Goose News 2. – Portugieser, an ideal grape for new wine
Did you know that St Martin was born in Hungary? No wonder we celebrate the saint all over the country. Bock Cellar in Villány dedicates a wine to Saint Martin every day, a red wine made of Portugieser.
Why do we eat goose?
Saint Martin has a special importance for Hungarians, since the famous bishop was born in the province of Savaria in 316 in the Roman Empire, in the territory of Hungary. Savaria is now called Szombathely, a city of about 90 000 inhabitants, and the church stands at his presumable birthday to commemorate him.
As a teenager, he became Christian to his father’s dislike. His father was a soldier of the Roman Empire and made his son to join the army as well. According to the legend once Martin cut his coat with his sword and gave half of it to a beggar in the street who had been robbed of his clothes. At the age of 22, Martin baptized, and devoted all his life to God. He founded the first monastery in Europe. He was so modest, that – as the legend says – he hid among the geese to avoid being made a bishop. As a memory to his modest character, people eat dishes made of goose on his name day on 11 November and the weekend around this date.
Portugieser – the quick grape
The grape has a German-like sounding name, but in fact it is an indigenous Hungarian grape variety. In Villány, many of the habitants are Swabish originally, including József Bock, founder of Bock Cellar, thus the German-like sounding name is not strange for them. Yet, when the EU regulation ordered Villány wineries to change the name of ‘Oportó’ grape to ‘Portugieser’ (to avoid confusion with the Portuguese Port), it was József Bock, who could not get used to the new name. He names his Portugieser wine PortaGéza, sounding similar, but the meaning is more like the name of an everyday guy. The wine is a fruity, velvety red wine with soft tannins. It was released to the market on the 1st of November – a brand new wine to celebrate the new vintage!