Today, wine production is well under control here, the names of wines and regions are protected by the law. Introducing new technologies, lowering quantity in favour of quality and more careful vineyard management yield higher class wines.
The Hungarians can be proud of their own, original grape varieties. The most famous is naturally Furmint, the basis for many Tokaji wines. Other white strains grown in Hungary are: Hárslevelu, Sárgamuscotály, Zéta, Leányka, Juhfark, Olaszrizling Muscotály, Traminer, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc. Among red strains: Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch), Kékoporto, Kadarka, Zweigelt, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot.
In Poland, the most renowned wines, quasi-symbols of Hungarian wine are Tokaji (Tokays) and Egri Bikaver. Both types are present in our offer.
Tokaj-Hegyalja – one of the most recognisable regions. Known, above all, for its sweet white wines – Tokaji. The Hungarians hold this wine in high esteem – in the country’s national anthem it is even called “god’s gift”. The most respected and noble Tokaj wine – Aszú, is made from grapes affected by noble rot, botrytis cinera. Depending on the number of standardised buckets (puttonyos) full of carefully selected, dried grapes which are added to the barrel filled with wine – we get more concentrated and sweet Aszú, marked adequately in a scale from 3 to 6 points. Modern Tokays, produced using new methods, are exquisite, beautifully complex wines with well-balanced sweetness and lively acidity. This is truly the top shelf while still relatively inexpensive.
We should also mention different types of Tokaji wine, the so-called Szamorodni (a term derived from the Polish word – samorodny), is one of the traces of old, long-lasting active contacts between winemakers from Poland and Hungary. Tokaji Szamorodni produces two variants: sweet and dry. Individual grapes affected by rot are not selected, rather, whole bunches of grapes are picked up.
This region also makes classic white dry wines – based on Furmint, Hárslevelű, Sárgamuscotály.
Tokaj (among others) also prides itself in its long and wonderful cellars – they provide excellent conditions for wine ageing. The cellar walls are often covered with a distinctive black mould – cladosporium cellare. The moisture prevailing in the cellars is so large, that bottles can stand upright, without fearing that the cork will dry out and the wine will spoil.
Eger – the land soaked in bull’s blood, i.e. the well-known Egri Bikavér. This wine is always a blend of different varieties, such as Kékfrankos, Kékoporto, Kadarka, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc. It is made by almost every producer in the region.
Eger mostly releases red wines, but you can also encounter many interesting white wines. Many international grape varieties are cultivated: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, and white Vignier or Chardonnay.
Set on two sides of the Eger region: Matra and Bükkalja are a source of many fresh, usually light, white wines. Both big cooperatives and small, family wine farms operate here. They offer well-made wine at a reasonable price.
The Balaton region is well-known in Poland as a popular touristic destination – on the northern part of the lake lies Badascony – one of the oldest Hungarian wine region, the birthplace of many great, dry, fresh white wines with flowery and fruity aromas. They get their distinctive character from the grape varieties grown here – original and aromatic Kéknyelű and Szűrkebarát (Pinot Gris). Some wines are also made from Chardonnay and Riesling. The neighbourhood of Lake Balaton also produces pleasant and uncomplicated sweet wines.
Villányi-Siklós – a region held in high regard, one of the best in Hungary. It is the southernmost area, warm, favourable to good grape ripening. Produces excellent, well-structured, concentrated tannic red wines – often barrel aged. Very successful products made from Pinot Noir, Kékoporto or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Szekszárd – the classic Kadarka gives good results here, but you can also encounter wines based on Merlot, Pinot Noir or Cabertnet Sauvignon. A local marvel is Bikavér-Szekszárd – this being the only place outside of Eger that may use the name Bikavér.
Another region is Etyek – gradually positioning itself on the Hungarian wine map, offering interesting white and red varietals.
Basic terms appearing on the label that you should remember: dry wine – száraz, semi-dry – félszáraz, sweet – édes, semi-sweet – félédes. Pezgo – sparkling wine, pince (pinceszet) – wine producer,winery; Minőségi bor – quality wine, Tájbor – local wine.