Wine & Travel

Snooth User: mikejapan

hungary visit

Posted by mikejapan, Sep 16, 2010.

 I will be visiting Hungary in mid-October. I will be in the Pecs area for a week and was wondering if someone who is familiar with that area could recommend any vineyards or cellars to visit for tasting. I am a novice and I am open to all suggestions.


Reply by GregT, Sep 17, 2010.


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Mike - Pecs is about 20 miles from Villány, which many people consider the best red wine region in Hungary. It's warmer than many places. The grapes you should try are most likely not familiar to most readers of this forum, as they're grown mostly in Hungary, but that doesn't mean they're not good.

One of the most interesting might be Kékoportó, (Kék means blue in Hungarian), so that would translate to Blue Portuguese. Just recently they had to change that name for some EU reasons, and now most people call the grape Pportó, which seems even worse to me. I guess the Portuguese were offended by being blue?? There's a bit in Austria, where they call it Blauer Portguieser, but it's mostly in Hungary. It's rarely a profound wine, usually fairly light, but try some because you won't find it elsewhere.

Probably more interesting are Kadarka and Kékfrankos. Kadarka was brought to Hungary by Serbs fleeing the Turks and it's very closely identified with Hungary, although there is little planted these days. It's a bit like Pinot Noir in a way - light to medium body, not massive tannins, and it even tastes a bit like it, but it ripens very late, rather than early like Pinot Noir. That makes it susceptible to fall frost, and is one reason the communists pulled out a lot of it. But it's perhaps the most closely identified with Hungary, so try that.

Kékfrankos (Kék again, so this is Blue Franc) is grown in Austria and a few other places as well, where it's knows as Blaufrankish. It's becoming kind of trendy in NY for people who are trying it for the first time and are dying to tell their friends about their latest discovery, but it's a tricky grape. Done correctly, it's perhaps the best grape of all for Hungary. But there's a lot of real bad Kékfrankos out.

And then of course, Hungary does amazingly good Cab Franc and Merlot in the area.

Probably the most famous producer is Gere, and if you can find it, try the Solus. The Kopar is also highly regarded, but the Solus is worth looking for. It's world class level. It's also expensive. Gere Attila is the winery you might want to ask for. (They put their family names first, in the USA we'd call him Attila Gere, pronounced something like gehr-eh). Weninger from Austria has a deal with them - Weninger owned vineyards in Hungary prior to WWII, and they're a decent producer. Tiffan is worth looking for. I just tasted through their wines last week and I'd recommend you find them. Malatiszky is another producer you may want to find. Malatiszky Csaba is who to look for. Gunzer Zoltan I don't know enough to say one way or another, I've only had their wines once, not over many years. And Bock may be the second, or perhaps the first, best known, but underwhelmed me for years.

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Reply by GregT, Sep 17, 2010.

Oh, and the page properties and the circular snooth reference are all courtesy of Snooth's enhanced user interface and lack of edit functions. 

Reply by mikejapan, Sep 17, 2010.


 Thanks for the info. I'll try and find as many as I can. I am really looking forward to this trip.



Reply by GregT, Sep 17, 2010.

You'll have a great time.  I just got back a few days ago.

Typo above - it's Oportó,

Forgot about Vylyan winery.  You've also got Gunzer, Mayer Robert, and probably a dozen more but I don't know them.

And don't overlook the whites.  Hungary's whites are for the most part, better than their reds, although like I said, some of the reds are real standouts.  But look for some Olaszrizling - it's not related to Riesling but it's probably one of the, or maybe the, most widely planted grape in Hungary and it's delicious when handled well.  I know Gere does one. 

Maybe look for Leányka or Királyleányka, both of which are light and kind of floral.  But you'll be in Hungary's red wine area - it's the warmest and considered by many the best place for reds.  I've had pretty good reds from elsewhere but I guess they're most consistently good there, that's why I didn't mention any whites. 

Anyhow, have a great trip and let us know how you liked it.

Reply by mikejapan, Nov 6, 2010.

 Had a great visit to Hungary! We have been there a few times but this was the first time we thought about trying some different wines instead of beer. Of course we enjoy the Tokaji but have not tried many reds. The day we ended up in Villany was near the end of October and the weather was Cold, rainy and windy. Since we relied on public transportation from Pecs our time was also limited. We found the town pretty much devoid of tourists so the cellars we did try were all ours. We really didn't expect to find as many feledes or semi-sweet reds. The kekfrankos was a bit dry for us but the Oportos and merlots were enjoyable. We found an opomer at the Osi cellar (Oporto-Merlot blend) We really enjoyed. Also a sweet Merlot that had a very full flavor. Since we are complete novices we only know what tastes good to us but these did. Hopefully we will get back to Villany and try some more wine before the season gets too late the next time we visit Hungary.

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