So, has anyone heard of Purcsin? Otherwise known as fekete purcsin, gerzset, kék purcsin, királyédes, kisfekete, kökényszőlő, partinka, pelyhes, porcsin, purcsény, römer blauer, schlekentraube, purchinok, purczinok, tokaj barleana, tokaj di barlessano…
I hadn’t either until very recently.
Antal Kovács of Pincearon alerted guests at one of his tastings that a small quantity of Purcsin had been made by Zsolt Sándor and he would be making bottles available, but only to his mailing list…. Curious, I resolved to subscribe for a bottle. However, I was subsequently on holiday and missed the mail. Thwarted yet again in trying an interesting wine from Zsolt!
However, Antal fortunately then planned a tasting of three winemakers, one of which was Zsolt Sándor. There would be four wines from the winemaker from the Bükk: a Cserszegi fűszeres (the next vintage of the wine I previously missed trying!), two Zweigelts and, yes, the Purcsin! I signed up immediately…
What is Purcsin? As you can see, it is a grape of many names… For legal reasons, he couldn’t put Purcsin on the label at the moment, so he put all its other names!
It is a local variety that was prevalent in Tokaji, the Mátra and Oradea before phylloxera struck. It was mentioned for the first time in the context of the Tokaji-Hegyalja region. Apparently, you can also make aszú from it too, which is probably why it ended up in Tokaji, as a result of its susceptibility to botrytis.
It has pretty much died out now, but for a couple of rows at the Oremus winery in Tokaji, from which this curiosum was made.
Purcsin has not been commercially available for more than a hundred years, so it was a kind of honour to have the chance to try it. Only 53 litres were produced, although Zsolt has now planted three hectares in the Bükk from which he plans to produce Purcsin in the future. He also plans to plant Balafánt, another local variety.
The wine was macerated for 25 days on its skins and produced a fruity yet complex wine with bags of plum, blueberry, raspberry, cherry and blackberry. It has a lovely floral note reminiscent of parma violets, underlaid by a leafy, tobacco element and a cool minty note. Soft tannins and lively acidity complete the picture.
I am looking forward to trying the wine from his own vines in the future!