Sunday, August 2, 2009

Hungarian traditions - What do you know about Hungarian Wine?

Ok, I have to be honest - my interest in Hungarian anything is largely influenced by the fact my significant other is Hungarian (as in born and raised in the mother land - truely Hungarian - not a Hungarian American or some other permutation.)

I first became familiar with Hungarian wine years ago when a Tokaji (Tok-Ai) dessert wine was the top scored wine by one of the American institution like publications about 6 years ago.
At that time, I was doing a lot of wine writing (forgive me I can't remember more details - probably because at the time I was drinking more too) so - I got an invite to attend a special event with the Hungarian Ambassador, Tokaji wine makers, etc...

I've always liked dessert wines - and had to that point never tasted high end Tokaji wine - but it was - liquid love in a bottle and very, very memorable. If you want to learn more about this wine specifically - here's a great link - click here.

Prior to this - in Montreal, Canada (where I'm from) it was quite common to find Egri Bikaver (the famed Hungarian Bulls Blood - which can range from very robust complext - to awful stuff - depending on which you try) as well as Hungarian Merlot & some whites in the government run liquor stores. At the time - I wasn't as "into wine" - so I bought it mainly because it provided tremendous value for the price, but in retrospect I was onto something. To view a good overview of Hungarian wine history - click here.

Another great tradition in Hungarian gastronomic culture is Halaszle - or Fish Soup. Yesterday, I went to a fish soup party (hosted by my love & attended by 60+ very enthusiastic fish soup connoiseurs.)

They served a very unique drink called "fröccs" - which is pronounced "frueks". Click here for more info on the various permutations of this Magyar type "wine spritzer" of sorts. It may sound heretical to wine purists - however, let it be said - it's normally not made with premium wine & meant more to be refreshing than complex.

There was some discussion as to if it's appropriate to have only white versions on hand, or if red would be allowed - there's even a red wine w/Coke tradition in Hungary. I'll try to get the name and recipe for THAT for a future post.

Anyway - all of which to say - there's a big wild world of wine out there - no need to only keep your discovery to countries in the Western hemisphere when it comes to Europe.

I welcome your opinions & feedback & encourage you to try either Bulls Blood (with or without Coke), or Tokaji Furmint (dry white wine) or if you can get your hands on it (and spare the coinage) sweet Tokaji dessert wine.

I'm sure you'll think it's "finom" (very tasty).

Best Cheers!

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