Does Hungary have good wine?

Answered by Michael Weatherspoon

Does Hungary have good ? While Tokaj is arguably Hungary's most famous wine region, there are several other hidden gems that are worth exploring. Throughout Hungary's history, wine has played a significant role and has been cherished by people from all walks of life.

1. Eger: Located in the northeast region of Hungary, Eger is known for its red wines, particularly the Bull's Blood (Egri Bikavér). This rich and full-bodied red blend is made from a combination of indigenous grape varieties like Kékfrankos and Kadarka. The region's unique climate and volcanic soil contribute to the complexity and character of the wines produced here.

2. Villány: Situated in the southern part of Hungary, near the Croatian border, Villány is renowned for its robust red wines. The region benefits from a Mediterranean climate and limestone-rich soil, which imparts a distinctive flavor profile to the wines. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Portugieser are some of the grape varieties grown here, producing bold and age-worthy wines.

3. Somló: Despite being one of the smallest wine regions in Hungary, Somló is known for its distinctive white wines. The region's volcanic terroir, composed of basalt and loess soil, adds a unique mineral character to the wines. Juhfark, a local grape variety, is the star of Somló, producing crisp and aromatic white wines with a hint of salinity.

4. Balaton: The Balaton wine region, located around Lake Balaton, offers a diverse range of wines. The region benefits from a mild climate and a variety of soil types, including loess, clay, and volcanic ash. Balaton wines encompass a wide spectrum, from refreshing whites like Olaszrizling and Furmint to fruity rosés and full-bodied reds like Kéknyelű and Zweigelt.

5. Szekszárd: Another stronghold, Szekszárd is located in the southern part of Hungary. The region's warm climate, combined with loess and clay soils, creates favorable conditions for growing red grape varieties. Kadarka, Kékfrankos, and Cabernet Franc are among the grapes that thrive here, resulting in elegant and velvety red wines.

It's important to note that Hungarian wine is not just about specific regions but also about the dedication and passion of the winemakers. Many small, family-owned wineries are producing outstanding wines with a focus on quality over quantity. Exploring these lesser-known Hungarian wines can be an exciting journey of discovery, uncovering unique flavors and expressions of the country's winemaking heritage.

Personally, I have had the pleasure of tasting wines from various Hungarian regions, and I have been impressed by their quality and distinctiveness. From sipping a rich Bull's Blood in a cozy cellar in Eger to enjoying a crisp Juhfark on a sunny terrace overlooking the vineyards of Somló, each experience has been a testament to Hungary's winemaking prowess.

While Tokaj certainly deserves its reputation, Hungary has much more to offer in terms of wine. Whether you are a wine enthusiast or a casual drinker, I highly recommend exploring the diverse and underrated wines from Hungary. Cheers!