Author: Kristian Kielmayer, Ágnes Herczeg
Once a very widespread, versatile Hungarian white grape variety, it was used to make various styles of wine, from dry to botrytised sweet wines. Some records maintain that Capuchins from Mór introduced it into the country, while others say that it originated in Hungary and has been known here for much longer. It was also called Buda Fehér earlier, giving rise to the assumption that it was once a widespread variety in Buda.
It has medium-sized, heart-shaped, symmetrical leaves and medium-sized clusters with compact, juicy, thin-skinned berries. It has also been used extensively to breed other grape varieties, so it is the parent of varieties such as Generosa, Zenith, Zengő and Zeus. The first adjective that comes to mind when describing its wines is probably acidic; however, the variety is capable of much more than this.
It is also known by various German synonyms, e.g. Tausendgut(e), Tausent Güte, all of which are essentially literal translations of the Hungarian name, which essentially means ’a thousand blessings’. It is not recorded in either Austria or Germany.
According to statistics, around 1,000 hectares of it are cultivated worldwide, with less than 600 hectares in Hungary. It is the most important variety in the Mór wine district, making up 20% of its vineyard area, while elsewhere in the country, it is also relatively important in the Neszmély wine district. The Kunság district, with its 370 hectares, boasts the highest number of plantings. The Soltvadkert PDO should be noted here. This wine of protected origin must be 100% Ezerjóand can be made in three styles: dry wine, sweet wine produced from raisined grapes and sparkling wine.
Lowland Soltbadkert is characterised by calcareous sand and, in places, loess, which heats up relatively quickly.
The Mór wine district, on the other hand, is characterised by limestone and loess along with luvisols. It is a relatively cool region, which results in lean, fresh wines. Their crisp, high acidity and often oily texture demonstrates how appealing the variety can be when made as a dry wine, although you can also find wines with significant amounts of residual sugar. It also makes a good blending partner for varieties such as Chardonnay.
It is typically a neutral variety, capable of producing relatively high alcohol alongside its high acidity. It is often characterised by herbs, basil, dill, cut grass and some medicinal notes, together with restrained fruit, pear and honey, sometimes with an oily texture. When made in a sweet style, it also boasts ripe stone fruits along with these herbal notes. It also takes well to oak ageing. Its neutral character makes it a good transmitter of terroir.
Ezerjó grape bunch and leaf
Ezerjó is a fantastic food wine as its flavours are relatively neutral, so it brings out the fine, delicate spices in various dishes. However, its high, fresh acidity means it can also lift heavy, fatty ingredients and discretely emphasise acidic ingredients, giving an elegant boost to dishes. As a sweet wine, it’s a real wildcard, as its high acidity and neutrality means it not only works well with desserts but is also a perfect pairing for liver dishes, blue cheese and hot, spicy Asian food. Ezerjó is basically a wine that you can enjoy all year round thanks to its food friendliness. High-quality Ezerjó can also develop in bottle, so you can lay down the best wines for several years. Store in a cool place, at a constant temperature, away from sunlight and direct heat. Serve at around 9-12°C in a tulip-shaped white wine glass depending on maturity and style.
Ingredients that best match the flavour and texture of wines made from Ezerjó include lettuce, citrus fruit, coriander, fresh herbs, pumpkin, legumes, full-fat cheeses, creamy dishes, poultry, pork, offal and oily fish. Dry Ezerjó is also perfect with potato gratin or grilled pork, while sweet versions would work well with an apricot cheesecake and aged Ezerjó would be perfect with a slice of Eszterházy gateau.