Summer in Hungary

St Andrea and Gere Attila

by Elizabeth Gabay MW

While on the surface a post about summer rosés and white wines from Hungary appears to be very straightforward, the two estates I am writing about illustrate not just the potential to be found in Hungary, but also the country’s dynamism and the current atmosphere for experimentation and pushing the boundaries.

Rosé is very popular in Hungary, generally darker in colour than a Provence style, with more vibrant fruit and acidity. It can be made from any variety, although Kékfrankos is proving to be a particularly successful variety for rosé. 

St Andrea in Eger makes a very charming rosé in this classic Hungarian style, made with a large percentage of Pinot Noir with Kékfrankos, Kadarka and Merlot. Fresh, with lots of red berry fruit and long mineral acidity, it reflects its cool Eger origins. But in 2015 Gyuri Lorencz did something radically different. A master with using oak he decided to experiment with an oaked rosé. A blend of Merlot aged in new medium toasted oak with Pinot Noir and Kékfrankos in old oak. The result, Rósza, is a gorgeously complex rosé wine with the weight and structure to match with food, a hint of oak and a rich blend of fruits and spice.

Moving on to summer whites, what could be more surprising than a trio of wines from the homeland of Hungary’s biggest and most powerful red wines, Villány? Attila Gere’s Gere-Schubert range of wines was launched in 2011 and includes a range of light fresh wines with screw top bottles. Two aromatic white varieties, Irsai Oliver and its off-spring Cserszegi Fűszeres. The first has fresh perfumed floral aromas, ripe white peach fruit and mineral acidity. The second has more spice and yellow peach with lively zippy acidity. The second two whites come from the classic varieties Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Both are dry, the Chardonnay with crisp lime acidity and the Sauvignon with lively herbal gooseberry fruit. Gere also makes a rose and a white sparkling wines. Full of ripe aromatic fruit and fresh fizz.

It definitely pays to explore a little further to discover hidden gems.