Hungary Wine Country
Hungary wine country is the most important wine producer in Eastern Europe. Although the country is primarily known due to the famous sweet wine Tokaj Aszú, dry wines are also produced here on a large scale.
Hungary wine country is characterized by the central European, continental climate with hot summers and cold winters. The geographical latitude corresponds to the French Burgundy. The location and climate of the country favor the production of aromatic white wines. Around 2,000 hours of sunshine a year also creates good conditions for the production of red wines. The Danube, flowing from north to south, divides the country into about two large halves, where Hungarian wine regions stretch.
The approximately 72,000 hectares of vineyards in Hungary are spread over almost the entire country, only the flat southeast is not planted with grape vineyards.
With almost 70% of production, Hungary is predominantly a white wine country, although the red wine variety Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) dominates. Furmint grape variety ranks third after the Olasz Rizling (Welschriesling). The terroirs of different Hungarian wine regions favor different grape varieties, which results in distinctive wines each region produces.
Wine Tourism in Hungary
During the last decade, the wine and gastronomic scene of Hungary have been growing fast. The wine country that gained the reputation for the production of one of the best sweet wines in the world, today hosts wine connoisseurs and world travelers. Here, you can find a diversity of wine tourism experiences not only in wine regions but also in Budapest. This wonderful city is famous for its wine bars and tasting rooms, where you can explore the diversity of the country.
Hungarian Wine Regions
The Land of Diversity
Hungary wine country has a long history of winemaking that goes back to the 5th century AD. There are around 22 officially recognized Hungarian wine regions that are distributed across the country. All the Hungarian wine regions have distinctive characteristics and produce diverse wines. Here, we will review some of the key wine regions that produce world-renowned wines.
Tokaj Wine Region – Land of Noble Sweet Wines
Tokaj is considered to be one of the most famous Hungarian wine regions. The popularity of the region reached a peak at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries with the help of Tokaj Aszú wine. Tokaj Aszú is the world-famous sweet, topaz-colored wine produced from late-ripened, Botrytis cinerea affected grapes. Botrytis cinerea mold on grapes increases sugar and flavor concentration, which ends up in the honeylike sweetness of the wine. Officially there are 6 different white grape varieties that are accepted in Tokaj Aszu production: Furmint, Muscat, Kabar, Hárslevelű, Kövérszőlő, and Zéta. The grapes in the Tokaj wine region benefit not only from the dry, hot summers, but also from the long, warm, and foggy autumns, which provide ideal growing conditions for the noble rot fungus.
Since for the production of Tokaj Aszú production, noble rot, raisin-like shrub berries are needed, the wine-growing measures aim to encourage the entry of Botrytis cinerea in the vineyard. Strict pruning is also required to reduce the yield and to harvest grapes with high must weights. Due to the botrytis shrinkage of the grapes, the harvest takes place very late, usually in November. The grapes are laboriously harvested manually in numerous reading processes. Here, the noble rot and not noble rot grapes are selected and processed separately.
The Tokaj Aszú can be produced according to various production processes, whereby a distinction can be made between oxidative and reductive expansion depending on the amount of air contact that the wine experiences during production. This results in different wine styles.
Badacsony – At the Coast of Beautiful Balaton Lake
The region lies in the middle of western Hungary, on the north-western shore of Lake Balaton, and in the Tapolca and the Kali basin. It is the most beautiful wine region in the country because the gentle hills offer magnificent views of the lake. The main wine towns are Badacsony itself, Szigliget, Gulács, the Tóti, and Szent-György Hegy Hills and the villages of Csobánc and Hajagos.
Find out about Wine Tasting & Tours in Badacsony to enjoy your visit to the region.
Other Notable Wine Regions
Fortunately, white wines grow on Lake Balaton, also between the Danube and Tisza in the south of the country, as well as on the Bodrog and Tisza around Tokaj in the northeast. So, wherever there are suitable fish dishes. One of the famous red wine areas is around Eger in the northeastern hilly landscape. Here, among others, excellent red wine Egri Bikavér is produced. Egri Bikavér translates as “Bull’s Blood” and it is a Cuvee made from Blaufränkisch, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
In the southern part of the country, other Hungarian wine regions such as Villány, Szekszárd, and the western Hungarian Sopron, produce exceptional wines that well accompany distinctive Hungarian cuisine.
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