Saturday, 17 December 2016

Hungarian Haul

Here's a fun thing to do. Take a look at the websites of the Budget Airlines that fly into Budapest. Choose a day when the fares cost less than the trip to the airport. Fly out in the morning and back in the evening. While in BUD (Liszt Ferenc Airport, Budapest) spend your time at the Hungaricum shop in Departures (you'll need up to 3 hours) and buy as many bottles of unique Hungarian wine that may be carried onto the return flight.

You don't actually need any luggage but take a cabin bag with plenty of bubble wrap. You don't pay to take this on the way back even if it is stuffed with bottles. Make sure you can lift it above shoulder height in order to put it in the overhead bin. The entire cost will be less that shipping a case of wine bought on the internet from Hungary.

While at your exercise you will most probably have the pleasure of being served by a very helpful and well informed person who can tell you all you need to know about any bottle you may wish to investigate.

On our visit Angela was one such authority.

Some of the wines at Hungaricum are not that cheap but all are interesting. We bought;

Cserszegi Fuszeres is a successful Hungarian cross between Irsai Oliver and Savignin Rosé. It is quite commonly found in Hungary and thanks mainly to Hilltop, also abroad. The name is pronounced Chair-Segi Fiw-seresh. We have never really clocked this variety although we must have tasted it at some point. Now's our chance to decide if it goes into the Slotovino Hall of Fame.

Cirfandli is of course the Austrian Zierfandler, probably a cross between Roter Veltliner and Savignin. Zierfandler is the kind of grape that you hate at first but could get to love. An acquired taste we are hoping to acquire. Maybe this Hungarian version will help.

Actually there was another such wine we bought - a Keknyelu. This really tasted undrinkable to start with but a few days in the fridge under Argon gas and with some spicy food, it was really rather good. We had bought this on an earlier trip to Budapest (May 2014) and wrote "a Keknyelu from Matias (also 10.5%), not hugely impressive but again, hitting the spot as a refreshing food wine,"

We have had excellent and less than excellent experiences with Kiralyleanyka. What was aromatic at 13% one year was neutral the next AT 12.5%. Angela promised this one wasn't neutral. Hopefully it doesn't taste of Zebra or Rhino.

Olaszrizling is Grasevina, Welschriesling or Riesling Italico. Not related to Rhine Riesling, Riesling Renano or Rajnai Rizling. It's one of our favourites being characterful and interesting. We like Gere as a producer. We like Richard Gere as an actor. Could they by any chance be related?

Blauburger is an interesting variety. Like Cirfandli/Zierfandler it is actually Austrian but Austria and Hungary were one for many years so we'll not worry too much about that. It's a Blauer Portugieser x Blaufraenkisch cross or Kekporto x Kekfrankos if you prefer. When the Soho House restaurant in London chose a Blauburger as their House Wine we thought that was such an enterprising idea we bought 6 bottles and have been happily ploughing our way through them ever since. Now we can have a Blauburger tasting.

We just had to have a Kadarka even if this one couldn't possibly be any better than one from Oszkar Maurer. Maurer's wines are beginning to infiltrate the UK thanks to the Winemaker's Club and Isabelle Legeron MW but he is just across the border in Serbia so none of his wines are available at Hungaricum unfortunately.

What is available at Hungaricum, miraculously is the Menoire from Lajos Gal we have so enjoyed. this is a real rarity. Hats off the Hungaricum for carrying not only this but another Menoire too. An amazing thing for an airport duty free to do.

On previous forays we had bought Blauer Portugiesers from Frittman and Gere. Both absolutely delicious. Angela recommended this one.

The 'Menza' restaurant at midnight with the last customers eating their Székelykáposztas (Honey Cream Cakes).
No, we didn't do the Booze-Cruise to Hungaricum at Budapest airport suggested above. We were in Budapest for a concert, after which on strong advice we went to an Etterem (restaurant to you) called 'Menza.'

Duck livers!

Here you can eat wonderfully and try Hungarian wines by the glass.  It makes the trip into town worthwhile.

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