The rise of Hungarian reds?

A radical shift in the way many Hungarian producers are approaching their red winemaking is creating an exciting segment to watch out for.

red-wine-glassSpeaking at a tasting in London yesterday (23 June), Elizabeth Gabay MW gave a masterclass on Hungarian wine that included reds from the regions of Villány and Szekszard.

The six wines (three red, three white) were good examples of Hungary’s capacity for making “whites with strength of flavour and reds with elegance,” as she said.

Explaining how Hungary was often renowned for its big, heavily oaked “B&Q” red wines, Gabay noted that a trend for lighter, often unoaked Cabernet Francs in Villány was “quite radical”.

She continued: “Big wines with lots of concentration used to be an indication of quality so producers switching to light and delicate was a revelation, even revolution and it’s gaining ground. It’s a style to look out for, there are some fantastic Cabernet Francs coming through.”

The variety is still not (yet) widely planted but it has been picked out as a variety producers want to champion. Although supportive of the decision, Gabay nonetheless said it was a “brave move to take on an international variety as it will always be judged against others; unlike Furmint [or other native Hungarian grapes] where you will lead the way stylistically.”

It was then on to the hills around Szekszard, which Gabay said was possibly, “one of the most exciting areas in Hungary at the moment.”

Under the communists many of the vines in the area were dug up and built over but producers are reclaiming patches of earth that remain and the region is undergoing something of a revival.

A chief grape here is Kadarka which, although previously used for bulk production and difficult to make, can produce wines of Pinot Noir-like character.

It is “hard to do well” as Gabay admitted but the results can undoubtedly be worth it. Kadarka also has a useful role to play in the Szekszard version of Bikavér or ‘bull’s blood’ where it can lend perfume and freshness which differentiates the wine from its more famous cousin in Eger.

 

One Response to “The rise of Hungarian reds?”

  1. Check out the 2014 “Bulls Blood” from TesoAria Winery in Roseburg, Oregon. Bulls Blood varietals includes Kadarka, Kekfrankos and Blauer Portugieser
    You can find the wines online at http://www.tesoaria.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletters

Marketing Manager

Amathus Drinks Plc
London, UK

Partner Manager - Managed On-Trade

Maverick Drinks
London, UK

Brand Manager

Hatch Mansfield
Ascot, Berkshire

Events Sales Executive

The Drinks Business Hong Kong
Hong Kong

Head of Sales

IWSC
London, UK

Logistic and Fullfilment - Whisky (and wine) administrator

Stilnovisti Ltd
London, United Kingdom // Dufftown, Keith, United Kingdom

Account Manager

Harviestoun Brewery
Field Based, UK

Buyer - Spain & South America

Enotria&Coe
London, UK

Events Sales Manager

Enotria&Coe
Field based - London or surrounding area

IBWSS China

Shanghai,China
5th Nov 2018

Exploring Beaujolais Wines Across The Years & Appellations

Manchester,United Kingdom
6th Nov 2018

Pink Rosé Festival

Cannes,France
7th Feb 2019
Click to view more

Rioja Masters 2018

Deadline : 26th October 2018

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2019

Deadline : 1st November 2018

Click to view more

The Global Sparkling Masters 2018

As with all of the drinks business awards, our judging panel is comprised of Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers and senior buyers making the competition globally renowned.

Champagne Masters 2018

Enter your wines into the Champagne Masters 2018, the only blind competition dedicated to Champagne in the UK.

Click to view more