Egri Kadarka – Tóth Ferenc Winery
Winemaker Ferenc Tóth was named Kadarka Ambassador in 2012 for his mastery and dedication to this grape. The Kadarka grape didn’t originate in Hungary. Its origins are somewhat hazy, but it likely began life in the Balkan-Pannonian region. It later ended up in Hungary when Serbs fleeing the Turks migrated northwards bringing their Kadarka vines with them. The Hungarians adopted Kadarka as their own, and by the 19th century nearly 60 percent of vineyards were planted with it. It was the dominant variety in the Eger region in the first half of the 1900s, until a significant amount of the Kadarka vines were removed in the latter half of the 20th century. Now, winemakers are once again looking back to Kadarka. An increasing number of single varietal wines are produced from it, and it plays a role in the Bull’s Blood blend. But beloved Kadarka is troublesome in the vineyard. It ripens late and unevenly; it’s thin-skinned, and susceptible to rot and frost; and it requires more attention. Kadarka can range from being a light and elegant red-fruit-driven wine, to a more structured wine showing darker fruit. This one shows a bit of both sides of Kadarka. It was fermented in stainless steel, and aged in 5,500 liter Hungarian oak barrels for 18 months. The wine is very light in color, nearly translucent. It has delicate aromas of red currants, cherries, and pomegranate, and the barrel-aging adds some earthiness and mushroom character. This is a delicate wine with a light body, but vibrant spiciness, umami, and fruit flavors. Kadarka’s smooth tannins and racy acidity make it a classic companion to Hungarian paprika-flavored dishes—such as fisherman’s soup (Halászlé), stew (pörkölt), stuffed cabbage or peppers (töltött paprika or töltött káposzta). It’s also great with creamy pasta dishes, mushroom dishes, or flank steak. 7,300 bottles were produced.
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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.
Ferenc Tóth—usually referred to as Feri bácsi, or “Uncle Frank”—was born and raised in Eger, and now has nearly seven decades of harvests under his belt. Tóth made his first Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) at the age of 16. But under the Communist regime, he wasn’t allowed to be a winemaker. Instead he worked in construction, but always made wine on the side. In 1983 Tóth and his wife, Marika, were able to acquire a 1.5 hectare vineyard, and started their little family winery. The Tóth family now has 30 hectares of vineyards on some of Eger’s best slopes, and the next generation joined the winery—their daughter, Katalin, and her husband. Ferenc Tóth is a big advocate of the Kadarka grape. He was named “Winemaker of the Year in Eger 2012,” and the family always aims to keep a balance between preserving the old-school Eger styles and traditions, while using the most modern technology, to make outstanding wines.
|Country||1-3 bottles||4-6 bottles||7-12 bottles|
|Austria||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Belgium||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Bulgaria||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Croatia||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Czech Republic||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Denmark||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Estonia||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Finland||19,900 HUF||21,200 HUF||23,800 HUF|
|France||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Germany||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Greece (mainland)||19,900 HUF||21,200 HUF||23,800 HUF|
|Hungary (outside of Budapest)||2,500 HUF||3,500 HUF||4,500 HUF|
|Hungary (Budapest)||2,500 HUF||3,500 HUF||Free delivery for orders over 20,000 HUF|
|Ireland||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Italy||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Latvia||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Lithuania||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Luxembourg||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|
|Netherlands||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Poland||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Portugal||19,900 HUF||21,200 HUF||23,800 HUF|
|Romania||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Slovakia||7,800 HUF||8,300 HUF||9,500 HUF|
|Slovenia||10,200 HUF||10,500 HUF||12,200 HUF|
|Spain||19,900 HUF||21,200 HUF||23,800 HUF|
|Sweden||13,800 HUF||14,500 HUF||15,900 HUF|