“When it comes to Hungarian wines, Tokaji immediately comes to your mind, but what about reds?” asks wine lover Dmitry over at russian_in_wine.
Both Eger and Szekszárd can legally make Bikavér (Bulls Blood), Hungary’s traditional full-bodied red wine, a Kékfrankos based blend that is rich, spicy and fruity. But what sets Heimann’s Szekszárdi Bikaver apart is the addition of the tannic Sagrantino, a red grape indigenous to the region of Umbria in Italy:
Bikavér (bool’s blood) is a full bodied red blend produced in the northern part of the country in Eger (Egri Bikavér) and in its southern part in Szekszárd (Szekszárdi Bikavér). It’s 300 km between these 2 regions, so as you might expect climatic differences are notable.
Talking about grape varieties it makes sense to mention that a lot of international and local varieties are allowed in the blend. Blaufränkisch (locally named Kékfrankos) usually forms a foundation of the blend and adds tannin and spiciness to the wine. Kadarka (also known as Gamza) requires careful yield control, with the right viticultural approaches it adds concentration and softness to the blend. International varieties in the blend might be represented by Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and some others.
This specific Szekszárdi Bikavér has an interesting component in the blend – Sagrantino, a grape variety that one usually expects to see in Italian Umbria, not in Hungary. So looks like local regulations are pretty liberal and allow winemakers to experiment with structure of their blends. IMHO the downside of such flexibility is that it’s tough to identify some distinctive characteristics of Bikavér wines that can be easily recognized and appreciated by consumers. It depends on the style that a specific producer decided to concentrate on.