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Hungary

Hungary is a historic and very old wine country with vine-growing and winemaking traditions which have been practised in what is modern Hungary since at least Roman times.

Hungary's fame is related to the Tokaj sweet wine - it is first mentioned in records in the late 15th century - although it was almost certainly dry at this time. During the 17th century is when the famous Tokaji Aszú was introduced to the court of the French king Louis XIV and has been much desired ever since from kings and tzars. For many reasons, including two world wars and communist government, Hungarian wine disappeared until recently and this is a bless for all wine lovers around the world.

Hungary is a big country situated east of Austria with a continental climate with hot summers and cold winters, and it has six major wine-growing areas which are distributed around the country. These areas have 22 wine regions from which the most prominent are Tokaj, Eger, Balaton, Villány, Szekszárd, Sopron, Nagy-Somló and Badacsony. It is a land of predominantly white wine with almost 70% of the production, and big part the rest of the 30% is going to the red Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch), which is the base of the famous Egri Bikavér (bulls blood) wine. The popular white grapes are Cserszegi Fűzseres, Olaszrizling, Welschriesling, Furmint, Chardonnay, Mūller-Thurgau, Hárslevelű, Szürkebarát, Aletta, Irsai Olivér and some of the red grape varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zweigelt, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and Kadarka.

In 2009 fundamental changes to the Hungarian wines quality system were introduced. Hungarian wines are divided into Boron (Table wine), OFJ (Oltalom alatt álló Földrajzi Jelzés Bor= Tájbor - Country wine), OEM (Oltalom alatt álló Eredetmegjelölésü Bor= Minöségi Bor -Quality wine) and the last and best is OEM DHC (Districtus Hungaricus Controllatus) with levels DHC-Classicus and DHC-Premium. The country has overcome for the past 15 years some major changes in terms of quality, produced some outstanding wines and has set foot on the right path of becoming more recognisable and well known not only for its sweet wines from Tokaj, but also for dryer style wines. Since the late 1990s Hungary has attracted attention from foreign investors which are slowly transforming the Hungarian wine industry.

Small wineries, a new generation of wine maker and grape growers, and Hungarian wines are hitting the palates and nose of wine drinkers again.

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