7 stories with celebrities and Hungarian wines
Motion picture industry has increased significantly in Hungary in the past decade, and as a result of the mushrooming film studios, one can spot several international movie stars in bars and restaurants of Budapest. Some of them are „fully relaxed” when they are spotted late at night, actor Jude Law and actress Jennifer Lawrence for example had obviously consumed a couple of drinks when being filmed by paparazzi. However, several stars enjoy Hungarian wine culture moderately and attentively, now we would like to present examples of the latest type.
Antonio Banderas and ’Butterfly’
The actor himself is involved in wine business since he founded Anta Banderas winery in Ribera del Duero, Spain. Attila Sutus is one of the most experienced sommeliers in the country after several years spent in the United Kingdom. Last year Mr Banderas had dinner in Baraka restaurant in Budapest, a French–Asian fine dining restaurant, where Attila was the head sommelier at that time. As Attila reported, Mr Banderas asked for the sommelier’s recommendation, and he accepted it with pleasure. One memorable wine for him consumed at Baraka is Pillangó (’Butterfly’), a single vineyard Merlot from Vylyan, Villány. Actor Ashton Kutcher and his wife, Mila Kunis also relied on the sommelier’s expertise: Ashton chose the degustation menu with wine pairing.
Bill Clinton and NJK
Nimród Kovács, owner of Kovács Nimród Winery made a carrier in the United States, and as a successful businessman, he had the chance to meet former US president, Bill Clinton several times. Nimród believes – and it is much more than a dream – that his wines made in great terroirs in Eger wine region have the potential to be paired with top wines of the world, and of course he did not miss the opportunity to make Mr Clinton taste the flagship wine of the winery called NJK. „Clinton found NJK a lovely, elegant wine!” – recalls Nimród Kovács.
Schwarzenegger loved Sir Irsai
The former actor – now Californian governor Arnold Swarzenegger tasted Sir Irsai from Haraszthy Winery in a Los Angeles restaurant – he liked it so much that he returned and ordered more. Irsai Olivér is an aromatic indigenous grape variety in Hungary, and when made with care and attention, it can give a rich, luscious yet elegant white wine. Haraszthy Winery is situated in Etyek, however the owner is from Argentina, who has vineyards back in Argentina (Palo Alto, Mendoza) and also in California (Tartara, Santa Barbara).
Christopher Lambert and Gróf Buttler Merlot
Tom George is a fancy Italian restaurant in Budapest, popular among celebrities. The above mentioned ex-president tasted several wines at Tom George when once dining there – as we learnt from József Kovács head sommelier, who has worked there for more than 15 years. When actor Christopher Lambert worked on the American–Hungarian movie called Day of Wrath, after work he often visited the restaurant. He tasted Gróf Buttler Merlot 2003 from Eger, and he liked it so much – his signature was printed on the label later on.
The world famous tenor opera singer loves the wines of Villány, and last June the city of Pécs, south of Hungary saw an exceptional first night: Traviata on the stage, and Plácido Domingo Classics Selection 2012 red blend in the glasses! The relationship between the singer and Bock winery goes back to 2008, when the mayor of Pécs took him to see the neighbouring Villány and taste the wines of the region, including the wines of József Bock. The maestro has visited Bock Cellar since 2008 several times, and this special blend of the 2012 vintage has been chosen by him. Plácido Domingo is keen on the full bodied red wines, and the Plácido Domingo Classics Selection 2012 is absolutely a wine to meet his requirements.
Jodie Kidd supermodel and Sauska Tokaj
The British model owns a village pub in England called The Half Moon. The blonde model takes the job seriously, thus she offers gourmet food made of quality ingredients, and an amazing wine list inspired by her travels. Besides the interesting – and in some cases terrific – English wines you can find the international stars, and you can spot some amazing pieces from less known wine countries, like Turkey or Hungary. From Hungary a dry Furmint and a Tokaji Aszú dessert wine are offered, both from Sauska winery, Tokaj.
Jolie & Pitt and Michelin star Costes wine selection
The dream couple stayed in Budapest for a long time while Angelina Jolie was shooting her film about the Yugoslavian war (Budapest is an often used scenery no matter if the movie is set in Moscow or any other Eastern European countries). In Hungary they visited the producer Andy Vajna’s restaurant, Nobu, which had its opening ceremony at that time. They also visited the first Michelin star restaurant in Budapest, Costes. Costes is famous for its wine collection, and the couple – whe were also involved in wine busines through Chateau Miraval, Provence – relied on Costes expertise and chose Costes degustation menu. No records of what they drank back then in 2010, buti f you follow their path, you can taste wines like the méthode traditionnelle sparkling wine by Béres Winery from Tokaj.
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