‘Hungarian wine has never been so exciting’ is Robert’s opening remark to his comprehensive guide to Hungarian wine. Hungary is experiencing a renaissance in winemaking. Gone are the days when the country churned out gallons of sub-standard plonk to quench the thirst of the Soviet masses, Hungary is seeing a huge growth in quality wine, with producers both large and small, traditional, high-tech, biodynamic and organic, creating some serious and interesting wines.
Robert Smyth, a Budapest-based wine writer, leads us on a tasting trip around Hungary, showing us that there is far more to Hungarian wine than just Tokaj. He explores the country’s 7 wine regions and 22 districts region by region, introducing us to the best of each’s established and upcoming winemakers and their wines, even offering some anecdotal insight into their peculiarities.
Hungary also has a wealth of indigenous varieties, which you have probably never come across before, so Robert also tells us what to expect from varieties such as the ever popular aromatic Irsai Olivér, the little known Kéknyelű, grown principally in Badacsony, and the very Hungarian Kadarka.
The engaging style not only makes for a good read, there is plenty of practical information too: suggestions on places to eat or stay in each region, detailed maps, an overview of tastings and events each year, and recommendations on places to try and buy in Budapest if you can’t make it out to wine country. And for the non-wine initiated, some useful background information on winemaking and interesting facts relating to some Hungarikum such as ‘bikavér’ (bull’s blood).
Highly recommended for all (Hungarian) wine lovers.