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Gál Lajos, Bikavér Superior 2020

Lajos Gál has been making wine since the 1970s—initially as a hobby, while he taught winemaking at different universities. With four hectares of vineyards, Gál’s winery is on the smaller size. But he is a standard-bearer for promoting quality in Eger. He is also a fascinating man to drink a few glasses of wine with while discussing winemaking in Eger. Following the Eger tradition, Gál pays special attention to his blends. They are impeccably balanced and exciting, with all of the varieties complementing each other, while letting Eger’s special terroir shine. Egri Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) is one of Hungary’s best-known wines, and has been made for at least 150 years (following some strict quality guidelines). Kékfrankos is the backbone (comprising 50 percent of this wine), with Merlot (23 percent), Cabernet Franc (13 percent), Kadarka (12 percent), and Portugieser (two percent). This Superior category requires 12 months of aging, however Gál aged this wine for 24 months (in a combination of oak barrels from Hungary, America, and France). Grapes are from three of Eger’s best vineyards (Sík-hegy, Pajados, and Kántor-tag), which have topsoil over rhyolite tufa. Despite rain at the end of the season, grapes were beautifully ripe when harvested by hand from late September until mid-October. This is a beautiful wine. It is complex with delicate fruit and spice flavors, a fresh acidity, and lots of minerality. The volcanic terroir is prominent, reminiscent of some Italian volcanic reds. It has gentle aromas and flavors of blackberry, plum jam, blackberry jam, violet, rose, black pepper, tarragon, mint, and cinnamon. Underneath all of this, there is flintiness, wet stone, and earthiness. With 13 percent alcohol, this wine is elegant and balanced, with a silky texture that only the best winemakers can consistently achieve. Since this wine is on the medium-bodied side, it is easy to enjoy with light meals, such as pasta with tomato sauce, spaghetti carbonara, or a Hungarian favorite, túrós csusza with lecsó.

3,990 Ft

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*Prices shown include Hungarian VAT (27%). Final prices are calculated based on the VAT of your shipping country.

One of Hungary’s red wine bastions, Eger, the home of Bikavér (aka Bull’s Blood), also boasts a diverse geological make-up which includes rhyolite tuff. It is also Hungary’s northernmost red-wine-producing region. Historic vineyards planted on these volcanic rocks make some of the biggest, fieriest wines in the region. As in Tokaj, this tuff lends itself perfectly to the carving of cellars. It hosts 99 percent of Eger’s cellars, including networks of passages dozens of miles long and the famous cellars under the city’s fortified castle.

Although historically a white wine land like its volcanic counterparts, red varieties displaced the whites and finally after the blight of phylloxera, Eger’s flagship red blend, Egri Bikavér, attained a worldwide reputation at the start of the 20th century. Winemakers here take this traditional blend seriously.
It has improved tremendously and has little in common with those past Bikavér’s which were exported to the West during the Communist-era of mass-produced wine. Varietals that find their way into Bikavér are Kékfrankos (Blaufrankish), Pinot Noir, Portugieser, Merlot, and Kadarka, and all of these are also bottled as single varietal wines.

At the start of the 21st century, Bikavér gained a white partner, Egri Csillag (‘Star of Eger’). Approximately 50 percent of the region’s vineyards are planted with white grapes and as no one variety dominates, so it was logical to make Egri Csillag a blend, in keeping with the region’s traditions. It is a very variable blend based on Carpathian-basin varieties, such as Olaszrizling, Hárslevelű, Leányka, Királyleányka, Zengő, Zenit and some Hungarian crossings. A minimum of four of these varieties must be included and make up at least 50 percent of the blend and each must represent a minimum of 5 percent. The blend may also include up to 30 percent of fragrant Muscat varieties, such as Cserszegi Füszeres, Zefír, Irsai Oliver, Tramini and Muscat Ottonel. With their blend of history, volcanic minerality, and native varietals, there’s a lot to explore in Eger’s cellars.

Country1-3 bottles 4-6 bottles7-12 bottles
Austria7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Belgium10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Bulgaria13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Croatia10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Czech Republic7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Denmark13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Estonia13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Finland19,900 HUF21,200 HUF23,800 HUF
France13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Germany7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Greece (mainland)19,900 HUF21,200 HUF23,800 HUF
Hungary (outside of Budapest)4,000 HUF for shipping of up to 11 bottles4,000 HUF for shipping of up to 11 bottlesFree delivery for purchases of 12 bottles
Hungary (Budapest)4,000 HUF for shipping of up to 11 bottles (if the order is below 20,000 HUF)4,000 HUF for shipping of up to 11 bottles (if the order is below 20,000 HUF)Free delivery for orders over 20,000 HUF
Ireland13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Italy13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Latvia13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Lithuania13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Luxembourg13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
Netherlands10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Poland7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Portugal19,900 HUF21,200 HUF23,800 HUF
Romania10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Slovakia7,800 HUF8,300 HUF9,500 HUF
Slovenia10,200 HUF10,500 HUF12,200 HUF
Spain19,900 HUF21,200 HUF23,800 HUF
Sweden13,800 HUF14,500 HUF15,900 HUF
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