Viticulture has been practiced in Sopron since Roman times, but lots of credit goes to the German settlers who began arriving in the 13th century. Known as poncichter (from the German Bohnenzüchter, which refers to growers who planted beans between the rows of vines), they helped make Sopron wine one of Hungary’s most sought-after exports by the 15th century. By the 17th century, Sopron had laws banning the sale of wine from elsewhere, making the tavern business the privilege of local growers. Soproni wine was widely exported across Europe. After World War Two, the ethnic Germans, who had tended most of the vines, were deported, and the many Jewish wine merchants were all lost in the Holocaust. The state cooperatives that followed favored quantity over quality, and Sopron’s wines were mediocre for decades (as in the rest of the country). Sopron was slower than other regions to rebuild after the government changes in the early 1990s, but things have been speeding up—thanks to wineries such as Steigler. There are only 311 hectares of producing Syrah vineyards in Hungary, so this popular international variety is a relative rarity. But this is a lovely example. It is a full-bodied and concentrated wine, with some meatiness to it. On the nose, there are scents of eucalyptus, mint, blackberries, lilac, coffee, and black pepper. It’s a fruity wine—heavy on the cherries, cranberries, and currants—with some dark chocolate and rum flavors. Grapes were hand-harvested, and fermentation took place in open vats for 16 days. It was aged in 500-liter oak barrels on fine lees for one year. This is a big wine, with a creamy texture and a smooth and fruity finish. Like all of Steigler’s wines, it is organic. Try it with burgers, game, or beef stew (marha pörkölt).