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Gál Lajos, Sík-hegy Bikavér Grand Superior 2021

After tasting through a gorgeous lineup of wines with Lajos Gál, his philosophy seems especially fitting: “We could best describe our winery as a practical spiritual wine workshop, where we combine the practical and theoretical experience accumulated over many years with the old traditions of Eger. We are based on traditional values, the uniqueness of Eger, and quality. And we try to polish the results of our work to perfection, within a family framework.” His strive towards perfection certainly shows in wines such as this Bikavér Grand Superior, his top level Bikavér. This is a single-vineyard blend from the Sík-hegy vineyard near the city of Eger. This vineyard is one of Eger’s most prized, with soil over volcanic rhyolite tufa, dotted with lava stones. Local winemakers say this site produces very complex, well-balanced wines. According to Gál, this wine’s unique extraordinary spiciness is due to this soil, and the vineyard’s terroir overrides all of the wine’s other characteristics. This blend is 46 percent Kékfrankos, 32 percent Merlot, 15 percent Cabernet Franc, and seven percent Kadarka. All four varieties were harvested together on September 25, fermented on the skins for four weeks, pressed gently, and then aged in a combination of new and used Hungarian oak barrels (both large and smaller) for 18 months. This is a full-bodied wine (14.5 percent alcohol), with Eger’s typical combination of acidity, fruitiness, and mineral depth keeping it in good balance (and making it extremely enjoyable). The jammy nose has overripe red berries, blackberries, black currants, and some floral aromas. The palate has all of that, as well as rose petals and dark chocolate. The tannins are ripe, and the nice oaky finish makes it a good match for aged cheeses, spicy sausages, venison stew, or steak.

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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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