Hungarian winemaking has a history dating back to the Romans, and with 22 wine regions, the country is a rather significant wine producer. The 4 best-known wine regions are Tokaj (North-Eastern Hungary), Lake Balaton, Villány (Southern Transdanubia), and Eger (Northern Hungary). Since 2002, Tokaj has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the sweet wines of this region were said to have been among Queen Victoria’s favourites.
Hungary’s renaissance as a wine-producing nation began after the end of the Socialist rule in 1989, and the 21st century has seen a great increase in the number of quality wineries, The Independent wrote. Besides the country’s remarkable sweet wines, there are some noteworthy dry varieties, such as Hárslevelű, Juhfark, and Cserszegi Fűszeres. John Clarke emphasised that
Hungary has a great potential to become “one of the most productive and promising wine regions in Europe.”
Here are the 12 best Hungarian wines:
Frittmann Irsai Olivér
Irsai Olivér is a white wine variety, cross-bred between Pearl of Csaba and Pozsonyi. It is a relatively recent cross, a simple wine with a fruity and fresh taste, regarded as the “Best Buy”.
Öreg Király-dűlő dry Furmint Barta 2015
Furmint is an indigenous white wine grape variety, the eighth most common variety in Hungary. It is mainly grown in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region, which is well-known for the classic sweet wines; however, this wine is an example of great dry white wines that deserve more attention. Öreg Király-dűlő dry Furmint Barta won a double gold medal at the 2017 San Francisco International Wine Competition, and it was voted the best furmint of the competition.
Frittmann Cserszegi Fűszeres 2017
Cserszegi fűszeres is a white wine grape variety, and it comes from the Kunsag, the country’s largest wine region. This wine has an aromatic flavour, characterised by floral notes, pears, apples, and peaches. It is the perfect choice by itself or with fish and chicken dishes.
Kikelet Lónyai Hárslevelű single vineyard 2017
Hárslevelű (lime tree leaf) is another great native Hungarian grape variety. It has an intense aroma of elderflower, spice, and almost tropical-like acidity.
Kolonics Nagy-Somlói Juhfark (Sheep’s Tail) 2017
Juhfark is one of the oldest grape varieties in Hungary, mainly planted in the wine region of Somló. It was named after its cylindrical cluster reminiscent of a sheep’s tail. Kolonics Nagy-Somlói Juhfark is a medium-bodied dry white wine with a peachy flavour.
Franz Weninger Kékfrankos 2016
Kékfrankos is a grape variety used for a red wine that is mainly grown in Sopron, Villány, Szekszárd, and Eger. Franz Weninger Kékfrankos comes from a vineyard at Balf close to the Austrian border. It has a rich, plummy, and spicy aroma.
Campanula Szürkebarát (Pinot Grigio) 2018
Pinot Grigio is a white wine grape variety. In Hungary, it is characteristic of the Badacsony, Mátra, and Balaton Uplands wine regions. Campanula Szürkebarát offers a dry and crisp aroma with peach, pear, and green apple flavours.
Kovács Nimród Egri Csillag (Eger Star) 2018
Egri Csillag is white wine blended from two grape varieties, Leányka and Olaszrizling. It is a fragrant and aromatic wine with fruity flavours and dynamic acids.
Heumann Rajnai Rizling 2017
Riesling is a white grape variety widely grown in Hungary. This light-bodied Riesling is crisp and dry with lime, pear, and apricot aromas. It can be paired with fish or Asian dishes.
Tüske Rozé Szekszárd 2018
Rose is one of the oldest wine types, made from a wide variety of grapes. This citrusy blend of Kékfrankos, Merlot, and Pinot Noir originates from the Szekszárd region of Southern Hungary.
Bolyki Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) 2016
Egri Bikavér is a Kékfrankos-based dry red wine blend, a widely-known representative of the red wines of Eger. The medium-bodied Bolyki Egri Bikavér has a “powerful and velvet-like taste with intense flavours of dark fruit and black cherries plus a hint of cocoa”. It is best consumed with game and beef.
Kardos dry Furmint 2018
Another dry furmint with a pale green colour and fruity notes of apple, pear, and grapefruit. It is perfect as an aperitif or with seafood dishes, salads, and cheese.