A day in Sopron will put you in festive mode!
Great Kékfrankos wines “out of the shadow”
Tiny cobblestoned streets and charming baroque houses – the setting of a fairy tale. Sopron is an ideal destination for a one day trip with strolling on the streets, visiting the chocolate manufacture, enjoy local gastronomy and the stunning Kéfrankos (Blaufrankisch) wines. And it takes just an hour by train from Vienna!
By Ágnes Németh
There was a study tour and wine & food exhibition in October, and I was asked to help promote the event, which I did happily. I love Sopron, the atmosphere of the town, it is a place where the worn out metaphor “jewel box” has a real meaning. So I helped invite journalists to participate in the program, however myself I could not take part due to other commitments. I was so sorry! And I got even more desperate, when I saw the posts of fellow wine writers and read the articles by them. And at the same time I felt pride: I could show this town of beauty in my home country to several people.
Madrigal melody every hour
A few weeks later I met Marina Karakonova, one of the participants, a Bulgarian journalist. We had dinner at Marina’s flat, delicious chili con carne with Bulgarian pickles, and certainly I asked Marina about the trip. Her eyes started to shineand she began to explain how much she had been enchanted by the “Monarchy-like” charm of Sopron. As she wrote in here article: “We are at the foot of the Alps and the mountain is felt. “In Sopron, it’s either windy, or raining, or bells are ringing,” everyone will tell you. That’s right. In addition to the ringing of the bell, a beautiful madrigal melody is played from the fire tower every hour. It has been so since the 16th century. It used to be performed on a trumpet, today it is in some kind of electronic version, which does not take away from the poetry of the hour. Only the communists did not like it and only they managed to break the centuries-old tradition. But even without her, music is in the air of the city.” I love Marina’ style, and special thanks for this sentence: “The city is bilingual, people travel more often to Vienna than to Budapest, and somehow many of the older men look like Franz-Joseph.”
Read the whole article by Marina Karakonova (in Bulgarian, but google can help)
Finally “Burgenland-like quality”
Rob Smyth is a UK born wine writer based in Budapest, Hungary. He was happy to join the trip, since like many others, he was curious if Sopron could finally wake up and be more active, and certainly he was keen on tasting wines of lesser known newcomers. “Sopron has long been in the shadow of its Austrian neighbor, but finally, and I never thought I’d say it, some of the Kékfrankos (Blaufränkish) wines it is now making are of Burgenland-like quality” – wrote in his article on Budapest Business Journal. His thorough summary is a must if you plan wine tastings in Sopron. Steigler is an organic winery with stunning Kékfrankos wines. It is one of the cellars Rob Smyth mentions, proving that Sopron has a muchwider portfolio than many thinks: “Heading down the steps into the winery’s several-hundred-year-old cellar on Balfi utca in Sopron’s old town to taste layered and textured wines from grapes such as Furmint, Zöldveltelini, Kékfrankos, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah is a great experience. Steigler’s superbly spicy Syrah 2021 (HUF 5,900 from steigler.wineshop.hu) claimed 51st place in this year’s Winelovers 100 legjobb Magyar Bor (100 Best Hungarian Wines).”
Read Rob Smyth’s full article with many wine recommendations
Fire Tower and other “must visits”
Borcsa Fiala is a journalist of one of my favourite online publications called wmn.hu. She visited Sopron and her personal report recalls many good memories but it is also full of new features of Sopron. As she reassures, the Fire Tower is an obligatory spot – I had the chance to visit the tower recently with Kurt István Taschner, walking up the countless steps and enjoying a glass of Taschner Chardonnay Brut on the top. Borcsa mentions a vegan restaurant as well called Bojtorina Vegan Kitchen, she recommends Harrer Chocolate Manufacture and “babsterc”, a local dish made of beans.
Our earlier article with the recipe of bean dish