© Winnica Eden Nursery, Poland
Zefir is a white-wine grape variety found in Hungary. The grape was created in 1951 from a crossing of unknown parents although at the time, and for decades afterwards, it was reported to be a cross of Leányka and Hárslevelu (from Romania and Hungary respectively). This has been disproved by DNA testing which has yet to establish either parent.
Along with the Badacsony crossings of Zeus, Zenit and Zeta, the variety is very much a creation of the Eastern Bloc, when Hungary was aligned with the then Soviet Republic. Each of these varieties has a classically inspired name beginning with Z; Zefir's is a reference to Zephyr, the Greek god of the west wind.
An early-ripener, Zefir produces mid-bodied wines with a sweet-spice aroma somewhat reminiscent of Pinot Gris from Alsace. This subtle spice is a characteristic of its adopted parents, Leányka and particularly Hárslevelu, whose flavors are often described as spicy or even smoky, usually with honey pollen and elderflower aromas.
Food pairings for Zefir wines include:
- Fish terrine
- Smoked eel
- Seared scallops with fennel salsa