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An Introduction to Hungarian Wines

Updated on December 1, 2012
Lake Balaton Vinevards
Lake Balaton Vinevards

Hungarian Vineyards and Grapes

Lake Balaton
Lake Balaton
Vineyard in Eger
Vineyard in Eger
Wine Harvest in Eger
Wine Harvest in Eger
Villany Vineyards
Villany Vineyards
Wine Grapes in Eger
Wine Grapes in Eger
Kekfrankos Grapes used in Egri Bikaver Wine
Kekfrankos Grapes used in Egri Bikaver Wine
Furmint Grape used for Tokaj Wine
Furmint Grape used for Tokaj Wine
Harslevelu Grapes used for Tokaj Wine
Harslevelu Grapes used for Tokaj Wine
Tokaj Eszencia
Tokaj Eszencia

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An Introduction to Hungarian Wine

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The Romans brought the first grapevines to Hungary and by the fifth century there were extensive vineyards. In 2010, Hungary accounted for nearly 1.5 percent of the world’s wine production and the quality is rapidly improving since the Communists left.

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Hungary produces many different wines both red and white, but it is famous for only one, Tokaj. King Louis XIV of France called Tokaj "the wine of kings and the king of wines". Along with French Sauterne and German Trochenbeerenauslese, it is one of the three greatest sweet white wines in the world. Tokaj wine will be the subject of a future Hub.

-------------------------------

Having provided sufficient reason for you to be interested in Hungarian wine, here are ten things that you should know about the wines of Hungary:

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  1. According to wine production statistics for 2010, Hungary was the 16th largest producer of wine in the world with more than 334 million liters. They ranked ahead of Brazil, Austria, Ukraine and New Zealand.
  2. During the same period, Hungary consumed only 231 million liters of wine leaving it with 103 million liters available for export.
  3. The per capita consumption of wine in Hungary in 2010 was 23.3 liters which was slightly less than the 24.9 liters consumed in Australia and slightly more than the 21.8 liters consumed in the UK
  4. During the Communist occupation of Hungary, most of the wines were produced in cooperatives and the quality suffered.
  5. In recent years, small wineries have flourished, vineyards have been replanted and new grape varieties have been introduced.
  6. Unfortunately, Hungarian wines are not always readily available here in the United States, but there are many places where you can order them on the Internet. Recently, Costco has begun importing a selection of Hungarian Tokaj wine and they usually are reasonably priced.
  7. Hungarian wine can be labeled with the regional name and brand name, (such as Tokaj or Egri Bikaver) or with the place of origin followed by the grape variety (such as Villanyi Pinot Noir).
  8. There are many unique grape varieties grown in Hungary and to complicate things further, French and German grape varieties have Hungarian names. Two of the leading red wine grapes are the Kekfrankos and the Kadarka, which are used to make the famous Egri Bikaver wines. Tokaj is made with Furmint and Harslevelu along with other white wine grapes. The final section of this hub explains the grape varieties in greater detail.
  9. The Alfold (the great Hungarian plain, also known as the Puszta) produces more than 42 percent of all Hungarian wine but it is of mediocre quality and is usually drunk as inexpensive table wine.
  10. There are 22 wine regions in Hungary, which are located in five geographical areas. They are shown on the following map and they are described further in the table that follows it.

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MAP OF HUNGARIAN WINE REGIONS

SELECTED LOCATIONS IN HUNGARY

A
Budapest, Hungary:
Budapest, Hungary

get directions

B
Lake Balaton, Hungary:
Lake Balaton, Hungary

get directions

C
Szekszard, Hungary:
Szekszárd, Hungary

get directions

D
Eger, Hungary:
Eger, Hungary

get directions

E
DEBRECEN, HUNGARY:
Debrecen, Hungary

get directions

F
SZEGED, HUNGARY:
Szeged, Hungary

get directions

===================

The map above shows the wine growing regions of Hungary. The numbers on the map correspond to the numbers in the table below which provides their names and additional details about the acreage in each region and the principal wine grape varieties which are grown there.

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Varieties shaded red produce red wines and those which are shaded yellow produce white wines.

--------------------------------

The corresponding road map of Hungary is for reference.

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HUNGARIAN WINE REGIONS WITH THE PRINCIPAL WINE GRAPE VARIETIES GROWN IN THEM

HUNGARIAN GRAPE VARIETIES

=============================================

Not only does Hungary grow a number of grapes that are unique to them, but other grapes that are also grown elsewhere, are given Hungarian names.

For example, the Blaufrankish grape of Austria is called Kekfrankos in Hungary and the Pinot Grigio grape of Italy is the Szurkebarat grape in Hungary.

The following table should help you to understand and recognize Hungarian grape varieties a little better.

==============================================

HUNGARIAN GRAPE VARIETIES

Tokaj Wine Region

Hungarian Wine Festivals

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    • Darrylmdavis profile image

      Darrylmdavis 

      6 years ago from Brussels, Belgium

      Hungarian wines never disappoint and I make it a point to sample a couple every time I am in Budapest. :-)

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