As for its geographical and cultural situation, Hungary is in the very heart of Europe and vines have been grown here since Roman times. Wine has remained at the core of Hungarian culture throughout the last 2000 years.
Hungary also has a legacy of making world-renowned wines. Unfortunately, the wine industry of the country had stagnated after the Second World War, exporting massive volumes to Eastern European countries. It wasn’t until the return to a free market at the end of the 1980s that Hungary started to develop the exciting modern approach to winemaking that the leading producers use today. Throughout all this, Hungarians have hung on to their passion for good food, lively music and wine.
North Transdanubia Region
Having a climate which is somewhat cooler than the country’s average temperature, this region is favorable for the production of fragrant white wines. The calcareous soil in this region provides great acid for sparkling wine. Presently, the leading varieties in this region are Chardonay, Zöld Veltelini, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Szürkebarát, Olaszrizling, and Rizlingszilváni.
Home of indigenous variaties, KéknyelĹ± and Juhfark, this region is known for its strong masculine wines. Blessed with a volcanic mountains covered with basaltic Pannonian sand and mediterranean-submediterranean climate, this region produces full-bodied whites with considerable acidity. White grapes dominate the area but red grapes like Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc play an increasing role to this region’s wine industry.
Though fresh spicy wines with lighter colors are also produce in region, the robust, full-bodied, spicy red wines hold court. Known as Hungary’s premier red wine region, varieties grown in this area include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Noir.
North Hungary Region
Eger, probably the most famous wine district in this region, is the maker of the famed Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) which, the winemakers in this district believe, is ruined by its association to other cheap wines that filled the western market in the communist time. Because of this, they decided to start the marketing from a scratch to differentiate the high-quality Bikavér wine from others. This region also has wine districts that produce fragrant wines from Rizlingszilváni, Muscat Ottonel, Szürkebarát, Olaszrizling, and Chardonnay.
This region is characterized by vineyards aimed at mass production. A couple of years ago, a move to the reevaluation of this region was started but winemakers in this region find it difficult to get out of the reputation of producing sub-standard table wines no matter how they gear towards quality.
This region is famous not only because it has the world’s oldest classification system but also because of its sweet wines. Located on mixed volcanic soils and having a unique terroir, this area is perfect for botrytis—a fungus known to cause the grape to produce more intense wines. Tokaj produces some of the world’s most notable dessert wines which were long sought for by different courts in Europe and wine enthusiasts from all over the world.
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