Wine Regions Of Hungary
The land of Hungary has always been blessed with a climate and soils perfect for viticulture and wine making. A wide variety of soil types and sunshine in abundance have made the land a wine making region that goes back to the Celts in the 3rd century ad.
The Romans brought the first vine-shoots to this fertile land of the Carpathian Basin, and they established the first vineyards in Szerémség, Baranya, Tolna, the Buda Hills and Lake Fertő. It has been said that Attila the Hun's warriors were fond of Hungarian wines, and at the time of the Magyar tribes (896 AD) Arpád awarded his subjects with vineyards in the later legendary Tokaj-Hegyalja region.
The wines of Szekszárd, Somlóvásárhely, Pannonhalma, Mór, Eger, and Csopak were a major source of income during the medieval period too. At around the 14th century new areas were designated for vineyards and royal vineyards were created at Somlo. Other areas popular at that time included Gyöngyös, Debrö, Verpelét and Domoszlo.
The cities of Sopron, Pozsony, Köszeg, and of course Buda passed severe regulations in protection of their own wines, banning the import and selling of foreign wines. Before the 150-year occupation of the Turks many varieties of Italian and French grapes were brought in, as well as the custom of producing so called ürmös csemegebor, or vermouth. The Kadarka grape, later widely grown, was brought to the Szekszárd region by the Serbs persecuted by the Turks. The Turks also destroyed the famous Szerémség vineyards. In the Turkish era the Eger white grapes were replaced by red types and in time the Hungarians learnt how to make red wines from the Serbs.
It was in the 16th century that the Tokaj region started to be fashionable, with late harvesting and the aszu grapes (prone to botrytis) producing the sweet white wines the region is still renowned for. Tokaj became known as the 'wine of kings, king of wines', so termed by the Sun King, Louis XIV. It was soon to become a favourite among the royal households of Europe.
The Wines of the Balaton hills were greatly valued, especially the Badacsony types. The Books of Badacsony Hegyközség village were first written in 1752 which was when most peasant wine cellars were built (the date is carved into the lintel of each cellar), and the characteristic arcaded, two-storey wineries were erected then too.
Due to the breaking of indigenous grasslands in the Great Plain (between the Danube and the Tisza rivers) in the last decade of the 18th century, sand overran the land. In order to obstruct the diffusion of sand vine plantations were founded. By the end of the century there were a great many cellars, and modern methods of cooperage were adopted.
In the 19th century new production methods were developed, the cubic capacity of barrels was standardized, and in the latter half of the century vinicultural equipment was fully modernized.
THE CSONGRÁD WINE REGION
"LAND OF THE FIERY CSONGRADI KADARKA WINE"
During the vegetation period of the vine this wine region is the warmest and sunniest part of the country. Principally the red and 'siller' (rose) wines became known. The white wines of the wine region contain moderate acids, rich in fragrance and aroma. The red wines are characterized by richness in coloring agents, pleasant acerbity and excellent aroma.
Main grape varieties: Kadarka, Kékfrankos, Zweigelt, Olaszrizling
"THE FIERY WINES OF THE CELLAR ROWS"
In the cellar villages characterized by rows of cellars with rustic baroque styled, gabled buildings, the wine was aged in cellars hollowed out in the loess. The white wines of the wine region are rich in fragrance and aroma, while the red wines rival the highly ranked wines produced in hilly regions.
Main grape varieties: Kékfrankos, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Kadarka
"THE TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN SAND"
This is the largest wine region of Hungary. After the damages of phylloxera, the immune sand territories grew in value. The wines of this wine region are rich in fragrance and flavours, if they are produced by reductive technologies, they are light, fresh, usually slightly mild.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Ezerjó, lzsáki, Cserszegi Füszeres, Kékfrankos
THE ÁSZÁR-NESZMÉLYI WINE REGION
"THE PEARLS OF THE BLUE DANUBE"
The wine region is located on the southern, protected slopes of the hills planted with vines between the Danube and the Transdanubian mountain range. This area grows lively wines, which are rich in fragrance and aroma with pleasant acid content.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Tramini, Chardonnay, Irsai Olivér
"THE FIERY WINES OF THE EXTINCT VOLCANO"
The southern slopes protected from the north by mountains reach down to the water of Lake Balaton. The Badacsony wines are fiery, aromatic, full-bodied, have fine acids and an intensive bouquet. In the excellent wines of the outstanding vintages the "silky" natural sugar content can often be tasted.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Szürkebarát, Kéknyelü
"THE FIERY WINES OF THE RED SOILS"
From the Roman Age the prospering vini- and viticulture was based on the excellent ecological conditions on the northern shore of Lake Balaton. The wines of the wine region have fine acid composition; they are full-bodied and fragrant. The taste of mignonette and bitter almond often dominates in the white wines.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Rizlingszilváni, Tramini, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
THE BALATOMMELLÉK WINE REGION
"THE WINES OF THE FIERY CIRQUE"
The grapes are ripened by the excellent ecological conditions of the Kai basin, the sunny cirque of the ancient Pannonian Sea and by the gentle southern slopes of the volcanic hills. The particularly elegant full-bodied wines have intense acid contents, with a pleasant and discrete fragrance.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Rizlingszilvani, Chardonnay, Zöldveltelini
THE ETYEK WINE REGION
"THE WINES OF SPARKLING WINE"
The relatively small quantity of precipitation, the windy plateaus, the sunshine, the rich loess and deep-layered clay soils provide good conditions for the quality viniculture. At the end of the 19th century the basic white wines used to make the famous sparkling wines of the Törley family were also grown in the Etyek area. Main grape varieties: Chardonnay, Olaszrizling, Sauvignon Blanc, Királyleányka
"THE SECRETS OF THE CAPUCHIN CELLARS"
On the sunny southern, south-western, protected slopes of the Vértes Mountains the dominant variety was Ezerjó. The highly appreciated wines of this wine region are fiery, have lively acid content, are full-bodied, rich in fragrance and aroma.
Main grape varieties: Ezerjó, Leányka, Tramini
THE PANNONHALMA-SOKORÓ WINE REGION
"THE WINES OF THE BENEDICTINE ARCH-ABBOT"
After the founding of the Hungarian State vines were grown and wine made on Saint Martin's Hill. Due to its favorable situation and climatic endowments, excellent white wines were produced here for centuries. Its outstanding wines are rich in fragrance and aroma agents, their extract content is high and the distinguished varietal and local character characterizes them.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Rajnai Rizling, Tramini
"THE FIERY WINE OF WEDDINGNIGHTS: THE SOMLAI WINE"
This is the smallest wine region of Hungary, with a long history. The Somló wines are fiery, with a heavy, masculine character, high acid and alcohol content. During the long ageing in wooden casks a fine, elegant harmony of fragrance, taste and aroma develops in the wines. According to popular memory, in the imperial court of Vienna, Somló wines were drunk after weddings to promote the birth of a male heir to the throne.
Main grape varieties: Hárslevelü, Furmint, Olaszrizling, Juhfark
"THE WINES OF THE PONCIHTER ALLEGIANCE"
This is one of the most ancient wine regions of Hungary. On the prealpine slopes protected from the northwest and used for vine growing the climate is balanced. After the naturalization of blue grape varieties, red ones gradually replaced the white wines. The characteristic products of the wine region are the somewhat tannic red wines with a strong character and white wines having intense acid contents. Main grape varieties: Kékfrankos, Zweigelt, Cabernet Franc, Zöldveltelini, Sauvignon Blanc
THE SOUTH BALATON WINE REGION
"THE WINES OF HOPE AND FAITH"
Along the southern shore of Lake Balaton after the phylloxera epidemic a flourishing vini- and viticulture developed. The wide range of quality wines produced here are excellently suited to modern taste. They are refined, elegant and rich in fragrance and aroma.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Chardonnay, Királyleá6nyka, Rajnai Rizling, Muscat Ottonel, Kékfrankos, Cabernet Sauvignon
"THE LAND OF SPICY, FIERY WINES"
On the gentle sunny slopes, where the climate shows a Mediterranean influence, grapes giving excellent white and red wine are grown. In the past the red wine of the Kadarka used to be dominant, but its place has been taken over by fiery, spicy white wines which are slightly soft, but rich in fragrance and aroma agents.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Chardonnay, Cirfandli
"THE RED WINES OF SCHUBERT AND LISZT"
In this sunny wine region with Mediterranean influence excellent red wines are produced. The Szekszárd red wines are rich in colouring agent, they are fiery and "velvety". The Szekszárdi Bikavér (Bull's Blood) is ranked outstandingly high. Up to recent decades the Kadarka variety, which ripens late, but sometimes gives excellent flavoured wine, dominated, but recently Kékfrankos, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which can be produced more reliably, have become predominant
"THE MEDITERRANEAN FIERY WINES OF THE DEVIL"
In the Villany zone the Mediterranean climate guarantees excellent conditions for the production of full-bodied red wines rich in colouring agent, with a dark ruby colour. Having aged in wooden casks the wines are velvety, rich in fragrance and aroma. The Siklós white wines are fiery; those produced from over ripened, dried grapes are often of exceptional quality.
Main grape varieties: Kékoportó, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Olaszrizling, Hárslevelü
THE BÜKKALJA WINE REGION
"THE GOLD OF ANCIENT CELLARS"
On the gentle southern and southwestern slopes of the Bükk mountains the enormous cellar systems hollowed out of the rhyolite tuff were used to mature the wines as early as the Middle Ages. The fiery, characteristic white wines of the wine region have pleasant acid composition, richness in fragrance and aroma and outstanding quality, while the red wines also have good aroma.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Leányka, Cserszegi Füszeres, Kékfrankos
"THE LAND OF THE BIKAVER BULL'S BLOOD - WINES"
A wine region with rich medieval history. The Eger red wines are characterized by attractive colour and the pleasant tannic acid content. During the several years of ageing in large wooden casks in the cellars with an excellent microclimate, these wines become pleasantly tangy, "velvety", full-bodied wines rich in aroma. The white wines are harmonious and have pleasant fragrance and aroma.
Main grape varieties: Kékfrankos, Kékoportó, Cabernet Sauvignon, Olaszrizling, Leányka
"THE WINES OF AN ISLAND IN THE PANNONIAN SEA"
In the vineyards of the southern slopes of the Mátra Mountains, protected from the north, large quantities of wine were already produced in the Middle Ages. The wine region is characterised by the great care given to cultivation of the vineyards. The white wines have spicy fragrance; they are full-bodied, fiery and harmonious.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, HársievelüG, Chardonnay, Muscat Ottonel
"THE WINE OF KINGS, THE KING OF WINES"
Since the middle of the 16th century, thanks to the ASZU wines this has been a world famous wine region rising above the others for the quality of the wine produced here. The Tokay Aszu and Szamorodni wines became popular wine specialties of royal, papal and aristocratic tables. The Furmint and Hárslevelü wines are fiery, full-bodied with rich flavor and aroma agents, while the Tokay wine specialties are world famous with their unsurpassable rich aroma and excellent distinctive character.
Main grape varieties: Furmint, Hárslevelü, Muscat Lunel, Oremus
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THE ZALA WINE REGION
"THE REGION OF PLEASANT INVITING CELLARS"
On the southern slopes of the gentle hills of Zala the traditions of vine dressing have their roots in the historical past. The wines of Zala are characterized by their diversity, with a higher-than average acid content, and the aromatic varieties provide an exceptional experience.
Main grape varieties: Olaszrizling, Rizlingszilváni, Cserszegi Füszeres
THE TOLNA WINE REGION
"THE JOY OF THE WINE GOURMER"
It is very high quality light, fresh wines of a fruit variety, which are produced in the winegrowing region of Tolna, made primarily through a reductive procedure
Main grape varieties: Chardonnay, Tramini, Zöldveltelini, Olaszrizling, Sauvignon Blanc
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