We just got back the other day from a trip to Budapest where we tasted some of the local wines. Unfortunately we didn't have the time to go out to the wine country, so all of these were tasted in wine bars, of which there are plenty in the city. The only thing I new about Hungarian wines before this trip was Tokaji and Bull's Blood, and the bottle of the latter I bought here several years ago was really nasty.
My notes, for the 3 people on these forums that will actually be interested. These first ones were tasted at the Borvendeglo Wine Bar near Heros Square.
2004 Gundel, Tokaji Furmint
This is a dry white varietal that J3 and Haggis had told me was decent drink a few weeks ago. Really odd nose of petrol and smoke, but not unpleasant. Medium bodied, crisp and refreshing with good apple flavours. 86 pts.
2004 Szeremley Huba, Rizling, Badacsonyi Szemelt
OK, so the names are challenging, but this was obviously a riesling. Petrol on the nose, this was a light-medium bodied, off-dry style of riesling. Grapefruit flavours and minerally, but slightly astringent finish. 86 pts.
2004 Lesence Estate, Pinot Gris, Lesencetomaji
Nice nose of pear and melon. Medium-full bodied with pear flavours and a good minerally finish. Best of the whites that night. 89 pts.
2006 Duzsi Tamas, Szekszardi Ujbor Rose
Absolutely no clue what varietals made up this wine, but it had a good floral and strawberry nose. Light and crisp this was a very good rose with strawberry flavours. 87 points.
2001 Gundel, Pinot Noir, Egri Barrique
Aromas of sour cherries and cough syrup. Medium bodied with more sour cherry flavours on a short finish. This is pinot? Drinkable. 80 pts.
2002 Pok Tamas, Egri Bikaver Monarhia
Egri Bikaver...Bull's Blood. Hey this is nothing like that swill I had years ago. Dark garnet colour with cocoa and black cherry aromas. Medium-full bodied with some really nice blackberry and black cherry flavours. The finish was lacking a little so I could only score it 89 points, but a very good wine.
2002 Gal Tibor, Egri Bikaver
I recognized this name and knew he was a winemaker for some Italian winery. When I got to a computer a few days later, I read that Tibor Gal was the winemake at Ornellaia from 1993 to 2001. This was his home winery in Hungary where he produced quite a few different types of wines. I use the past tense because he was killed in a car accident last year. His version of Bull's Blood was quite different from the previous wine. Lighter bodied, but more elegant and very well balanced with sweet black fruit flavours on the tannic finish. 90 pts.
2001 Gundel, Muscat Lunel Edes, Tokaji
Hmmmm, seems to be a lot of Gundel wines on the list at this place. Burnt gold colour with a peach and floral nose. Medium-full bodied sweet wine with good peach flavours, but slightly cloying. 86 pts.
2000 Gundel, Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos
Burnt gold colour with petrol and peach aromas. Medium-full bodied with excellent honey, apricot and burnt orange flavours on a long sweet finish. More nose and this would be awesome. 92 pts and I bought a bottle for about $20.
The next night we went to another place that was recommended by the waiter from the above wine bar. Borbirosag Csarnokters is a wine bar/restaurant near the central market that has excellent food and wine at very reasonable prices. My notes from that night.
2004 Gyorgykovacs Imre, Furmint, Somlo
Straw yellow colour with a big nose of smoke and grapefruit. So is smoke a characteristic of furmint? Full bodied wine, with citrus and melon flavours and a long finish. Low acidity. My favourite dry white of the trip. 90 pts.
2004 Takler Ferenc, Bikaver Reserve
Black fruit and vanilla aromas. Full bodied, very dry wine with good black currant flavours, but a short thin finish. 84 pts.
1997 Jozsef Bock, Royal Cuvee, Villany
A blend of cabernet sauvignon and pinot noir. Good nose of cherry, cassis with some secondary aromas of indian spice and cedar hinting at its age. Medium bodied wine with sour cherry and vanilla flavours on an abrupt finish. Intersting wine. 87 pts.
2004 Tiffan Ede & Zsolt, Cuvee Carissimae, Villany
A blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cab franc. Big nose of cassis and cocoa. Dark ruby colour, full bodied wine with chocolate, blueberry and vanilla flavours on a long finish. A well balanced, young tannic wine that needs some time, but my favourite red of the trip. 91 pts.
1999 Oremus, Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos
They served this ice cold, which they said is the way Hungarians drink it. OK. Golden yellow colour with a big nose of apricot. Thick and rich with apricot and honey flavours with the acidity to keep it from being cloying. 91 pts and paired well with apple strudel and vanilla cream sauce. Yum.
We really enjoyed Budapest. Good food and surprisingly good wines for a low profile country.