Wines of Hungary
Wines of Hungary brings you a selection of wines which are on limited release and are currently not available in the UK market.
Wines of Hungary’s mission is to support Hungarian winemakers by promoting them in the UK. We bring you these premium products for the best possible price, but with complete focus on quality. We work with a range of highly innovative and accomplished winemakers and distributors in Hungary to ensure we select the best wines and vintages.
Although we are based permanently in London, we have met with all of our preferred winemakers in Hungary, toured their estates and held many private tastings with the owners and head winemakers. This ensures we build trust and deepen relationships. Our success depends on us managing those relationships.
Tough to find, hard to pronounce and delicious to drink, Hungary’s wines express national pride. Hungary has always been a country of winemakers.
History of Wine
The Romans brought vines to Pannonia, and by the 5th century AD, there are records of extensive vineyards in Hungary. Following the Magyar invasion of 896, Árpád rewarded his followers with vineyards in Tokaj. Over the following centuries, new grape varieties were brought in from Italy and France. Most of the production was of white wine.
During the invasion of Suleiman the Magnificent in the early 16th century, displaced Serbs brought the red Kadarka grape to Eger. This ancient variety was used to make the robust red wine blend later known as Bull’s Blood, after the supposed secret ingredient in the wine that fortified the defenders of Eger in 1552.
It was also during the Turkish occupation that the Tokaj region became known for dessert wines, harvested late to encourage noble rot. Tokaji aszú is mentioned in a document of 1571, and it was famously christened by Louis XIV of France (1638-1715) “Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum” – Wine of Kings, King of Wines.
After the Ottoman Empire ceded Hungary to the Austrians in 1699, the Germanic influence was felt with the introduction of grape varieties such as Blauer Portugieser. That influence also showed in the start in 1730 of the world’s first vineyard classification in Tokaj, based on soil, aspect and propensity to noble rot.
From 1882, the phylloxera epidemic hit Hungary hard, with the traditional field blends of Eger and the many grapes of Tokaj being replaced with monocultures, often of Blaufränkisch (Kékfrankos) and the Bordeaux varieties in red wine districts, and of Furmint, Muscat and Hárslevelű in Tokaj. The twentieth century saw the introduction of modern grapes such as Zweigelt, which were easier to grow and to vinify than Kadarka, and under Communism quality was neglected in favour of overcropping, pasteurisation, and industrial production. Since 1989, there has been renewed interest in the traditional varieties and a lot of new investment, particularly in Tokaj-Hegyalja.
When it comes to Hungarian wines, it’s Tokaji that pops up in most heads first. However there is so much more to be discovered. Hungary has always been best known for the sweet wines created in the region of Tokaj in the North East of the country.Hungarian winemaking has diversified over the past years, with small wineries offering “artisan”, award winning wines blooming all over the country.