Thirsty for Hungarian Wine
A century ago, people all over Europe enjoyed Hungarian wine. This made the nation, a powerhouse in the wine world.
Hungarian wines graced the royal courts of European Monarchies, and golden Tokaji was the favourite of kings and queens. Glasses of Hungarian whites and reds were clinked across Europe’s households.
But that was a hundred years ago. Today, Hungarian wine doesn’t enjoy the fame it once did. So what happened?
Several factors contributed to the decline of Hungary’s wine producing efforts. That included two world wars, the change from a monarchy to a communist regime and more. But in spite of these world-changing events, it didn’t put out the need for Hungarian wine. Hungary’s wine industry is rising once more.
Getting an impression of what Hungarian wine can offer the world can be as simple as taking a look at some of its top wine making regions.
Learning about Hungary’s top wine regions
Three of Hungary’s wine regions have contributed to its fame and growth in the world of wine. These are the Villany, Tokaj, and Eger wine regions.
The Villany of wine
Villany is located to the north of Croatia, in the southern most region of Hungary. It has a warm climate with long hot summers and mild winters. The terroir features volcanic soils, clay, and sand.
The combination of climate and soil results to great conditions for growing grapes like Kékfrankos, Portugieser, and Cabernet Franc. The latter is currently the most widely planted varietal in the region.
The region is known for luxurious red wines such as Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. These Villany wines are mostly spicy, elegant, well-structured, and contain a balance of earth and fruit.
The land of ‘Bull’s Blood’
The Eger wine region is in the northeast of Budapest, by the southern slopes of the Bukk Mountains, and has over 5,400 hectares of vineyards. Eger’s climate is mostly dry. Its soils range from brown forest topsoil to volcanic rhyolite and limestone. The region grows many varietals that include Bouvier, Egri Leanyka, Egri Olaszrizling, and Egri Kekfrankos. The latter is used in making Eger’s most famous blend, the Bikaver (Bull’s Blood).
The wine region is internationally famous for its two native blends:the previously mentioned Bikaver, a luxurious red wine rich in tannins and spice, and the Egri Csillag (Star of Eger), a delightful white wine with a tropical fruit finish.
The land of two rivers and golden Tokaji
Tokaj is Hungary’s most famous wine region and is considered of the oldest wine in the world. It’s home to the world-famous botrytized wine, the golden Tokaji aszu. But you shouldn’t confuse it with Slovakia’s own Tokaj wine region, even though the latter used to be part of Hungary.
Declared a World Heritage Site in 2002, the region consists of 28 villages. It has over 11,000 hectares of vineyards scattered along rolling hills and nestled between two rivers. The Tokaj terroir consists of mostly clay, loess soil, and volcanic rock subsoil rich in lime and iron.
The only grape varieties allowed to be cultivated in the region are Zeta, Koverszolo, Yellow Muscat, Kabar, Furmint, and Harslevelu.
Traditional winemaking principles combined with 22 wine regions growing hundreds of grape varietals across Hungary’s vast landscape is just the beginning of a comeback. This is certainly going to bring Hungary back into the limelight of the world of wine.