Exploring Hungary’s Hidden Red Grape Treasures

Renowned for its rich winemaking heritage, Hungary has a secret treasure trove of red grape varieties waiting to be discovered. These rare and almost forgotten grapes, once on the verge of extinction, are now making a remarkable comeback, producing wines that offer a unique taste of Hungarian terroir.

Csókaszőlő: A rare gem

Among these hidden treasures is Csókaszőlő, a grape variety brought back from the brink of extinction by a few daring wineries including the Vylyan Winery, who worked together with the local wine research institute in Pécs to plant this grape on a few hectares in their vineyard. Rarely grown elsewhere, Csókaszőlő produces wines that are as rare as they are intriguing, with a flavour profile that differs from typical European reds. Its medium-bodied character makes Csókaszőlő wines inviting and accessible.

Feketeleányka: the jewel of Transylvania

Another enchanting grape variety is Feketeleányka, grown mainly in Transylvania. Feketeleányka (called Feteasca Negra in Romanian) plays an important role in the country’s winemaking history, contributing to wines that exude a unique regional character and charm. With a medium bodied profile yet rich structure, Feketeleányka wines are delightful and easy to enjoy.

Kadarka: A revival of elegance

Finally, we cannot overlook the resurgence of Kadarka, a once-reviled grape that suffered under the constraints of the communist era, when it was mass-produced for inferior wines. Today, however, Kadarka is enjoying a renaissance, celebrated for its thin-skinned, elegant character and aromatic flavors. Winemakers like Zoltán Heimann are leading the way, producing exceptional Kadarka wines that capture the grape’s true potential and elegance. Kadarka’s light to medium bodied style makes it an inviting and elegant choice for wine lovers.