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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. Viticulture in the Carpathian Basin was influenced on the one hand by ancient Central Asian traditions and on the other by Roman wine culture. Despite various wars and unrest, wine has been cultivated here for over 1,000 years. Even the Ottomans, who occupied most of the country for about 160 years, did not suppress viticulture despite the ban on alcohol, and were happy to collect taxes for it, but development was inhibited during this time. According to legend, Emperor Charlemagne (742-814) was so enthusiastic about "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 to have 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

Hungary has a variety of soil types, from sand and loess to clay, lime, marl and various volcanic rocks such as basalt, tuff and andesite. The climate is Central European and continental, with hot summers and cold winters. The 223 registered grape varieties (over 60 of them autochthonous) are predominantly white. However, around 2,000 hours of sunshine per year and various microclimates also favour the production of red wines. The Danube, which flows from north to south, divides the country into roughly two large halves

Hungary is divided into six wine-growing regions (Borrégió). These consist (with the exception ofTokaji) of several wine-growing regions (Borvidék). There are 22 wine-growing areas, all of which are considered OEM(PD O = protected origin areas for quality wines). In some wine-growing areas there are smaller PDO areas as enclaves. In total, there are 33 protected designations of origin (status mid-2021). This number is constantly increasing thanks to rapid developments.

Ungarn - Karte mit OEM (g.U.) - Bereichen

Wine-growing regions (Borréggió) and wine-growing areas (Borvidék) = OEM and PDO respectively.

The 6 wine-growing regions with a total of 33 OEM (PDO) - areas:

Balaton (Lake Balaton )

Duna (Danube)

Felső-Magyarország (Upper Hungary)

Felső-Pannon (Upper Pannonia)

Pannon (Pannonia)

Tokaji (Tokay)

Regional wine areas (Tájbor) = OFJ or PGI.

Ungarn - Karte mit OFJ (g.g.A.) - Bereichen

There are 6 country wine areas. Two of them, namely Balaton and Felső-Magyarország, are identical in designation to the 6 wine-growing regions listed above

Grape variety list

Hungary is predominantly a white wine country, with just under 70% of production, although the red wine variety Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) dominates. In 2020, vineyards covered 58,959 hectares of vines. Compared to 2000 with 87,000 hectares, this was a reduction of one third in 20 years. Between 2.5 and 3 million hectolitres of wine are produced annually (see also under wine production volumes). The grape variety list 2020 (Statistics Ministry of Agriculture Hungary):

Grape variety name

Synonyms / Hungarian name

Colour

Hectare

Blaufränkisch Kékfrankos red 7.279
Bianca Egri Csillagok 40 white 5.180
Cserszegi Fűszeres - white 3.984
Furmint - white 3.574
Welschriesling Olasz Rizling white 3.274
Cabernet Sauvignon - red 2.367
Chardonnay - white 2.069
Merlot - red 2.024
Aletta Egri Csillagok 18 white 1.933
Irsai Olivér - white 1.835
Pinot Gris Szürkebarát white 1.606
Hárslevelű - white 1.477
Zweigelt - red 1.398
Cabernet Franc - red 1.370
Müller-Thurgau Rizlingszilváni white 1.304
Grüner Veltliner Zöld Veltelini white 1.273
Muscat Ottonel Ottonel Muscotály white 1.158
Riesling Rajnai Rizling white 1.142
Pinot Noir Kék Burgundi, Kisburgundi red 1.089
Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon white 939
Blue Portugieser Portugieser, Kék Oportó, Kék Portugizi red 840
Muscat Blanc / Muscat Muscat Lunel, Muskotály white 830
Chasselas Fehér Gyöngszőlő, Fehér Chasselas, Saszla white 784
Királyleányka - white 770
Kunleány - white 720
Gewürztraminer / Traminer Fűszeres Tramini, Piros Tramini / Tramini white 691
Zala Gyöngye - white 680
Zenit - white 672
Leányka - white 560
Generosa Kecskemét 15 white 518
Kövidinka Ruzsitza white 518
Blueburger - red 442
Ezerjó Budai Fehér white 402
Arany Sárfehér Izsáki Sárfehér, Fehér Dinka white 327
Kadarka Kék Kadarka red 276
Syrah - red 270
Pinot Blanc Fehér Burgundy white 227
Villard Blanc - white 197
Viktória Gyöngye - white 180
Zengő Badacsony 8 white 179
Turán Agria red 169
Juhfark - white 167
Ezerfürtű Kecskemét 5 white 141
Pölöskei Muskotály - white 116
Medina Egri Csillagok 7, Medea red 114
Zéta Oremus white 111
Nero - red 97
Bíborkadarka Bíbor Kadarka red 83
Lakhegyi Mézes - white 81
Menoir formerly Kékmedoc or Médoc Noir red 62
Kéknyelű - white 46
Duna Gyöngye - red 44
Grasă de Cotnari Grasă, Kövérszőlő white 41
Karát Kecskemét 6 white 40
Jubileum 75 Jubilejne 75, Kecskemét 11, Miklostelep 11 white 37
Csaba Gyöngye - white 35
Kabar - white 34
Dornfelder - red 31
Zeusz Zeus white 28
Bácska Ister white 26
Panonia Castellum, Panonija white 25
Ulysses - white 25
Sémillon - white 24
Zierfandler Cirfandli white 22
Csillám - white 20
Nektár - white 21
Rózsakö - white 17
Viognier - white 14
Pannon Frankos - red 14
Mátrai Muskotály - white 14

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):

FN (Földrajzi jelzés Nélküli) - Bor (formerly Asztali Bor or table wine)
Wine without origin

OFJ = PGI (oltalom alatt álló földrajzi jelzés) - Tájbor or country wine
There are 6 country wine areas, which are marked by a blue-yellow seal on the label; see above.

OEM = PDO (Oltalom alatt álló Eredetmegjelölésű Bor)
Minőségi Bor / Védett eredetű Bor - Quality wine

Wine with protected origin. There are 22 wine regions (which are automatically also OEM or PDO) with a total of 33 quality wine areas identified by an orange-red seal on the label (see above).

OEM DHC (Districtus Hungaricus Controllatus)
This quality level, introduced in 2003, corresponds analogously to the DAC system in Austria. There are three levels: Classicus, Premium and Super Premium. These wines are characterised by a certain style of taste typical of the area. The individual OEM areas are free to decide on the use and also define the specifications. The DHC areas are Izsáki Arany Sárfehér and Villány.

Wine types & wine names

The place name ending in "i" (which corresponds to the German "er" such as "Gumpoldskirchner") is usually followed by the grape variety, for example "Soproni Kékfrankos" (Blaufränkisch from Sopron)

Wine ageing terms

  • Barrique Érlelésű Bor = wine aged in barrique
  • Sugar content: száraz = dry, félszáraz = semi-dry, édes = sweet, félédes = semi-sweet

Map OEM: Magyar Turisztikai Ügynökség
Map OFJ: Agrárminisztérium Borászati és Kertészeti Főosztály
Source: Kristian Kielmayer

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