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Spotlight on Hungarian Wine

Hungarian wine might not be the first thing you think of picking up when you pop down to your local wine merchant, or are planning wine pairings for a dinner party - but boy does it have a lot to offer.

All 22 regions in Hungary make interesting, native varietal wines - so there's plenty to get your teeth into. Under Soviet rule in the Cold War, wine in Hungary was treated as a simple commodity - just like vegetables or grains - and the focus was on quantity not quality. Fast forward to today and it's a different story. The wine industry has seen investment from other large wineries around the world and local farmers have realised the amazing potential of their vineyards. The focus has shifted onto quality wines so that Hungary can compete with a tough European export market for space on shelves. 

Amongst the 22 different regions, the most famous are Tokaj - famous for the sweet wines Tokaji - and Eger, which is famous for the 'Bull's Blood' wines Egri Bikaver. The name 'bull's blood' dates back to the Siege of Eger in 1552. Legend has it that over 100,000 Ottoman Turks met a 1000 strong Hungarian army, and astonished by the strength of the Hungarian forces, the Ottoman army said they must have been drinking the blood of bulls. What's the wine like? When done properly, it's a big, rich, spicy red. Sadly there was at one point a bit of a mass marketing push with lots of low quality wine in the mix. But get your hands on a good bottle and it's top class.

We've recently started working with Novel wines, who specialises in importing Hungarian wines to the UK.

They have vast knowledge of the country and a true appreciation and desire to showcase the real quality on offer. We're thrilled to have kicked off our Hungarian collection with 4 wines from their fantastic range - including some native varieties such as Furmint and Kekfrankos

Here we've picked out our favourite red and white from the collection to get you started - but do make sure you pop across to our Hungarian page to discover the full range.

Gizella, Furmint | Harslevelu 2021

This has quickly become a standout in our Hungarian wine range. A fab introduction to dry Tokaj wine with a textured palate full of peaches, pears and white flowers before a fresh palate leads to a long, mineral finish. It is very refreshing and easy to drink. Try this with Lemon-roasted chicken, spicy fish stew, or a Moussaka. It is made up of a  blend of three villages and eight vineyards of Furmint and Harslevelu fruit, picked from vines between five and 50 years' old and then whole bunch pressed and fermented in stainless steel. The wine is 65% Furmint, renowned for its fresh acidity and orchard fruit notes, and 35% Harslevelu, a rounded, honeyed and floral variety.

Tokaj Nobilis, Peszgo Brut 2017

Introducing winemaker Sarolta Bárdos' sparkling Furmint wine. This youthful vintage fizz is made in the same way as Champagne but uses the Tokaj region's signature grape variety, Furmint. The nose is creamy with hints of fresh pears and bubblegum. Juicy and rounded on the palate, you're met with sweeping orchard fruits, crisp lemon acidity and biscuity tones. This offers the sparkling wine fan something different to try!

Try this with Crab on toast, french fries or poached salmon

Markvart, Szekszardi Bikaver 2018

Markvart owner and winemaker was born, he says, with 50% Kadarka in his blood. Raised in Szekszárd he began helping his grandfather in his winery as a child. Their family heritage is old, head-trained Kadarka vines.

Nowadays he still cultivates these vines in a 4.5 ha territory, that are one of the oldest ones of the region. Everything is managed by the family from the grapes to the bottle, working organically in the vineyards to preserve their vivid soils.

Predominantly made up of Kekfrankos, central and eastern Europe's most celebrated red grape, this blend also includes rich and fruity Cabernet Sauvignon, and spicy, meaty Syrah. The wine is traditional in style with notes of cherries and blackberries over a structured palate with herbaceous hints and milk chocolate tannins. 

Try this with braised beef, Porcini mushroom risotto, 

If you wanted to check out all of the individual wines take a look at our Hungarian wine collection.

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