Sipon, a.k.a. Furmint, is the grape behind Hungary’s acclaimed sweet wine, Tokaji. In Slovenia, Sipon is mainly vinified dry, making characterful white wines of outstanding complexity.
Sipon is the Slovenian name for the acclaimed Hungarian indigenous grape, Furmint. This variety has been cultivated in Hungary for many centuries. It is the grape behind the country’s famous dessert wine – Tokaji, made of grapes subdued by noble rot.
In the 18-19th Centuries, when sweet wines were in fashion, Tokaji was regarded as the ‘elixir of life’. Sweet Tokaji wine was extremely popular at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867-1918), and Furmint’s vineyard area grew significantly over this time. As a result, Furmint spread out across the empire’s former lands: Austria, Slovakia and Slovenia.
In Slovenia, Sipon is the key grape of the north-eastern region of Podravje (Podravska). Supposedly, the name “sipon” is a corruption of the nickname Napoleon’s soldiers gave to this wine: “Si c’est bon” for ‘it’s so good’. Sipon vines bud early and ripen late. This probably explains the variety’s ability to develop such organoleptic concentration and complexity. The grape is highly susceptible to botrytis and has naturally high sugar levels and high levels of acidity.
Aromas And Styles
Dry wine made of Sipon became a thing only recently and the winemakers are still discovering the full potential of this amazing grape. Indeed, Sipon, or Furmint, is a variety of an outstanding character. With very thick skin, it offers a great concentration of phenolics and makes wines of structure and longevity.
Dry Sipon wine often shows aromas of lime rind, pears and oranges with characterful smokey notes. When aged in oak, these wines develop elegant spicy notes and creamier textures. As it ages, Sipon wine takes on copper and amber-like colours and nutty, spicy flavours. Sweet styles of Furmint are rich and luscious, with complex apricot, marzipan and black-tea flavours backed by aromas of brown spices and sugar.