Mátra Guide – vineyard of the mountains
Guide to Hungary’s largest mountainous wine region
Hungary cannot boast with high peaks and dramatic cliffs, but we have our beautiful Mátra, a soul healing mountain of many children tales. It is a magic land where mountain meets the sun, where green forests hide countless deers and where the meadows scent with flowers and tempt us to lie down in the silky grass. And Mátra is a land of young and talented winemakers.
The second largest of 22 wine regions
Hungary has 6 broader wine regions, which are divided into 22 sub regions – usually referred to as wine regions. Kunság is the largest one, a huge, flat wine region with mostly sandy soil, while Mátra is the second largest wine region with 32497 hectares, of which 24261 hectares are classified as first class. The vineyards are situated on the southern slopes of Mátra mountain, in east–west direction from Hatvan to Domoszló. The stripe of vineyards is 15–20 km wide, and bordered by two rivers, Tarna and Zagyva. The south border of Mátra wine region is the M3 motorway. 22 communes belong to Mátra wine region, the most important ones are: Abasár, Markaz, Visonta, Nagyréde, Gyöngyöspata, Gyöngyöstarján, Gyöngyössolymos.
1000 year history
Hungarian conquest (also known as Hungarian Land taking) took place in 896, but the people, who lived in the region had already cultivated vineyards before. The first written evidence about wine production is from 1042, from the era of the first Hungarian king, Saint Stephen. In the 13th century a significant growth of plantations took place and by the 14th century wine trade became important as well. Haller family was one of wealthiest families of the region, they had 60 acres of vineyard in the 18th century, and Haller cellar is still an important touristic spot in Gyöngyöstarján.
The caring mountain
The climate of the wine region is moderate continental. The vineyards on the southern slopes of Mátra mountain are protected from the cold north winds by the mountain. As a result unique microclimates effect the different vineyards. Most of the rainfall is also grasped by the mountain, thus Mátra wine region is considered a rather dry terroir. Spring usually comes late, May and June brings a significant amount of rainfall while the second part of summer is generally sunny and dry. Even tough vineyards are located on the sunny southern slopes, Mátra is considered to be a cool climate wine region.
The soil is volcanic with plenty of tuff.
70% of the grapes grown in Mátra are white. Aromatic varieties have special importance here: Irsai Olivér, Muscat Ottonel, Leányka, Tramini (Traminer) are full flavoured, juicy wines with lighter body and good balance. More complex wines are made of Olaszrizling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Szürkebarát (Pinot Gris). Hárslevelű is also grown here.
Long time ago, before the era of white wines, Mátra was home to black grapes, namely Kadarka. Nowadays we witness a sort of revival of black grapes. Kadarka is gradually gaining back some of the Mátra vineyards along with other black grapes like Kékfrankos, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. As a response to the climate change, some new varietals are planted as well – Gamay, Syrah and Tempranillo are all newcomers to Mátra. Red wines of Mátra with vibrant acidity are gaining popularity.
Wine estates to watch
In 2020 Kovács family, owner of Sol Montis completed the expansion of the a winery, which now has a capacity of 5000 hectoliters. Thus, in addition to their existing knowledge and their 110-hectare estate, they also have the capacity to serve consumers in large volumes.
Sol Montis places great emphasis on conscious construction. The name refers to the location: Sol Montis means Sun Mountain, that is, where the sun and the mountain meet. This image is captured by a contemporary logo floating above the stylized silhouette of the Mátra, following the lines of the mountain. The narrow shape of the labels, which combine modern minimalist and traditionally elegant style, evokes the sky-long view of the infinitely long farmland at our feet.
Dubicz Winery & Vineyard is a wine cellar with 115-year history and 100 hectares of own vineyard that focuses mainly on white wines. Combining the great conditions of Mátra Wine Region with the traditions and the latest technology we offer reductive white wines with high content and full-bodied wine specialities fermented and aged in barrels beside our fresh, aromatic and light wines with excellent value for money.
Regarding its territory Mátra is Hungary’s second largest wine region. Viticulture and oenology has a tradition of more than 900 years in this region. The climate and the diverse volcanic soil of the land is favourable for the cultivation of numerous types of grapes. The white wines produced from grapes grown on the protected sunny mountain slopes are famous for their floral and fruity aroma.
The owner of this small family estate, Bálint Losonci started his wine career as a wine writer. Then he fell in love with the vineyards therefore the family moved to Mátra and started a new life. The first wine was made in 2004 – only 400 bottles. Now they own 6.2 hectares, make 10 000 bottles and all their vineyards are cultivated in organic way. Vineyards: Gereg, Tamás-hegy, Vár megetti, Virág-domb, Hótó, Csákberek, Peres (Gyöngyöspata), Diós, Lógi (Gyöngyöstarján), Sárosberek, Külső-Kajnár (Nagyréde). Grape varieties: Rhine Riesling, Olaszrizling, Zöld Veltelini, Furmint, Hárslevelű, Müller Thurgau, Szürkebarát, Pinot Noir, Kékfrankos, Magyar Frankos, Turán, Cabernet Franc.