The warm weather is finally here, with the sun shining more than the rain falling, and the terraces open and filling up with thirsty drinkers. So, it’s time to learn something about an unofficial Hungarikum, i.e. something inherently Hungarian, that you should definitely know about, and try, if you are in Hungary in the summer. You can drink it on a terrace, in a ‘ruin pub’, at the lakeside, at a winery, at a festival or just in the garden, wherever you’d like something more refreshing than a simple glass of wine. You’ll soon be converted!
As well known and popular as Lake Velence is for hiking, cycling and beach holidays, it is less known as a wine-producing area. It is nor a wine region, neither a separate wine district, but an area belonging to the Etyek-Buda Wine District. However, it is well worth taking a deeper look at this territory, as there are many exciting wineries from Agárd to Pázmánd.
Hungary cultivates over 200 different varieties, which include many international varieties and local Carpathian Basin varieties, such as Olaszrizling, Kékfrankos and Kadarka, which are grown all over Central Europe. However, Hungary also boasts a few hidden, Hungarian gems that can pretty much only be found in this country, and sometimes only even in one wine district! Let’s take a quick look at a handful of these. Three ancient Hungarian varieties and two modern crossings.
Winemaking is an international business, not only now but in the past too. Many of the winemaking skills and varieties used in Hungary today were brought to the country by people settling here from elsewhere. Settlers from Italy, Burgundy, Anjou and the Rhine Valley all brought their traditions and winemaking practices with them as did the monks of the Benedictine Order and later the Swabians and Serbs. And it’s no different today, as not only Hungarians are making wine in Hungary, but also French, Germans, Swiss, a Finn, Austrians, a Brit and a Latvian, some by chance and some by design. Let’s meet a few of them.
Hungary is a treasure trove of treats for wine lovers to discover. With its centuries of winemaking traditions, unique varieties, stunning landscapes, unusual built heritage, wine specialities and welcoming winemakers, there’s certainly plenty to explore. And as you will be so spoiled for choice, we’ve put together a list of 10 places that wine lovers visiting Hungary really should not miss.
As the summer months approach, there is a sense of freedom in the air. Getting used to it shouldn’t be a problem, since the warming weather brings us more and more wine events. Let's see what May has in store. The last month of spring promises plenty of outdoor wine adventures.
“I’ll pour you some yarrow syrup, which is good for the astral body,” says Márk Egly in the morning, after our long journey, smiling at the Palace Cellar at the foot of Sümeg Castle. The owner and winemaker of the vineyard knows all about herbs and biodynamics, making his wines without chemicals, with as little intervention and as little harshness as possible. “What I want to achieve is for the consumer not to realise that they are drinking natural wine without compromise,” he lays this proposition on the table, and the tasting and conversation simply confirm it.