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Description to Hungary

The parliamentary republic of Hungary (Magyarország in Hungarian) in Central Europe with its capital Budapest covers 93,036 km². Located in the Pannonian Basin and crossed by the Danube, the country borders Slovakia and Ukraine to the north, Romania to the east, Serbia and Croatia to the south, and Slovenia and Austria to the west.

Ungarn - Landkarte, Flagge und Wappen

History

Hungary has a very old wine-growing culture, as wines from Sopron and Eger were already well known in the 13th century. Viticulture in the Carpathian Basin was characterised by ancient Central Asian traditions as well as 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 around 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 Vienna (Austria) in the last five years of his life, is recorded as saying that "all the people should have wine and the winegrowers should be held in high esteem". In the Middle Ages, as in many countries, the Catholic Church played a key role in the spread of viticulture and wine culture in Hungary. The famous Tokay is decisively linked to the history of wine in Hungary. After the phylloxera catastrophe and the two world wars, the focus shifted to the production of mass-produced wines. However, since the political upheavals of 1989 and the re-establishment of the winegrowers' association, viticulture has been on the rise again.

Wine-growing regions

Hungary has a variety of soil types, from sand, loess, loam, limestone and marl to 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 which are indigenous) are predominantly white wine varieties. However, around 2,000 hours of sunshine a 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 of Tokaji) of several wine-growing regions (Borvidék). There are 22 wine-growing regions, all of which are considered OEM(PDO = protected areas of origin for quality wines). In some wine-growing regions there are smaller PDO areas as enclaves. There are 33 protected designations of origin in total (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 (Tokaj)

The famous Tokaj is produced in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region. A speciality is a small area in the east of Slovakia, which borders directly on the region. Here, a Tokaj-style wine is produced in the three (formerly Hungarian) municipalities of Kistoronya, Szõlõske and the Slovakian part of Sátoraljaújhely. After years of disputes, the two countries agreed in 2003 that these wines produced within the 172-hectare area could bear the Tokaji designation of origin.

Country 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 index

In 2022, the vineyards covered 60,161 hectares and the wine production volume was 2.5 million hectolitres. Hungary is predominantly a white wine country with just under 70% of production, although the red wine variety Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) dominates. The grape variety index (statistics from the Hungarian Ministry of Agriculture):

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 Muskotály white 1.158
Riesling Rajnai Rizling white 1.142
Pinot Noir Kék Burgundi, Kisburgundi red 1.089
Sauvignon Blanc Sauvignon white 939
Blauer 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
Blue Burgundy - 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 Burgundi 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 came into force for all member states with fundamental changes to 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 characterised 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-growing regions (which are automatically also OEM or PDO) with a total of 33 quality wine areas, which are characterised by an orange-red seal on the label (see above).

OEM DHC (Districtus Hungaricus Controllatus)
This quality level, introduced in 2003, corresponds to the DAC system in Austria. There are three levels: Classicus, Premium and Super Premium. These wines are characterised by a specific flavour style typical of the area. The individual OEM areas are free to decide on their 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 matured in barriques
  • Sugar content: száraz = dry, félszáraz = semi-dry, édes = sweet, félédes = semi-sweet

Map: © Goruma
Flag: by SKopp, Public domain, Link
Coat of arms: Public domain, Link

Map of wine-growing regions: Magyar Turisztikai Ügynökség
Map OFJ: Agrárminisztérium Borászati és Kertészeti Főosztály
Source: Kristian Kielmayer

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