Taste: Pronounced Muscat-like aromas of rose petals, orange blossom and lychee, followed by flavors of grape, apple, lemon, apricot and peach, with a touch of spice on the finish.
Body: Light to medium
Dry / Sweet: Dry
Age: Drink while young and fresh.
Aka: Muscat Oliver, Irsay Olivér, Irsay Oliver Muskotaly
Irsai Olivér (eer-sha-ee ol-eve-air) is a Hungarian crossing between Pozsonyi and Pearl of Csaba that was created in 1930 by Pál Kocsis. It was originally developed as a table grape, but is quite commonly used for the production of varietal and blended wines in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in its native Hungary.
It is an easy vine to grow, as it has the benefit of being very disease resistant. The grape skins are thick, grow in loose clusters and are early ripening. Improvements in production techniques in the modern era have also made it very popular with winemakers, who produce it as an easy-going, everyday table wine.
Typically, Irsai Olivér wines are dry, medium bodied, with low acidity and a pronounced aromatic fragrance giving it a Muscat-like character. Aromas of rose petals, orange blossom and lychee are followed by flavors of grape, apple, lemon, apricot and peach, with a touch of spice on the finish.
Irsai Olivér is an interesting introduction to aromatic white wines, especially well made examples, as it is very modestly priced. Best to drink while young and fresh, as it does not age well.
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