#Food & drink /

Wines you should you try at least once while in Budapest

Not only the amazing slopes of the volcanic Hungarian soil, but the climate is very favourable for quality wine growing in Hungary as the average temperature is fairly higher than in the Northern part of France. All types of wine can be found, ranging from light champagne to crisp red wine to noble sweet wines. This diversity is made even more exciting by the balance of indigenous grape varieties, world varieties and wines.

Tokaji Aszú

As called as the “King of wines”, this often entitled dessert wine is one of the most famous blend.  With its high sugar content, classified as “puttonyos” referring to the sugar content, ranging from 60 gr/l  (3 puttonyos) to 150 gr/l (6 puttonyos), is balanced with crisp acidity, you can find this wine among the dessert wines in most restaurant menus. The higher, the sweeter!

Try: The Szepsy 6 Puttonyos Aszú 2009, 32 000 HUF

“Rich nose of ripe, dried fruits, with subtle botrytis. Very complex and creamy palate with amazing acidity and minerality. It’s still lively and refreshing despite the high sugar content. It was fermented spontaneously and aged in 300-litre barrels. It has 221 grams of residual sugar.”   

Tokaj Furmint

Tokaj’s furmint grape is the most commonly used to create dry white wines and can be produced in a variety of styles ranging from bone dry to extremely sweet wines afflicted by noble rot. The grape has the potential to produce wines with naturally high levels of acidity with complex flavours and also can have immense aging potential with some well made examples from favourable vintages continuing to age for over a century. This potential comes from the balance of acidity and high levels of sugars in the wine which act as preservatives during the aging process.

Try: Szűcs Ferenc Bohomály Furmint 2016, 3650 HUF

“It comes from one of Tállya’s big, first-class vineyards, with the advantages of the vintage: lowish alcohol (13%), nice acid structure, expectedly long ageing potential. Flint on the nose with medicinal herbs and fruits. Leaner palate, powerful mineral notes, delicious sweet fruits, oak. It stayed on fine lees until the January after the harvest which nicely deepens the flavours of the wine.”


Often produced in the Villány wine region, an elegant, drinkable red wine with balanced tannins and undertones of forest berries and red fruits with a spicy edge, think of rose pepper and nutmeg, star anise. This wine is a classic red one and handy to keep for any occasion.

Try: Szeleshát Kékfrankos K2 2016

“100% Kékfrankos from Nyéki Hill’s Szeleshát plateau. Controlled fermentation with pumping over, and one and a half years of barrel ageing in the winery’s used oak barrels. Spicy, crispy Kékfrankos with sour cherry, with the oakiness of the 225-litre barrels.”

Irsai Olivér

A popular white wine, especially in the summer months when the ripe green grape tones makes this a refreshing drink. The Irsai Olivér grape has been produced since the 1930s and became one of the ambassador of the light and crisp wines ever since. Known for its muscat kind of quality, it’s fresh, fruity and very drinkable.

Try: Szőke Irsai Olivér 2017, 1890 HUF

“Delicious, light and aromatic. Nothing pushy in it, fresh grapes, flowers, melon and sweets. A light ‘Mátra’ palate with nice fruit.”


This balanced red wine is also known as Shiraz, is a dark-skinned grape variety coming from the traditionally run Gere vineyard in the Villány wine region. The family have been making wine for 7 generations and promote use of authentic Hungarian methods of grape growing and oenology. Some examples show tanned leather and smoky scents, while the fruit in these wines tends towards the very dark flavors of blackcurrant and licorice.

Try: GERE Syrah 2015, 5 350 HUF

“The Syrah of the Konkoly vineyard in Nagyharsány fermented in tanks in order to keep the fruitiness, then aged for 16 months in used 225-litre barrels. Long, deliciously dry flavours of pepper, blackberry and blueberry. Rich acidity and tannins, long on the palate.”


Often produced in the region of Szekszárd, in Southern Hungary, this grape used in the production of full, velvety red wines which used to be one of the country’s most popular however fell into years of neglect and decline. It has an easily recognizable taste, deep aroma and dark or medium dark colour. Kadarka is often used for cuvees including in the Bull’s Blood from Eger aka Egri Bikavér, and also for production of table wines. The best Kadarka is grown in Szekszárd and Villány wine regions of Hungary.

Try: Günzer Kadarka 2015, Villány, 2 850 HUF

“The crop of two steep, southern plots: most of it comes from the Ördögárok, the smaller part from the Bocor. “We spoilt five tiny clusters per vine,” explains Zoltán Günzer. Even its colour goes outside the usual Kadarka box: dark ruby with a black core. Full, spicy, overripe aromas, thick and rich palate. The spices are deeper too, the fruits are blacker with cassis, blackberry, forest fruits. Long finish, subtle oak.”


One of Hungary’s oldest varieties of grape, juhfark is used in the creation of white wines – and the Kreinbacher Estate’s Juhfark is the one you need to taste. The winery works with the terroir to create a locally produced wine with fruity and floral tones, also expect a slightly salty twist and medium to full body.

Try: Kreinbacher Nagy-Somlói Juhfark 2015, 2 350 HUF

“After the whole bunch pressing, the selected Juhfark clusters were fermented in steel tanks and used barrels of between 500 and 2,500 in size, then aged for eight months. Besides the floral and fruity notes, Somló’s typical minerality and saltiness arrives on the nose, which gives a cool character. On the palate, it’s a round, medium-plus bodied wine full of fruit and fresh acidity. Citrus fruit, pears and exotic fruit linger on the finish, with the saltiness that was detectable on the nose also returning on the finish. “


It’s name is tricky as Olaszrizling literally translates as Italian Riesling, this wine is both Hungarian and not a riesling as you might expect! Connected only by name, the more commonly known rieslings of Western Europe are not in fact related to this Hungarian grown wine. Olaszrizling often provides the base for the wine spritzer called “fröccs” drunk during summer.

Try: A dry white wine with a subtle taste is perfect when drunk freshly chilled while sitting in the sun.

“Ripe Olaszrizling selected from the complex, red soil of the Hajnóczy vineyard, which overlooks the lake. Spontaneously fermented and aged in barrels. One of the top wines of the estate: clove, orange, tangerine and ripe peach on the warm nose. Big and long.”

Wine descriptions are via www.bortarsasag.hu where you can also purchase the widest selection of Hungarian wines. We recommend you to visit their Andrássy, Parliament and Lánchíd shops where you will be guided through nearly 100 Hungarian wineries with their professional team to choose the perfect wine to take home as a memory.

Cover photo: Pexels


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