The Hidden Wonders of Hungarian Wine By Mikey on June 13th, 2022 in Blog Spread the love This week we’ll be focussing on the hidden wonders of Hungarian wine. Here at hometipple we only have two criteria for choosing drinks. Is it delicious? Is it value for money? Our small, dedicated tasting team has spent many hours researching and tasting thousands of products. We aim to give everyone the chance to try new, delicious drinks with the guesswork removed. It’s been a long road out of the shadow of Soviet rule since 1989. Eastern European winemakers before then were obliged to make quantity their sole production aim. Wine, to Hungary’s communist rulers, was to be treated as a commodity, much like grain or potatoes. Quality was seen as bourgeois and subversive and was to be shunned. Fortunately, the last 32 years have seen Hungarian winemakers get back to a level of quality that matches some of the best in the world. Here are four absolute crackers. Etyeki Kuria Pinot Noir The Etyeki Kúria Winery is a relatively new winery. In 1996 the team started tending old vines and planting new ones, being the first in their region to plant Pinot Noir. Head winemaker, Sándor Mérész joined the team 10 years ago and has done much to raise the profile of this already successful winery. Using his great skill and experience he’s created a wine of which any Pinot grower would be proud. Etyeki Kuria Pinot Noir has flavours of bright strawberry, raspberry and red cherry which combine beautifully with the smell of old leather-bound books and a touch of violets. Soft tannins make themselves known at the end to keep the leather and cherries lingering in your mouth for an age. First-rate on all fronts. Chateau Megyer Furmint The first of our two Chateau Megyer wines for this month will be a lot less familiar to many than its famous sibling below. Situated in the heart of Tokaji Chateau Megyer has vineyards dating back to the 1500s. And being a Hungarian Grand Cru, there is little doubting the quality of the vineyard sites. Winemakers from Bordeaux purchased the Chateau in the early 1990s. It has been one of the leading lights of the region ever since. Their dry Furmint is a delicious wine made from the principal white grape of the region in both dry and sweet applications. Flavours of green apples, ripe pears, lemon zest, white peach and a touch of creaminess come to the fore. Something like chalk dust lingers at the back and when combined with lovely refreshing, but not-too-sharp acidity makes for an irresistible white you can drink anywhere at any time. Vida Estate La Vida One of our all-time favourite wines. Péter Vida is a winemaker of exceptional skill and works here with exceptional fruit. La Vida is only made in the very best years, and the results are genuinely outstanding. Here’s a question: Would you like a £150 Bordeaux from one of the BIG names for under £30? Yes? Then you’re in luck. It’s primarily Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but blended with local variety Kadarka which does the Cab Franc job you get in Bordeaux blends. Eucalyptus and blackcurrant hit your nose first (just like a good Mouton Rothschild), then its flavours of dark cherry, black plum, more blackcurrant and some forest floor. Toast, smoke and cooking spices with a tiny hint of diesel engine overlay all that lovely fruit. Tannins are ripe and super-smooth and the bright acid balances everything to perfection. We could write about (and drink) this all day. Chateau Megyer Aszú 5 Puttonyos Tokaji We’ve already covered the history of this excellent winery and its Grand Cru vineyards. Let’s focus on its most famous product – sweet Tokaji. Made primarily from the Furmint grape and blended with Hárslevelű and Sárga Muskatàly. This is one of the world’s greatest wines arguably only comparable to the finest Sauternes. This wine was the preserve of Royals and Nobles for many years, earlier in its history. The grapes for this wine are grown in vineyards with high Autumn humidity. The grapes are left on the vine, where they dehydrate and are eventually attacked by Noble Rot. This concentrates the sugars giving a wine that is lusciously sweet but retains balancing acidity. Flavours of honey, orange blossom, hazelnut, tinned peaches, orange peel and a little lemon curd make this a sweet wine that should be top of any shopping list.