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Hungary

Hungary is a landlocked country located in Central Europe with a rich history of winemaking that dates back to the Roman times. The country is home to a diverse range of wine regions, each with its unique terroir, grape varietals, and winemaking techniques that produce a wide range of wine styles. Hungarian wines are known for their distinctive flavors and aromas that are the result of the country's unique climate and soil conditions.

Winemaking History & Terroir

Winemaking in Hungary started during the Roman times and has a rich history that is closely linked with Austria and Ukraine. The country has been under the influence of various civilizations over the centuries, and each has left its mark on the country's winemaking culture. Today, Hungary is home to 22 wine regions that are spread across the country, each with its own unique terroir and winemaking traditions. The country's climate is characterized by hot summers, cold winters, and abundant rainfall, which provides ideal growing conditions for grapes.

Grape Varietals & Wine Styles

Bull's Blood (Bikaver)

Bull's Blood (Bikaver) is one of Hungary's most famous red blends and is also known as Egri Bikavér. The blend is said to have originated in the Eger wine region, and its name is thought to have come from a legend that the wine was so robust and full-bodied that it was like the blood of a bull. The blend is made from a combination of several red grape varietals, including Kékfrankos, Blaufränkisch, and Kadarka, and is known for its rich, full-bodied flavor and high alcohol content.

Tokaji Aszú

Tokaji Aszú is a sweet wine made from the Furmint grape in the Tokaji wine region. The wine is made using the botrytized grape technique, where the grapes are left to rot on the vine, resulting in high levels of sugar and concentration of flavors. Tokaji Aszú is classified based on the amount of sugar in the wine, and the most commonly used classification is based on the number of puttonyos, which is the traditional Hungarian measure for the amount of sugar in the wine.

A 4 puttonyos Tokaji Aszú has an average of 45-50 grams of residual sugar per liter, a 5 puttonyos has 55-60 grams, and a 6 puttonyos has 65-70 grams. The higher the number of puttonyos, the sweeter and more concentrated the wine will be. Tokaji Aszú is known for its rich, sweet, and balanced flavor and is widely regarded as one of the best sweet wines in the world.

Furmint

A white grape varietal that is widely grown in the Tokaji wine region of Hungary. It is best known for producing the famous Tokaji Aszú wines, which are renowned for their rich sweetness and high acidity. Furmint wines are characterized by their minerality and citrus flavors, and are often used to create blends with other white grape varietals.

Hárslevelű

A white grape varietal that is also grown in the Tokaji wine region. It is considered to be one of the most important grapes for producing sweet wines in Hungary, and is often used in the production of Tokaji Aszú. Hárslevelű wines are known for their rich aroma and flavor, and for their balance between sweetness and acidity.

Kéknyelű

Another white grape varietal grown in the Tokaji wine region, Kéknyelű is known for its crisp, fresh flavor. Wines made from this grape varietal are often used to create blends with other white grape varietals, and are known for their light and refreshing taste.

Kékfrankos (Blaufrankisch)

A red grape varietal that is widely grown in the Eger wine region of Hungary. It is best known for producing full-bodied red wines with high alcohol content, and is often used in the production of Bull's Blood (Bikaver), one of Hungary's most famous red blends. Kékfrankos wines are known for their rich, fruity flavor, and for their strong tannins.

Cabernet Sauvignon

An international red grape varietal that is widely grown in the Villány wine region of Hungary. It is known for producing high-quality red wines with a full-bodied flavor, and is often blended with Merlot to create rich, complex wines. Cabernet Sauvignon wines are characterized by their black currant and cassis flavors, and by their firm tannins.

Merlot

Another international red grape varietal that is widely grown in the Villány wine region. Merlot wines are known for their soft tannins and for their fruit-forward flavors, including plum, cherry, and blackberry. Merlot is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon to create complex, full-bodied red wines.

Juhfark

A white grape varietal that is grown in the Balaton wine region of Hungary. Juhfark wines are known for their crisp, minerality, and for their bright citrus flavors. These wines are considered to be a good match for seafood, and are often enjoyed as an aperitif.

Portugeiser

A red grape varietal that is grown in the Balaton wine region. Portugeiser wines are known for their rich, full-bodied flavor, and for their notes of black cherry and black currant. These wines are often blended with other red grape varietals, and are considered to be a good match for hearty meat dishes.

Cabernet Franc

A red grape varietal that is grown in several regions of Hungary, including the Villány wine region. Cabernet Franc wines are known for their bright, red fruit flavors, including raspberry and cherry, and for their soft tannins. These wines are often blended with other red grape varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to create complex and well-balanced blends.

Major Wine Making Regions

Hungary is home to 22 wine regions, each with its own unique history, terroir, and winemaking traditions. Some of the major wine making regions in the country include Tokaji, Eger, Villány, and Balaton.

Tokaji

The Tokaji wine region is located in northeastern Hungary and is known for its sweet wines, which are made from the Furmint grape. The region has a rich winemaking history that dates back to the 16th century and is famous for its high-quality terroir and its ideal climate, which is characterized by hot summers, cold winters, and abundant rainfall. The region's sweet wines are made using the botrytized grape technique and are widely regarded as some of the best sweet wines in the world.

Eger

The Eger wine region is located in northeastern Hungary and is known for its red wines, which are made from the Kékfrankos grape. The region has a rich winemaking history that dates back to the 16th century and is famous for its volcanic soils, which provide ideal growing conditions for grapes. The region's red wines are known for their rich, full-bodied flavor and are widely regarded as some of the best red wines in the country.

Villány

The Villány wine region is located in southern Hungary and is known for its high-quality red wines, which are made from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes. The region has a rich winemaking history and is famous for its warm climate, which provides ideal growing conditions for grapes. The region's red wines are known for their full-bodied flavor and high alcohol content, and are widely regarded as some of the best red wines in the country.

Balaton

The Balaton wine region is located in western Hungary and is known for its white wines, which are made from the Juhfark grape. The region has a unique terroir and winemaking traditions and is famous for its high-quality white wines. The region's white wines are known for their crisp, fresh flavor and are widely regarded as some of the best white wines in the country.

In Conclusion

Hungarian wines offer a unique and diverse range of flavors, styles, and wine-making techniques that are definitely worth trying. From the famous sweet wines of Tokaji, to the full-bodied reds of Eger, to the crisp whites of Balaton, Hungarian wines offer something for everyone. Whether you are a fan of sweet or dry wines, white or red, light or full-bodied, Hungarian wines are sure to impress. So next time you are looking to try something new and exciting, consider giving Hungarian wines a chance. You won't be disappointed! With their rich history, diverse terroir, and world-renowned grape varietals, Hungarian wines are truly a standout in the world of wine.

Tags: Region