Egri Bikavér is one of the best known Hungarian wines, so it’s only natural that it’s part of the Christmas menu in quite a few households. The versatility of this Kékfrankos based blend makes it easy to pair it with festive dishes regardless whether they represent traditional or modern cuisine. But to get the most out of the very best Egri Bikavérs we advise you to taste them on their own.
Egri Bikavér Basics
If you want to avoid standing cluelessly in front of a shelf loaded with Bikavérs in a store there are a few basic bits about Egri Bikavér which you should acquaint yourself with. The grapes which Egri Bikavér is made from can only come from the Eger wine region, the varieties are typically vinified separately and then the wines are later blended. The inclusion of Kékfrankos is mandatory furthermore this must be the variety with the highest proportion in the blend. There are three quality levels for Bikavér in Eger: classicus, superior and grand superior.
Egri Bikavér has the distinction of being the only red wine that has been declared a „Hungarikum”.
Bikavér in Eger
There is an extremely wide range of varieties grown in the region, so Eger has a long tradition of blending wines. Local wine makers are adamant that the best way to exploit the potential of the wine region is through crafting Egri Bikavér and its white conterpart Egri Csillag.
„Ours is a wine region of blends”, says winemaker Katalin Tóth, a member of the Egri Borműhely. „Bikavér has always had a prominent role in Eger and in recent years it has become a prestige product. It’s a good idea to open a bottle of mature Bikavér or a grand superior at Christmas as they have the capacity to bring joy to the festive table.”
Culinary tips for Christmas
Bikavér as a blend of many varieties with a major contribution by Kékfrankos is a wine that goes well with a multitude of dishes.
Due to its diversity, ranging from basic versions to the grand superior category, all wine lovers can find the one that best suits their tastes and also matches the dish prepared for the celebrations.
Egri Bikavér is a great choice to accompany Christmas dishes regardless whether they are based on traditional recipes or less common, special ones. Lighter versions of Bikavér, e.g. classicus or superior, pair nicely with traditional dishes made with paprika like Hungarian fish soup, catfish paprikash or stuffed cabbage. Likewise poultry and game birds, roasted lamb and also the traditional „disznótoros”, where the fat of the various sausages and black pudding is counterpointed by the lively acidity of Kékfrankos.
As for sidedishes, you can’t go wrong by offering pumpkins, lentils, sweet poatatoes, mushrooms, red cabbage or Jerusalem artichoke, all of which might function as main dishes for vegetarians.
To match a complex, single vineyard grand superior wine one should opt for some serious red meat like venison, roe deer, wild boar, mangalica pig or beef tenderloin – these couplings are certain to delight at the festive table.
Bikavér as centerpiece
Right from the beginning Macok Bisztró in Eger has been paying special attention to use local ingredients and of course this is also reflected in their wine list. During the festive period they are going to offer several different Bikavérs by the glass from classicus level to grand superior.
„Bikavér is our wine for celebrations. We strongly believe in this wine category and in this period of the year we make it even more of a priority to recommend them to our guests”, says Péter Szternák, restaurant manager. „We are not only recommending a Bikavér to accompany one of our iconic dishes, beef cheeks but the meat is actually braised in Bikavér.”
People in Eger believe that no celebration is complete without Bikavér and they are encouraging everyone else to follow suit and put a bottle of Egri Bikavér on the dining table or under the Christmas tree.
Source: Wineglass Communication