Hungarian wine regions
Wines with the highest alcohol-, sugar-, and acid-contents of the country are from Tokaj-Hegyalja. It can only be spoken in the superlative about this wine, as it is a medicine, a real nectar. The secret of this wine is not to be sought extra in the nature of climate, position or soil, but in the common effect of all of these. The long, hazy, sunny autumn is favourable for the shrivelling of the ripe grape berries and for the development of noble rot.
In order to achieve the quality, the role of ageing and storage cannot be neglected either. The cellar-system hollowed into rhyolite-tuff is optimal - the changes in temperature are 1-2 °C over the year. The degree of humidity is brought to an even level by a cellar-mould called Cladosporium cellare, which covers the walls thickly, and covering the bottles like a velvety blanket preserves them for decades. The fungus, Botrytis cinerea covers the grapes and makes the skin of the berries thinner, helping create the perfect harmony of acid and sugar. The world famous Szamorodni and Aszú wines are made by adding these berries with noble rot, and the more aszú-grapes the wine contains the more precious it is.
Grape varieties, wines: Hárslevelű - more robust, full-bodied. Yellow Muscat - developing noble rot under favourable conditions, hard acid, extraordinarily fine, elegant fragrance. Furmint - developing noble rot best, acidic, fine fragrance.
The wines produced around Lake Balaton with a special character. Badacsony is one of the most famous wine regions of Hungary with vulcanic hills - Badacsony was called the "nectar of gods".
Grape varieties, wines: Pinot Gris (Szürkebarát) - the most famous: aroma-full, warming, harmonious, round wine with high alcohol contents in this region. Kéknyelű - "upper-class vine" - good quality, discreet with spicy bouquet and noble elegance. Italian Riesling: most wide-spread - mild, soft acid, resembling bitter almonds in bouquet. In good vintages "Aszú" is made of it as well.
The wine region Sopron is one of the most ancient wine growing regions of the country. Grape seed finds prove that already the Celts were vine growing here. Vine growing has been performed in this region since then. Almost everyone had a vineyard and a cellar, and nearly every farmer here had the wine licence. A fresh pine-bough hanging from a bar indicated that new wine and a bundle of straw that aged wine was sold. A red or white ribbon showed that the farmer was selling red or white wine. This nice custom is reviving in the streets of Sopron.
Grape varieties, wines: Kékfrankos - pleasant tart, velvety. Merlot, Zweigelt - excellent dry red wines with high tannin contents, rich in acids.
"Wine worth gold" is produced in the most southern wine region of the country. According to the tradition Hungarian wine-making was born here, in this region.
"The elegant wine, that of Villány is the wine of the cavaliers and the ladies. As for me, I would only give Villány wine for balls... All its advantages come to light when you have had a bath, shaved and changed from head to toe. The best in tails or a dinner jacket, ladies in neckline. It is moderate, fine, well educated." - writes Béla Hamvas
The excellence of the wine of Villány is illustrated by the fact that it came outside Europe in the XIXth century, to America and Brazil, too.
Vine varieties, wines: Kékoportó, Cabernet Sauvignon, Kékfrankos, Merlot - dark ruby colour, robust, full-bodied, spicy bouquet. Hárslevelű - white wine with flower fragrance. Italian Riesling - long, warming white wine. In the region of Siklós merely white wine, in the region of Villány merely red wine is produced.
This old, baroque town is known abroad first of all for its wine. Though the ecological conditions are favourable for white wine production, the name "Egri Bikavér" /Bull's Blood of Eger/ sounds familiar all over the world and this wine made the town of Eger and its surroundings famous. There is a large cellar- and cave-system beneath Eger, through the corridors of the cellars the town can be walked through under the surface in its whole width. Parts of the caves are of natural origin, but most of them are artificial, decorated with carvings.
Grape varieties, wines: Kékfrankos, Cabernet, Merlot, Kékoportó are the base of Egri Bikavér. Characteristics of the wine: harmonious, full-bodied, velvety, harsh, warming, - it gets its characteristic bouquet after years of ageing in wooden casks. From grapes named Leányka is made the slightly sweet, fruity wine with complex taste-harmony. Italian Riesling - harmonious, fine, characteristic fragrance, elegant acidic.