10+1 tips for outdoor dining in Hungarian wineries

 

Enjoy wine, food and sunshine together in the harvest season

The summer heat is over, the enchanting scent of freshly picked grapes comes with the autumn breeze, the sun still shines but only as much as you wish, and the plate is full of delighting autumn fruits. It’s good to have a superb winery in mind. Good to have a fine restaurant in mind. But what if both are in the same place?

Walk up the top of Öreghegy (’Old Hill’), and after passing the little rustic cellars, suddenly you will find yourself in a modern winery with an adjecent restaurant, what’s more with a swimming pool in the garden! Due to the Argentin owner of the winery the menu has several latin elements from chorizo to gazpacho, and certainly perfect steaks are available as well. Try the great Sauvignon Blanc of the winery while having a starter, then it’s worth sampling the Malbec from „brother winery” from Argentina.

The restaurant is open only at weekend, and it’s recommended to book in advance.

The state of art winery building itself is worth a visit with its special outside cover that reflects the shines and show the colours of a vineyard. They offer 10 rooms to stay in the Vinotel section – opened only in 2016 and awarded immediately the Best Wine Hotel by Best of Budapest & Hungary. A fine dining restaurant is to open soon, but meanwhile Gastro Bistrot awaits its guests all year with delicious meals made from local and seasonal ingredients. The menu of the day is available all the time, designed around the estate’s wines, with dishes to pair Sas Cuvée for example. Start with a bubbly Krisecco, and enjoy the atmosphere. Before or after the meal you can try the unique wine cinema! Coke and popcorn? Are you joking? Wine and taco!

Under the huge trees, embraced with vineyards from all sides Garamvári Wine Terrace awaits visitors till the end October. Though it does not serve as a restaurant, they are glad to accommodate smaller events, wine tastings for a maximum of 50 people. With wine tastings food platters are available too, for example cold plates: ham-rolls, casino-eggs, English sirloin, French salad, Russian meat salad, filled spare rib, filled turkey or chicken breast. The terrace is ideal to have a rest after a long wall and enjoy the red, rose and white wines of the winery along with the méthode traditionnelle sparkling wines from Garamvári Winery, Budafok.

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Badacsony, one of the witness mountains of the northern side of Lake Balaton is busy all the season, September is probably a peak with harvest festival and with the lake warm enough to bath. KisHabLeány (literally ’LittleMerMaid’) was enormously famous in the 70s and 80s, and then it was closed for 10 years until Laposa family took over in 2015 to prove that Balaton is not about „one time only” tourist traps. HabLeány offers the finest of bistrot food, listen: Bazalt Burger is grilled on lava stone and seasoned with basaltic salt; Vízikutya is a hot dog filled with catfish sausage; Manga Laci is a kind of pulled pork – according to our taste.” The restaurant is still open in September, we advise to try it! Laposa Estate itself is high on Badacsony mountain (where you can also have wine tasting with food), and if you walk up, you can stop halfway at frissTerasz, a cool, open air place with breathtaking view, also belonging to Laposa Estate.

Szent György mountain is the other large witness mountain near Badacsony, and Endre Szászi is one of the best wineries of the place, and he cultivates organically. His wines of indigenous grapes – Kéknyelű, Zeusz, Vulcanus, Rózsakő – are a must, and his wine terrace has a stunning view. Last year the estate opened its restaurant called Viridarium based on local and seasonal ingredients. Unfortunately it closed for the season, but occassionally is open, for example on 21–22–23 October. Szászi cellar has two lovely, authentic guest houses as well. As Endre Szászi said in an interview on Origo, harvest started especially early this year, Cserszegi Fűszeres, Zenit and Muscat Ottonel had to be picked from mid August. The winemaker is satisfied with the new vintage so far, of which you can taste the new wines, if you visit them in October!

Kreinbacher Bistro at the estate is part of the breathtaking, state of art winery. It offers á la carte meals, a well composed 5 course menu, or if you stay in one of their 15 award winning rooms, the day after you can enjoy breakfast with Kreinbacher méthode traditionnelle sparkling wines. Experience the unforgettable meals made from seasonal ingredients, like pike perch from Lake Balaton with pumpkin and dill with Juhfark 2015 (still wine by Kreinbacher made of indigenous grape of Juhfark), or roast pigeon with coriander, aubergine, pear and basil with Öreg Tőkék Bora 2015 (still white wine with Olaszrizling base)

One of the most unique wine cellar belongs to Thummerer family. The cellar is carved into the tufa stone of the mountain, an amazing place for maturing their outstanding wines. Vilmos Thummerer was chosen Winery of the Year decades ago, but he still keeps innovating (just think of his stunning méthode traditionnelle sparkling wine) and winning (the best wine by the Circle of Hungarian Winewriters). The restaurant is not within the winery, but only good walk from there (1.8 km). Magtár (literally ’corn store’) was built in the 18th century, and faithful to the traditional atmosphere offering homemade style, rustic dishes. Escape from the world with the taste of our gradfathers. Magtár also has 7 comfortable rooms to stay.

József Bock, owner of the restaurant (and Bock Cellar and Hotel Ermitage, Winemaker of the Year) is a passionate hunter, and the kitchen reflects his love of the forest brilliantly. The chef is a woman – rather rare –, Barbara Nemesné, whose dishes will surely make you a regular guest. The restaurant is open all year, its menu changes frequently. How about a platter of cheeses matured in pomace, grape-seed oil and pickled lemon or a home-made woodland mushroom pasta with strips of loin and parmesan flakes, and then some game goulash in red wine and charcoaled potatoes? And of course say yes to the sommelier who offers the perfect match from Bock portfolio.

Photo: Balazs Bergics

Mandula is designed with delicate, refined taste just like the whole Hotel Crocus, which is situated in the centre of Villány and owned by Attila Gere. Mandula offers fine dining all year with a touch of rustic hint. Separé within the restaurant is a relatively new thing: „Mandula Separé is the intimate parlour of the restaurant, which tempered wine tresors give home for the museum piece wine stock of Mandula Restaurant too. Wide cigar sortiment, aged noble brandy specialities, comfortable leather elbow-chairs, chess tables, and heartfelt enterieurs serve the comfort and amusement of the guests.” And now you can win a stay in Crocus Hotel for two people for tw nights!

Check the rules of the game which runs till 31 December

Have you ever tried a a real, traditional stove oven feast? Csaba Koch, owner of Koch Winery is good at outdoor cooking. The estate building functions as a guest house with 8 rooms, each named after a grape variety. The garden has lovely shadow from the trees, which made Csaba Koch build the entrance in a different place. Sitting outsite, enjoying the last rays of sun of Indian summer and tasting the knuckle of pork right out of the garden furnace is an unforgettable experience. With apple strudel taste Koch Late Harvest Chardonnay! Wine tastings with meals should be booked in advance.

10+1. Dereszla Vinotéka, Dereszla Winery, Tokaj

Arriving by boat on the river Bodrog and having a tasting on the sunny terrace? A lovely idea, isn’t it?  The gourmet tasting includes dry Lapis Furmint with smoked deer ham, off dry Dereszla Muscat with smoked cheese and Tokaji Aszú 5 puttonyos with chocolate covered dried fruits. Dereszla Vinotéka (Wine Shop) is situated next to the winery in Bodrogkeresztúr, Tokaj wine region.

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