Szekszárd (pronounced as ‘sex-ard’) is a great region for a day trip if you love your red wine spicy and maybe even fruity – and we promise not to make too many bad pun jokes with the name during your tour there.
We only need an hour and a half from Budapest to reach the town of Szekszárd surrounded by gorgeous vineyards and welcoming family owned wineries. Located in the south of the country Szekszárd is one of the 22 Hungarian wine regions. With its thick loess soil and warm climate the region is famous for its fruity and full-bodied red wines. Conditions in the region are perfect for international varieties such as Merlot or Cabernet Franc, but many wineries in the area are finding their way back to traditions and revive old and characteristic local varieties such as Kékfrankos (Blaufränkisch) or Kadarka.
The true flagship of the region is Kadarka, an indigenous Hungarian variety. If made with care Kadarka wines are spicy yet fruity at the same time and usually lower in tannins due to the thin skin of the grape. If you are looking for a perfect match with your paprika-infused fish soup, the so called Fisherman’s Soup, don’t go any further. Besides single variety wines Kadarka is the base of exciting blends like the famous Bull’s Blood (Bikavér) as well.
You cannot leave Szekszárd without trying a Siller wine. This speciality with its distinctive pale red color can be described as something between a rosé and a red. Indeed, during the winemaking process skin and juice come into contact with each other for one to four days. A little bit longer than in the case of a rosé, but not as long as in the case of a red. This winemaking method was introduced in the region by German settlers in the 18th century. It is an old tradition that is very much alive today. Siller wines can be made of just one variety as well, but in Szekszárd you will come across some very exciting blends, too.
A special type of Siller is named Fuxli. It is made as a blend of different varieties and can only be found in this region. It is produced by a few wineries only. They joined together and committed themselves to a strict condition to be able to market their Siller under the same brand. At least 50% of the wines used during the production of Fuxli need to be local varieties (Kadarka or Kékfrankos).
Though the region is known for its red wines, wineries think of white wine lovers as well. Olaszrizling (Welschriesling) and Chardonnay are the most common whites, but during our last visit we came across a white Kadarka wine as well. It sounds unusual and it is a proof that the small cellars of the region are ready to experiment when it comes to old traditions.
No time to leave Budapest for a whole day? Why not join us on a food tour focusing on Hungarian wines in Budapest?