It is usually found in blends, although there are some winemakers making it as a monovarietal wine. In the right hands, high-quality, ageworthy wines can be made from Zengő, which could benefit from being laid down for a year or two. However, most Zengő is best appreciated young. It pairs well with roasted vegetables, for example roast beetroot with goat’s cheese or crispy, spicy sweet potatoes. A good Zengő could also work with barbecued ribs. Whether consumed fresh and young or laid down for a while, store in a cool place with a constant temperature, away from direct sunlight and heat, to best preserve its aromas and quality. Serve straight from the fridge at around 8-10°C in a tulip-shaped white wine glass.
Ingredients that best match the flavour and texture of wines made from Zengő include lettuce, beetroot, sweet potatoes, carrots, kohlrabi, lentils, fresh herbs, sweet spice, citrus fruit, young, light cheeses, curd cheese, ricotta, chicken, duck, goose and fish dishes. For example, pair it with a goose and vegetable risotto, goose ragout soup or even Peking duck. Well-chilled sweet versions would work well with curd cheese desserts or cakes