Top Wine Regions in Hungary
Hungary is considered to be one of Europe’s well known wine making countries. Due to its climate and soil almost all the territory of the country is suitable for the cultivation of all kinds of grapes. After this, it is not a wonder that such a small country has got 22 official wine regions. Thanks to the different climatic effects that influence the country’s weather, all kinds of grapes can be cultivated and hence all types of wines made. The making of classical wine types and those specific to Hungary are in a healthy balance in the whole country, although this top wine regions guide will put an accent to regions where primarily traditional Hungarian wines are made. All these regions produce of course very good quality classical wine types as well.
The Tokaj-Hegyalja Wine Region
Tokaj was already a wine region when the Hungarians arrived to the Carpathian Basin in 896 AD and remained so through the Middle Ages when monks took care of the wine yards and cellars to produce of wine for the country’s elite. Being the most well known wine region of Hungary the Tokaj region produces some internationally renown white and sweet dessert wines. The most famous of these being the unique Tokaji Aszú, this specially produced wine was once called by Louis XVI the ‘Wine of Kings, King of Wines’. Other specialties of the region are the Tokaji Hárslevelű, the Tokaji Szamorodni, the Tokaji Furmint and one of the world’s most exquisite wines, the Eszencia (Essence). Tokaji Aszú is something you definitely have to taste if you are in Hungary.
The Villány Wine Region
Hungary’s southernmost vine making region, Villány was probably used for the same purpose since the Celtic occupancy of the region and Romans were surely raised grapes here. Today the area produces some of the finest and most varied red wine in the country. Due to the fact that most wine cellars are quite close to each other and most of them are open for visitors, Villány is a perfect place for wine tasting tours during which you can enjoy the regions full-bodied and spicy red wines. There are loads of smaller or larger cellars open for visitors ran by the most renown wine making families of the region. You can see how the wine is deposited, you can ask about the process of wine making and naturally taste the wines of the house.
The Eger Wine Region
Eger’s most notable wine is the world famous Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood of Eger) -probably the most well known wine of Hungary abroad – one of the favorites of Gerard Depardieu. This amazing dry red wine is a blend of three kinds of local grapes, the base of the mixture being the Kékfrankos. There are many legends about the origin of the name, the most probable dates back to the siege of the Castle of Eger by the Ottomans in 1552. According to that one, the largely outnumbered Hungarian defenders drank the local red wine to revive, the Ottomans saw the red fluid running down their beards and thought the rebounded Hungarians drank bull’s blood.
Wine Region Around Lake Balaton
The most scenic among the wine producing regions of Hungary would be the wine region around lake Balaton with its amazing landscape and beautiful views over the largest lake of Central Europe. They produce one of my all time favorite wines, the Szürkebarát or ‘Grey Monk’ which got its name from the Cistercian monks that used to run most of the wineries and cellars of the region. This light, sweet wine is great on hot summer evenings while you watch the sun setting beyond the lake.
These are only the top of the top wine regions in Hungary, maybe the most famous, but others of the 22 are not less notable and really worth a visit. Actually, if you are a true wine gourmet, the whole country is just one big wine tasting tour.