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Hungary

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. 

Key Grape Varieties

Furmint -  A white grape that is the most famous and most commonly grown in Hungary, especially in Tokaj, where it is used to make sweet botrytised wines as well as dry wines with high acidity and aging potential.

Kékfrankos -  A red grape that is Hungary's most widely planted blue grape and the backbone of the popular Bikavér blend. It produces vibrant, spicy wines with forest fruit flavours and velvety tannins.

Hárslevelű - A white grape that is the second most widely planted in Hungary and makes up about 18% of the vines in Tokaj. It is used to make sweet wines with floral aromas and richness, as well as dry wines with linden honey flavours.

Key Regions

Amongst the 22 different regions, the most famous are:

Tokaj - famous for the sweet wines Tokaji

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. 

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