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Regions

Comprehensive description of all European growing areas, their grape varieties, traditions and legal rules with maps.

Description to Hungary

Hungary has a very old viticultural culture, as wines from Sopron and Eger were already a household name in the 13th century. The Greeks introduced viticulture to Hungary from the southeast up the Danube and its tributary the Tisza, and the Romans from the west across the Pannonian Plain to Lake Balaton. Despite Hun, Vandal, Goth, Tartar and Ottoman invasions over many centuries, wine was always grown in this area. Even the Ottomans, who occupied most of the country for about 160 years, did not suppress viticulture despite the ban on alcohol, gladly collected the taxes for it, but development was inhibited during that time. According to a rather legendary tradition, Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) was so enthusiastic about the "Avar wine" that he had some vines brought to Germany.

The Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus (1440-1490), who resided in Wien (Austria) during the last five years of his life, is said tohave said that "all the people should have wine and the winegrowers should be highly respected". In the Middle Ages, as in many countries, the Catholic Church played a leading role in the spread of viticulture and wine culture in Hungary. The famous Tokaj is decisively connected with Hungary's wine history. After the phylloxera catastrophe and the two world wars, the focus shifted to the production of mass-produced wines. Since the political upheavals of 1989 and the re-establishment of the winegrowers' association, however, winegrowing has been on a steep upward trend again.

Wine-growing regions

The climate is Central European and continental, with hot summers and cold winters. The latitude is similar to France's Burgundy, which produces aromatic white wines. However, around 2,000 hours of sunshine a year also favour the production of red wines. The Danube, flowing from north to south, divides the country roughly into two large halves. The 1997 wine law defined 22 wine-growing regions. In the west lies Transdanubia, which stretches from the borders with Austria, Slovenia and Croatia in the west to the Danube. In the centre lies Lake Balaton (Plattensee), the largest lake in Central Europe with 591 km². Together with Lake Neusiedl and the Danube, it exerts a positive climatic influence on viticulture. Transdanubia consists of four wine-growing regions with 15 wine-growing areas

Balaton (Lake Balaton)

Észak Dunantul (Northern Transdanubia)

Pannon (Pannonia)

Sopron (Ödenburg)


Duna (Danube)

In the southeast between the Danube and the Tisza lies the great Pannonian lowland with sandy, steppe-like soil, called Alföld in Hungarian. The vineyards here exert a consolidating influence on the soil. In summer there is often drought, which endangers the harvest, and frost in winter. The Duna region has three wine-growing areas:

The Northern Massif is located in the north in the foothills of the Mátra Mountains near the border with Slovakia. The two regions with their wine-growing areas

Eger (Erlau)

Tokaj-Hegyalja

Grape variety list

Hungary is predominantly a white wine country with just under 70% of production, although the red wine variety Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) clearly dominates. The Tokay variety Furmint ranks only third after Olasz Rizling (Welschriesling). In 2016, the vineyards covered 63,881 hectares. Compared to the year 2000, this is a halving, which resulted from clearings. Annually, about 2.5 million hectolitres are produced from this area (see also under wine production volumes). The grape variety index 2016 (statistics Kym Anderson):

Grape variety name

Synonyms / Hungarian name

Colour

Hectare

Blaufränkisch Kékfrankos red 7.998
Welsch Riesling Olasz Rizling white 4.664
Furmint - white 4.165
Cserszegi Füszeres - white 3.609
Bianca Egri Csillagok 40 white 2.922
Cabernet Sauvignon - red 2.863
Chardonnay - white 2.757
Müller-Thurgau Rizlingszilváni white 2.098
Zweigelt - red 2.050
Merlot - red 1.907
Chasselas Chasselas Piros, Fehér Chasselas, Saszla white 1.892
Zala Gyöngye - white 1.755
Hárslevelü - white 1.659
Pinot Gris Szürkebarát white 1.624
Grüner Veltliner Zöld Veltelini white 1.533
Cabernet Franc - red 1.352
Riesling Rajnai Rizling white 1.304
Muscat Ottonel Ottonel Muscotály white 1.232
Blue Portugieser Kék Oportó, Kék Portugizi red 1.216
Kunleány - white 1.211
Arany Sárfehér Izsáki Sárfehér white 1.133
Pinot Noir Kék Burgundi, Kisburgundi red 1.091
Irsai Olivér - white 1.090
Ezerjó Budai Fehér white 1.074
Kövidinka Ruzsitza white 1.020
Sauvignon Blanc - white 907
Királyleányka - white 855
Leányka - white 838
Gewürztraminer / Traminer Füszeres Tramini, Piros Tramini / Tramini white 772
Aletta Egri Csillagok 18 white 723
Muscat Blanc / Muscat Muskotály white 709
Zenit - white 559
Kadarka Kék Kadarka red 532
Blueburger - red 435
Ezerfürtü Kecskemét 5 white 377
Lakhegyi Mézes - white 306
Zengö Badachon, Zengo white 264
Pinot Blanc Fehér Burgundy white 237
Jubileum 75 Jubilejne 75, Kecskemét 11, Miklostelep 11 white 194
Villard Blanc - white 192
Viktória Gyöngye - white 190
Juhfark - white 186
Syrah - red 177
Turán Agria red 175
Medina Egri Csillagok 7, Medea red 151
Bíborkadarka Bíbor Kadarka red 136
Zéta Oremus white 118
Generosa Kecskemét 15 white 103
Pölöskei Muskotaly - white 103
Csaba Gyöngye - white 89
Mátrai Muskotály - white 67
Menoir formerly Kékmedoc or Médoc Noir red 65
Duna Gyöngye - red 63
Karát Kecskemét 6 white 50
Sémillon - white 50
Nero - red 50
Zefír Zephyr white 49
Kéknyelü - white 43
Grasă de Cotnari Kövérszölö white 37
Kármin - redß 36
Zeusz Zeus white 28
Gyöngyrizling - white 23
Csillám - white 20
Zierfandler Cirfandli white 20
Rubintos Cirfandli red 18
Pannon Frankos - red 16
Kunbarat - white 9
Budai Zöld - white 6
Palatina - white 6
Regent - red 3
Csókaszölö - red 2
Mézes Fehér - white 2
Nosztori Rizling - white 1
Táltos - white 1
Krisztaly - white ?
Magyarfrankos - red ?
Pannonia - red ?
Szirén Kecskemét 30 white ?

Wine law

In August 2009, the EU wine market regulation became valid for all member countries with fundamental changes to the wine designations and quality levels. The designations are (see also under Quality System):

  • Bor (formerly Asztali Bor or table wine) = wine
  • OFJ = Tájbor or country wine
  • OEM = Minöségi Bor / Különleges Minöségi Bor = quality wine / predicate wine
  • OEM DHC (Districtus Hungaricus Controllatus) with levels DHC-Classicus and DHC-Premium

OFJ (Oltalom alatt álló Földrajzi Jelzés Bor)
There are 13 country wine areas marked by a blue and yellow seal on the label.

OEM (Oltalom alatt álló Eredetmegjelölésü Bor)
There are 33 quality wine areas marked by an orange-red seal on the label. The first DHC area was Villány in 2006; then followed Eger, Tihany, Somló and Izsák.

The information on the label is mostly brief and to the point. The place name ending in "i" (which corresponds to the German "er") is usually followed by the grape variety, for example Soproni Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch from Sopron).

Wine types & wine names

Similar to Germany and Austria, there are two levels of quality wines. The predicate wine designations are

Special wine designations/types are:

  • Fehérbor = white wine, Vörösbor = red wine, Rozé = rosé
  • Pezsgő = sparkling wine, Francia Pezsgő = champagne
  • száraz = dry, félszáraz = semi-dry, édes = sweet, félédes = semi-sweet
  • Barrique Érlelésü Bor = wine aged in barrique
  • Bikavér = bull's blood (only PDO Eger and Szekszárd)
  • FN (Földrajzi Jelzés Nélküli Bor) wine without geographical indication
  • FNF (Földrajzi Jelzés Nélküli Fajtabor) Grape variety wine without geographical indication
  • Muzeális Bor = wine with at least 5 years bottle maturity
  • Siller = light-pressed red wine
  • Újbor or Fiatal Bor = new wine or young wine
In this section you will find
currently 144,896 Wines and 22,903 Producers, including 2,432 classified producers.
Rating system Their sources in Wine Guide Wine Samples

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