Author: Kristian Kielmayer, Ágnes Herczeg
The Eger wine district’s white blend, which could be characterised as the counterpart of Egri Bikavér. The choice of name is no accident, as Géza Gárdonyi’s novel is historically close to both the city and the region. Eger is a diverse region, capable of making both serious red and white wines. In fact, white varieties were still predominantly cultivated in the region in the 16th century.
Egri Csillag can be made in three wine styles: Classic, Superior and Grand Superior.
It is a blend of at least four grape varieties and must be composed primarily of Carpathian Basin varieties. The quantity/percentage of aromatic varieties is limited, while a minimum of six months ageing in oak is prescribed for Superior and Grand Superior Egri Csillag. These are complex wines that should never be all about the variety, rather about their terroir.
The Eger wine district is located between the Mátra and the Bükk Mountains and is part of the Upper Hungary wine region. There are around 5,618 hectares under vine. The vineyards encircle the city of Eger. The region is typified by extremely diverse soils with varied compositions, including limestone, sand, loess, rhyolite tuff, dacite and other volcanic soils as well as class, slate and erubase soil. The highest vineyard in Hungary can also be found here. In general, this region has a cool climate, which results in fresh, tight wines. There is more erubase soil in the western part of the region, while the eastern part is rather characterised by soils with greater lime content. It is believed that white grapes were once more prevalent on the erubase soil. What is certain is that, thanks to its diverse characteristics, both white and black grapes thrive in the Eger wine district and are capable of producing high quality.
Classic Egri Csillag is dominated by fresh, fruity, crisp, floral notes. It is never focused on a particular variety, but is rather a harmonious, dry blend. Super and Grand Superior Egri Csillag also boast spicy notes from judicious oak fermentation and are medium to full-bodied and fruity with restrained aromatic notes and perhaps a hint of minerality. They have a medium to long finish.
Egri Csillag is the white pair to Egri Bikavér. It is a light, floral, fruity blend that is never about the dominance of any one variety, but rather overall harmony; its style is determined by the varieties and winemaking techniques used. Classic Egri Csillag wines are made in an everyday style, which are is very food-friendly. It can be appreciated throughout the year. Superior and Grand Superior Egri Csillag wines are richer and fuller, boasting mineral notes and more evident new oak use. These wines are most appreciated from early spring to late autumn, but fuller-bodied, oak-aged wines are also popular during the cold winter months. Egri Csillag pairs well with light dishes and is a great choice with vegetable or fish starters, soups and salads. Choose wines from the latest vintage to best enjoy their fresh, light style. Superior and Grand Superior wines pair well with heartier dishes such as grilled vegetables, cream soups and roast white meats. Always store in a cool place, away from direct sunlight and heat, to best preserve its light, fruity, perfumed aromas. Serve straight from the fridge at about 8-10°C in a tulip-shaped white wine glass.
Ingredients that best match the flavour and texture of Egri Csillag include lettuce, cauliflower, fennel, legumes, citrus, apricots, apples, pears, young, light goat and cow’s cheeses, poultry, white fish and light pork dishes.