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Wine Regions

In the heart of Europe, Hungary is perfectly positioned for viticulture: the hot summers and rich soils provide a natural home for vineyards. In spite of the relatively small size of the country, there is a wide geographical diversity to be found here: some areas are hilly and rich in volcanic effusive rocks, some mountain ranges are based on mineral tuffs covered with forest soil, while some other, more flat areas are blessed with limestone and loess soils. This ensures a great terroir variety and thus a wide selection of red and white, dry and sweet wines, with terroir-specific characteristics from North to South and West to East.

North Pannonia

Climate:
Moderate summers, rare spring frosts, mild winters

Soil:
Brown forest soil and chernozem on loess and limestone subsoil

Grape Varieties:
Cserszegi Fűszeres, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Kékfrankos

Wines:
Fragrant and fresh white wines dominate

Beautiful hills and slopes characterize this wine region. The nearby Danube creates a microclimate that is perfect for fruity and fragrant light white wine production. Indigenous vareties such as Cserszegi Fűszeres and Irsai Olivér dominate, with significant quantities of Gewürztraminer, Welschriesling and Sauvignon Blanc. In spite of the dominance of white grapes in the region, Hungary's most beautiful Pinot Noir hails from North Pannonia – Veritas is proud to offer this wonderful Etyeki Kúria Pinot Noir in its selection.

The westernmost sub-region in North Pannonia, Sopron is known as Hungary's Kékfrankos capital: it produces some of the most beautiful Kékfrankos in Hungary: medium bodied with balanced acidity.

Wineries

Etyeki Kúria Winery

Etyeki Kúria was established in 1996 with only 2 hectares, and through significant development and expansion works it soon became the leading winery of the region. Today it operates on an area of 18 hectares, with annual production exceeding 70,000 bottles.

The beautiful German-stitch inspired labels mark wonderful wines from a sustainable winery: Etyeki Kúria has made serious efforts to implement and maintain sustainable farming. The eco-friendly solutions include using green energy for heating and cooling the facilities, nourishing the land with organic nutrients and the complete avoidance of herbicides in the vineyard.

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Danube

Climate:
Hot summers, cold winters, frequent spring and autumn frosts

Soil:
Calcareous sand

Grape Varieties:
Cserszegi Fűszeres, Ezerjó, Kékfrankos, Zweigelt

Wines:
Crispy, fruity whites wines and fresh red wines

In the middle section of Hungary lies a vast flat area called the Great Plain, providing home to the country's largest wine region, Danube. Due to frequent spring and autumn frosts, robust and tenacious varieties tend to be favoured by winemakers. The Danube grapes are mainly vinified reductively and provide fresh fruity wines, both still and sparkling. Easy drinking white wines make up the majority of the region's wine production, though there are a growing number of Kekfrankos plantations, providing for fresh and fruity red wines with lower acid and tannin concentration.

South Pannonia

Climate:
Hot summers, long warm autumns and mild winters

Soil:
Loess and limestone subsoil covered with terra rossa and Pannonian sand

Grape Varieties:
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Kékfrankos, Kadarka

Wines:
Medium to full bodied red wines

Hungary's southernmost and hottest wine region is home to most of the country’s premium red wine production, with Villány and Szekszárd being the two key cities in this region.

Among the Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Franc is particularly well suited to the terroir and found a new home in Villány over the past few decades. Generally used as one of the components in Bordeaux blends, this grape can only be grown into a high quality single varietal in two terroirs in Europe: the Loire Valley and Villány.

Kékfrankos has become a flagship wine of Hungary. Best when yield-limited. In Szekszárd it's made into a light to medium bodied and beautifully spicy red wine, with an incredible acid structure. It is also used as part of the region's famous blend, the Bikavér (Bull's Blood), the history of which dates back hundreds of years, when the Bikavér fortified the small number of Hungarian warriors against the overwhelming, 100,000 strong Turkish army to win a battle in the 16th century.

Wineries

Malatinszky Kúria Organic Wine Estate

”Csaba Malatinszky’s veins must run with Cabernet Franc. He is obsessive about tending his vines and says his 30 hectares, farmed organically in Villány since 2010, are as much as he’d ever want to own as that’ll be what he can manage himself without delegating. He was Hungary’s leading sommelier before turning to winemaking and his focus is balanced, complex reds, notably Cabernet Franc, which suits the Villány terroir so well. The flagship, unfiltered Kúria range always impresses, especially Cabernet Franc and Kövesföld (a single vineyard Bordeux blend), while his aromatic Serena white and refined Chardonnay are well worth trying.”

Caroline Gilby, Decanter London, November 2011

Mészáros Winery

The Mészáros Family owns one of the largest wineries in the South Pannonia wine region. The 80-hectare vineyard has been the birthplace of wonderful red wines for generations. Today, Pál Mészáros and his son Péter take the helm together, proudly expanding year-by-year building on century-long family traditions.

The winery today is equipped with the latest technology. Wines are processed in steel tanks by continuous laboratory control and then aged in oak barrels in the winery’s 250-year old, 8,600 square feet wine cellar. Still covered with the original bricks, the cellar maintains a constant 14 °C / 57 °F temperature and optimal humidity.

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Tokaj

Climate:
Warm summers, long and humid autumns and cold winters

Soil:
Brown forest soil formed on volcanic subsoil. Hard clay, stony soil and loess also present

Grape Varieties:
Furmint (70%), Hárslevelű (18%), Sárgamuskotály (Muscat Lunel, 8%)

Wines:
Tokaji Aszú (dessert wine)

Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum – Wine of Kings, King of Wines – as Louis XIV of France christened Tokaji Aszú in the 17th century. It has been the choice of wine on the tables of European monarchs through centuries. Tokaj is home to the world’s oldest vineyard classification system dating back to 1730.

A unique combination of wonderful microclimate by the joining of the Tisza and Bodrog rivers, and rich, loess-covered volcanic soils provide for a unique terroir. Botrytis is abundant to transform the Furmint grapes into immensely complex sweet wines.

Tokaji Aszú (or Tokaji, as commonly known) is the world’s most renowned dessert wine. It is available in 3, 4, 5 or 6 Puttonyos (‘barrels’)– the higher the ‘Puttonyos’ number the more robust the sweetness and the body of the wine. The Tokaj region also produces beautiful dry wines – try our Maróti Furmint Selection.

Wineries

Tokaj-Hétszőlő Winery

On the South side of Mount Tokaj, the Royal Imperial Estate of Tokaj-Hétszőlő owns some of the most fertile lands. The creation of the Estate owes nothing to chance: in the 14th century the noble Garai family selected the best seven parcels of land in the region, hence the name: Hétszőlő means "Seven parcels of vineyard" in Hungarian. In 1711, the Habsburg royal family finally took possession of the vineyard and Tokaj-Hétszőlő became an Imperial Estate. It was to remain the property of the Austro-Hungarian Crown for almost two centuries.

The prestigious Tokaj-Hétszőlő Estate became one of the Michel Reybier vineyards in 2009, joining Cos d'Estournel, Saint-Estèphe Grand Cru classé, Château-Marbuzet and Goulée Médoc.

Tokaj-Maróti Winery

Veritas Wine founder Csilla Fisher's family has been engaged in winemaking for generations. Her father, Csaba Maróti owns a small vineyard and makes wine in the traditional ways he learned from his father many years ago. The Tokaj Maróti label was designed to honor him and the Maróti Family heritage.

The Maróti wines come from the heart of the legendary Tokaj wine region. This unique terroir is characterized by four main elements: protection in the north by Mountain Zemplén, warm winds blowing from south-southwest, constant humidity levels controlled by the Tisza and Bodrog rivers and the long and sunny 'Indian summers' so common in Hungary. These four factors facilitate the development of 'Botrytis Cinerea' or noble rot, the key to the world-famous Tokaj dessert wines.

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Highlands

Climate:
Long winters, cooler summers, limited rainfall

Soil:
Brown forest soil on rhyolite tuff subsoil

Grape Varieties:
Cserszegi Fűszeres, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

Wines:
Light and crisp white wines, playful light red wines

The Highlands in Northern Hungary include Hungary's highest point at 1014 meters / 3327 feet. The higher elevation and cooler climate results in fruity dry white wines like Cserszegi Fűszeres and light and playful red wines. Its most well-known area is Eger which is famous for its Bikavér (Bull's Blood), the history of which dates back hundreds of years, when the Bikavér fortified the small number of Hungarian warriors of Eger against the overwhelming 100,000 strong Turkish army to win a battle and protect the castle of Eger in the 16th century. Bikavér is a beautiful spicy blend with medium body, a balanced acid structure and moderate tannin levels.

Wineries

Benedek Winery

Benedek Family Winery owns 16 hectares of vineyards with controlled designation of origin in the Highlands wine region. The terroir with its brown forest soil on volcanic subsoil, moderate climate and protected slopes provides for a perfect environment for growing grapes.

Benedek Winery’s talented young winemaker, Péter Benedek brings back international experience and state-of-the-art knowledge from his time spent in the Napa Valley, California. Today, father and son tend to their vineyards together with passion, love and professionalism.

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Balaton

Climate:
Hot summers, long warm autumns and mild winters

Soil:
Volcanic subsoil covered with basaltic sand and clay on the Northern shore, brown forest foils on loess on the Southern shore

Grape Varieties:
Welschriesling, Pinot Gris, Merlot

Wines:
Easy-drinking white wines

Winemaking on the hills surrounding Lake Balaton can be traced back to the Roman times. The sunny slopes of Northern Balaton are home to Welschriesling and Pinot Gris vineyards. The volcanic soil lands a distinctive local mineral character to the wines made here.

On the South shore of the lake, vineyards are planted on more flat lands and produce easy-drinking crispy and fruity white wines mostly from international varieties such as Pinot Gris. Lake Balaton has long been a favourite vacation spot: abundant beaches, watersport and hiking opportunities, cultural programs in historical cities and ancient castles provide for endless fun.

 

The area west of the River Danube is primarily hilly with sunny slopes to soak up the sunshine – we have three major wine regions here. North Pannonia has a somewhat cooler climate and is home to fragrant, crispy whites and fruity red wines, while South Pannonia enjoys warmer weather year round and accounts for the most beautiful medium to full body red wines. Balaton, named after Central Europe’s largest lake, is home to easy drinking white wines.

East of the Danube lies three other historical winemaking areas. Central and Eastern Hungary’s rolling plains contain Hungary’s largest wine region named Danube, with fresh white wines. The Highlands in Northern Hungary include Hungary’s highest point at 1014 meters / 3327 feet. The higher elevation and cooler climate results in fruity dry white wines and light and playful red wines. Just east of Highlands and at the meeting of two rivers is the home to the world famous Tokaj dessert wines.
 

Our history

The history of Hungarian wines dates back to the Roman times. The Romans brought vines to this area (then referred to as Pannonia), and by the 5th century A.D., records mention extensive vineyards on Hungarian soil.

Wine is closely interwoven with the history of Hungary: Tokaj vineyards are known to have been awarded by monarchs to their most loyal followers as a prize since Hungarians settled in the Carpathian Basin around the 10th century A.D. The famous red cuvée, Bull’s Blood, fortified the handful of Hungarian soldiers fighting against the 100,000 strong Turkish army in the Eger siege of 1552, ending with a glorious Hungarian victory.

Tokaji aszú, our world famous dessert wine, was mentioned first in a 1571 document, and shortly thereafter it was famously christened by Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) "Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum" - Wine of Kings, King of Wines. Tokaji was a highly regarded and frequently presented gift among European and Russian monarchs, up until the end of the monarchies in the 20th century.

Hungary also gave the world the now widely spread terroir classification concept: the world's first vineyard classification system was introduced in Tokaj, Hungary, in 1730, preceding the 1855 Bordeaux classification by more than 120 years. This system classified Tokaj vineyards into three categories depending on the soil, sun exposure, and potential to develop Botrytis Cinerea – this precious gift of nature, also known as noble rot, that is inevitable for making the aszú wines.

In the mid-20th century winemaking was nationalized and for a short few decades focus was on maximizing output, leading to a setback compared to other old world winemaking countries west of Hungary. In the 1990’s, Hungary resumed its historical focus on quality wine production. The winemaking industry quickly returned to international standards. Large scale private investments and government funds facilitated vast technological improvements and extensive international and domestic training programs contributed to creating the knowledge base that was necessary to revive the international standing of the Hungarian wine industry.
 

Hungarian wines today

Hungarian people have always loved and lived the wine. Following rapid development in Hungarian gastronomy over the past few years, with new and trendy restaurants popping up all over Budapest offering innovative Hungarian and international cuisines, there is now a revived demand for fine wines. This increasing demand has spurred growth in high quality wine production and as a result Hungarian winemaking is undergoing a long-awaited reawakening.
 

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