12 July 2023 Copy actual URL Facebook share Twitter share

Three things to know about the Kadarka from Szekszárd

Before the devastation of the phylloxera (an insect pest epidemic destroying a significant proportion of European vineyards in the 19th century), Kadarka was one of our most important grape varieties, and although its cultivation requires a lot of care, Szekszárd winemakers are still attached to it for its historical roots. When visiting the wine district, be sure to taste a Kadarka at the visited wineries and discover the many faces of the variety.

Why Szekszárd?

We consider it as a Hungarian grape variety, although it was brought from the Balkans by the Races fleeing the Turks. Before the phylloxera epidemic, almost 70% of Hungarian vineyards were Kadarka, but due to the pest, it almost completely disappeared from our wine-growing areas. The Szekszárd Wine District has an unquestionable merit in making it a recognised and popular variety again. The winegrowers here have always insisted on it, even though it is a very sensitive variety, not easy to cultivate. However, Kadarka loves the loamy soil of Szekszárd, to which it owes its elegance. The differences between the hilly vineyards and the microclimate within the wine-growing region result in a variety of wine styles from different wineries. In addition to traditional viticulture and winemaking, new clones are constantly being tested to ensure a more reliable harvest in the autumn.



What type of wine can be made from Kadarka?

Although Kadarka may seem to be a simplex wine, Szekszárd winemakers have made great efforts to show its many facets that the consumer can enjoy. For instance, it can be made into a fresh rosé, or if macerated for a few more hours with the skin, we can enjoy a siller wine as a result (pronounced shiller, a wine type halfway between rosé and red wine). It can be fermented in steel tanks, but it can also be put in used oak barrels to enhance its spicy character. What more, there are cases when it is aged in barrique barrels, which is an exciting experiment with the variety.

Usually it is an easy-drinking, everyday red wine, but it is also well worth tasting the more complex, single vineyard selections. And of course, Kadarka is an essential spice of the cuvée called Szekszárdi Bikavér (Bull’s Blood from Szekszárd).



What dishes does it pair well with?

The first thing that comes to mind when imagining a meal to go with Kadarka is a fish soup. No wonder, as it is a traditional pairing in and around the wine region. Its spiciness makes it an ideal accompaniment to other dishes made with paprika. Usually, it is better when fish or poultry is the base, as the Kadarka style tends to lose its distinctive flavour when paired with red meat dishes. However, it is also a good choice when preparing a spicy dish with tomatoes, whether it is a pasta dish or a pizza. Thus, you can also match this light wine with modern, cosmopolitan cuisine.



If you would like more information about the Kadarka, visit our page with a detailed description of the variety.

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