Author: dr. Gabriella Mészáros

Red wines

Red wines

Red wine is made from black grape varieties. Their skins contain more pigments and tannin, i.e. polyphenols. The latter chemicals give red wine its different character, since they cause the tissues lining your mouth to contract. In addition to the wine’s colour, this astringent effect is what differentiates red wine from other types of wine.

The amount of tannin in the wine usually depends on how thick the grape skins of a particular variety are. Varieties with thin skins usually prefer cooler climates and contain fewer pigments while their wines are fruitier and livelier. Varieties with thicker skins only produce fine wines in warmer climates, where there is sufficient sunlight and the temperature is high enough for the grapes to ripen fully. Lighter, fruitier red wines are not always matured in oak, although it is still the more common production method.

The climatic conditions of the Carpathian Basin are more suitable for producing fruity, light wines, especially from Kékfrankos, Kadarka, Zweigelt and Portugieser. The main production areas for black varieties with thick skins and higher tannin content are found around Szekszárd, Villány and Csongrád. It is warm enough here for these varieties to ripen fully. In Villány, especially fine ageworthy wines are made from Cabernet Franc; however, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah also produce unique, exciting wines in this wine district, even in international comparison. Finished wines from these varieties are also sometimes blended together. This is also popular in other wine regions, for example in the famous Bordeaux region. Wines made from varieties rich in tannins are among the most long-lived wines in the world.

Our concentrated, elegant, not overly tannic wines are able to express the characteristics of their production areas too. A specialty unique to the Carpathian Basin is a red wine called Bikavér (which translates as Bull’s Blood), which is made in Eger and Szekszárd. Behind the label in both regions is a vibrant wine with lively acidity based on Kékfrankos. The shades of red wine are partially due to the grape variety itself. As the wine develops, its colour intensity fades continuously. This is because the tannin is gradually absorbed into the wine, lightening its colour. However, the wine’s hue becomes warmer during this process, just like with white wines.

A high-quality red wine often requires a large glass and a decanter enabling it to be aired. This is known as decanting.

The process of making red wine


Black grape varieties, red wine styles

Cabernet Franc
Cabernet Sauvignon
Egri Bikavér
Gamay noir
Pinot Noir
Red blends
Szekszárdi Bikavér
Villányi Franc
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