Founded on long-standing harvest traditions, Mád Furmint Festival is spiced with new ideas, including the top-notch Mád Circle tasting held on the Friday night at Royal Tokaji where members personally introduce their wines to the curious – and the ever-popular Anyukám mondta Restaurant in nearby Encs create the food. Book early to avoid disappointment!
Saturday is based around the main street, affectionately known as “Furmint Promenade”, where wine producers and artisans gather to present their wares from jams and cordials to leather and ceramics. Most are local, none more so than Mád master cheesemaker Sándor Bodnár and the village ladies who make the greatest homemade cakes! But some, like the talented enamel jeweller, come from farther afield and are eagerly awaited as they make rare appearances in the Tokaj wine region. Wineries are open too, so you have the chance to taste in the courtyards with the people most closely involved in the winemaking: Barta, Budaházy, Demetervin, Holdvölgy, Mád Hill, Royal Tokaji, Szent Tamás, Takács, Tokaji Classic, Zsirai. Tokaj Crown Estates sets up their chillout lounge with wine, music and games.
Feeling sporty? How about a 6-km run from Budaházy Winery starting at 11 am? Or Mád/Mezőzombor vineyard walks (12- and 24-km) from Szent Tamás. Both have wine-and-soda/cordial stops along the way, the winner of the longer to receive his/her weight in Furmint. Pretty good incentive!
The village still has its harvest procession at 2 pm on Saturday, and there’ll be concerts on the Furmint stage – folk and headline Omega, one of Hungary’s most successful rock bands.
This year several new venues have opened in the fast-developing village of Mád:
- Aszú House (Aszúház – next to Gusteau Restaurant), an interactive and high-tech presentation of the grapes, vineyards and, of course, the intriguing development of the aszú berry
- Tokaj Women and Wine Association shop (Tokaji Borbarátnők boltja – main street) where wines from members are on sale and available for tasting. Guest rooms coming soon.
- Hotel Botrytis – stylish luxury hotel in the centre of the village – with supervised play area from 1 pm.
- Percze Restaurant and Tourist Centre (Percze Élményközpont) with its novel transport options for vineyard adventures – Segway, electric jeep and xxx. Its name? Well it comes from the vineyard under which it is set.
- Education Centre (Oktatási Központ) – offers alternative education – Furmint party til dawn on Saturday!
Saturday highlights for me? The herbal garden tour and tea tasting with herbalist István Leskó, enjoying a glass of Barta wine in the mansion garden listening to jazz, and generally the “fun of the fair feeling” as people from near and far gather to celebrate together the Furmint grape and the harvest soon to start.
Find the detailed programme in English here: http://tokajwineregion.com/event/furmint-festival-mad-2015/
Bonus Sunday programme – Adventurous vineyard tour from Első Mádi Borház, the café/wine shop at the start of the village. Register by email to firstname.lastname@example.org by 10 am on Saturday 5th. With enough people there’ll be a grill party in the “Tuscan-feeling” Nőtlen vineyard.