Kékfrankos – Tóth Ferenc Winery
Kékfrankos is a variety known by many names across Central Europe, best known as Blaufränkisch in neighboring Austria. It is the most planted red grape variety in Hungary, with more than 7,000 hectares (Austria has just 3,000 hectares). Kékfrankos is the classic representation of Hungary, and is considered one of the country’s best wine varieties. It’s an integral component of the Egri Bikavér blend, and it also really expresses terroir. This Kékfrankos is from the cooler climate Eger region. It’s a crowd-pleasing medium-bodied wine that shows the aromas and character of a slightly aged Kékfrankos—yet it’s really fresh for a five-year old wine. It has a nose full of cherry jam, raspberries, cherry syrup, plum jam, cherry strudel, some spices, and truffles. All of this deliciousness continues on the palate, along with a nice long chocolatey cherry finish. Cherry is really dominant all around. Grapes for this Kékfrankos were harvested by hand, macerated for 30 days, and fermented on the skins for two weeks. It was then aged in different types of barrels (including oak) for two years. This is an elegant and balanced Kékfrankos, which is very easy to drink. It goes great with game and roasted pheasant, or pasta with a salty sauce (like one with olives or capers in it). Or, if you want to serve it with something Hungarian, try it with roasted duck with tart cherry sauce.
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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|