Author: Kristian Kielmayer , Ágnes Herczeg
An old Hungarian variety with a long history, which was once very widespread in the Carpathian Basin. It has been registered in the national register of varieties since 2012. It is believed that Csóka meant black berry in the past; it was also known as Vadfekete (Wild Black). Some similarities with Kadarka have been found; however, it contains more pigment. According to records, these two varieties were often blended throughout Hungary. It probably formed the basis of Buda Red, along with Kadarka.
Its leaves are medium-sized, long rather than broad, coarse and densely textured. It has quite small clusters with round, waxy, thick-skinned berries. It can yield deeply coloured wines but does not produce much sugar and its average yields are low.
The variety is currently grown on less than two hectares, mostly in the Etyek-Buda wine district, although it can also be found in the Villány, Zala and Badacsony wine districts. Essentially, there are a handful of producers making wine from the variety today, and this almost extinct, old Hungarian grape can mainly be found in the above regions.
Wine produced from Csókaszőlő could be considered somewhat akin to Pinot Noir or Kadarka; in style, perhaps also similar to Kékfrankos. It is characterised by spice, cherry and sour cherry with fresh acidity, restrained, soft tannins, pronounced alcohol and a medium body.
Csókaszőlő grape bunch and leaf
Csókaszőlő is an ancient Hungarian grape variety, which is very rare nowadays. It is cultivated on less than 2 hectares, so is rarely encountered. It has relatively restrained aromatics, with soft tannins, lively acidity, red berry fruit and medium-deep colour. These light wines are ideal for sipping alone or paired with light dishes. Their style means they can be enjoyed all year round. They are the perfect match for baked vegetable dishes, light roast meat, stews, pepper ratatouille, potato gratin, lasagne, meatballs in tomato sauce and spicy fish soup, but they would also go well with other light Hungarian-style dishes. Choose wines from recent vintages and consume within a couple of years to best appreciate its light style. Always store in a cool place, at a constant temperature, away from direct sunlight and heat, to best preserve its aromas, as it oxidises relatively quickly. Serve just below room temperature at about 14-16°C in a tulip-shaped red wine glass. Ingredients that best match the flavour and texture of wines made from Csókaszőlő include root vegetables, potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, beetroot, aubergines, celeriac, tomatoes, mature cheeses, camembert-style cheeses, goose, duck, game birds and offal as well as pork, veal and lamb dishes.