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Szászi, Gyöngyözőbor

This is a purely joyful wine to open when something fun and refreshing is in order. The name is not an easy one—gyöngy means pearl in Hungarian, and gyöngyözbor is a type of lightly sparkling wine (one to 2.5 bars of pressure) which gets its bubbles either naturally, or as in this case, through an injection of carbon dioxide into the tank. Badacsony’s volcanic terroir adds some depth, making this more than just a pleasantly easy-drinking wine. This is a well-balanced blend that really characterizes the region: Cserszegi Fűszeres (34 percent), Muscat Ottonel (23 percent), Furmint (18 percent), and Olaszrizling (25 percent). Muscat Ottonel and Cserszegi Fűszeres are aromatic grapes which bring the perfumey aroma, and Furmint and Olaszrizling add the characteristic Badacsony acidity. Furmint also provides a bit of structure and some tannic frame. This is a light-bodied wine with gentle bubbles. Elderflowers, anise, fennel, and basil dominate the aroma. And there are some opposing vegetal and fresh grass flavors that make the wine even more enjoyable. The refreshing acidity—which is characteristic of Badacsony—is like lime and lemonade (with the slightest amount of residual sugar, about one gram per liter). The slight salty finish is another nod to Badacsony’s volcanic soil. Like all of Szászi’s wines, this one is organic. Drink it cold, and enjoy it with barbecue and salads (or sip it while you are standing around the grill waiting for your meal to cook). You may not be able to pronounce Gyöngyözbor after you finish the bottle, but that doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it any less.

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.

Badacsony is one of Hungary’s iconic regions. Along with Tokaj and Somló, it was famed across Europe for its characterful, full-bodied, mineral white wines. These three regions form a kind of Holy Trinity of Hungarian white wine volcanic winemaking regions, with unique, concentrated wines capable of long aging.

Located on the western reaches of the northern shore of Lake Balaton, the magnificent truncated volcanic butte of Badacsony Hill can be seen dominating the horizon across the lake. At 438 meters high, it’s the highest point in the region. Vineyards girdle the hill and are characterized by small, often terraced plots with beautiful press houses and villas. The region includes other buttes and cones that were formerly volcanoes—such as Tóti, Szent György, Csobánc, Szigliget, and Gulács—creating a stunning and somewhat surreal landscape of unusually shaped lunar-like hills.

Badacsony has a special microclimate thanks to its steep, southern slopes. They are sheltered from the northerly winds, and the lake reflects light on them. The lake’s waters ensure cool breezes, preserving acidity in the grapes. The wines are otherwise full-bodied, characterful and fiery thanks to their high sugar content guaranteed by the basalt hills and the lake’s proximity. Badacsony wines generally boast plenty of minerality and a frequent saltiness thanks to the basalt bedrock which releases minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium into the soils.

The sand and clay in the soils ensure that the wines are also elegant, smooth, and round. Badacsony wines are typically white and dry, but sweet wines are also made from late-harvest or shriveled grapes. Like the rest of Lake Balaton, plantings are dominated by Olaszrizling, followed by Pinot Gris (Szürkebarát).

Viticulture has flourished here since the time of the Romans. During the Middle Ages, vineyards were owned by the church, royal estates, and a noble family who built the fortified castle on Szigliget. Viticulture declined during wars with the occupying Turks in the 16th and 17th centuries as people fled the area. It rapidly recovered by the 18th century, with modern winemaking methods and newly planted vineyards making the region famous.

Many noble families had estates and press houses on the volcanic hills, creating a bucolic landscape with vineyards surrounding white-washed buildings. The region was so renowned that families travelled from the other side of the lake to work the vineyards. The wines were traditionally sold using the name of the hill, with each having its own character. Szent György Hill, at 415 meters high, produces particularly characterful wines. Like every other region in Hungary, Badacsony suffered from the forced collectivization following World War Two and the lack of demand for quality wines. It also began losing vineyards following World War One, when holiday homes began replacing vines. Badacsony Hill is now part of a national park with strict building regulations. And winemakers have come a long way in undoing the damage done by Communism.

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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