Although not especially well known on the international market, Hungarian wine making dates back hundreds of years. Outside the country of its origin, Hungary’s best known wines are Tokaji, a white dessert wine, and Bull’s Blood of Eger, a strong red.
The most famous wine producing region in Hungary is in the Zemplen Mountains’ foothills to the north of the country due to the warm, long autumns and the mist which rolls in from the Bodrog river which creates ideal conditions for growing noble rot. These climatic conditions are vital for creating the botrytized grapes that the region has now become famous for and which can be picked individually as late into the season as mid November. Crushed into a paste called aszu, these grapes are then added to wine made from a mixture of several other grape times and allowed to ferment with the resulting wine then being aged in small barrels in the maze of cellars which lie in the volcanic tuff where thick layers of fungus on the walls regulate humidity very effectively.
Hungarian wine producers also produce plenty of dry Furmint and other grape varieties grown in the region include Muscat Blanc, Zeta, Koverszolo and Harslevelu. Although for generations Hungary was best known for sweet wines, dry Furmint came to the attention of wine experts and connoisseurs worldwide thanks to its complexity and minerality.
While the Hungarian wine industry is still emerging into the international market, it is showing a lot of promise and the many vineyards around the country are now starting to welcome tourists, with the result that the fine wines produced in this small nation are beginning to come to the attention of a wider global audience.