Kadarka – not frivolous at all!

If you ever taste a good Kadarka, you will fall in love with it. Charming, full of spices, enchantingly fruity and tempts you to have another glass of it. Is it the frivolous grape? No, no! It does have serious ageing potential – in good hands. On Friday – 16 October – wine lovers will have a chance to taste several Kadarka and Kékfrankos wines in one place. Let’s revise the lesson of Kadarka and meet Tóth Ferenc Winery, Lajver Wine estate and Dúzsi Family Estate Kadarka wines.

The “Turkish grape”

“Kadarka is said to have been introduced to Hungary from the Balkans, either by Serbians, which fits with Kadarka being the Slavic name for Scutari, a lake (also known as Skadar) between Montenegro and Albania, and with the fact that the variety was once cultivated under the synonym Skadarka in Croatia and Serbia (Levadoux 1956; Galet 2000; Rohály et al. 2003), or by Turks, hence its synonym Törökszőlő (‘Turkish grape’). It is conceivable that it made its way to Hungary via Bulgaria, where it is still widely planted under the synonym Gamza, and where it is considered to be indigenous. It is also said to be indigenous to the region of Miniş / Ménes near Arad in western Romania, where the first sweet Aszú-style red wine was made from shrivelled Cadarcă grapes in 1744 (Dejeu 2004). The exact origin of Kadarka remains unknown but it lies somewhere within the Balkan-Pannonian area.” Excerpt From: Robinson, Jancis; Harding, Julia; Vouillamoz, Jose. “Wine Grapes (9780062325518).” iBooks.

Kadarka feels good with us

Wherever it came from, Kadarka feels really good in Hungary, it is grown almost all over the country. It has significant vineyards in the Great Hungarian Plain, where Kunság, Csongrád and Hajós–Baja wine regions are situated. Kadarka is most important in Szekszárd and Eger, the two wine regions where the famous blend, Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) is made, and Kadarka is usually one component of the blend. Total plantings of Kadarka account for less than 700 hectares, partially because it is really hard to cultivate Kadarka. Late ripening, sensitive, its thin skin can be affected with harmful and noble rot. The colour is medium deep ruby. On the nose rich, spicy and elegant – if in good hands. On the palate juicy, spicy, medium bodied with good acidity and low tannins. Usually consumed young, within 1–3 years, but with properly restricted yield and careful vinification Kadarka can be aged for a long time – as it is proved by some vertical tastings carried on in Szekszárd and other wine regions.


Silvery Superior Kadarka

Egri Kadarka Superior 2018 by Tóth Ferenc Winery has recently won silver medal at Decanter World Wine Award. It is the first superior Kadarka wine of the winery. Grapes came from Tihamer Cru and thanks to ideal yield controlthe result is a nice, concentrated wine that brings all characteristic features of the variety. Fermentation in stainless steel tank, maceration for 15 days with pump over. After pressing 2 weeks settling then ageing in 20 hl barrels for 9 months. Decanter jury commented: “Lovely red cherry aromatics with some spicy notes with a touch of black pepper. Crunchy acid structure and firm tannins.”

More about Tóth Ferenc Winery

Best Buy champion

Lajver Wine Estate makes amazing, fruit driven wines at reasonable prices. Thanks to the state of art vinification plant the wines are crystal clear,balanced, harmonious and elegant. For Lajver Szekszárdi Kadarka 2019 the selected Kadarka bunches fermented in 500 L vats with manual punching over. Maturation took place in stainless steel tank to capture acidity. The wine features the typical characteristics of the variety: red fruits and spiciness on the nose and the palate. The vibrant acidity lingers along with the long aftertaste. And it costs only 4 euros!

More about Lajver Wine Estate

Fruit of old vines

Dúzsi Szekszárdi Kadarka 2019 comes from the same wine region as the above described Lajver, however it shows a different face of the variety. The grapes came from very old vines, and after open vat fermentation (in large, 10 HL vats) the wine matured in open barrel. The nose show red and black berry fruits and besides some subtle tobacco notes appear as well. This spicy, complex Kadarka pairs well with hearty autumn dishes.

More about Dúzsi Family Winery
hotel Nemzeti

Kadarka & Kékfrankos tasting in Hotel Nemzeti

All the above featured wineries will exhibit at Borjour tasting event on 16 October in Budapest. Around 20 wineries will pour Kadarka and Kékfrankos wines, thus the tasting offers deep insight in the characteristics of these varieties. The venue is easy to reach, the boutique hotel is situated in the heart of Budapest and ideal to stay for a few days.


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