If you enter a house in Hungary, the first piece of food you are offered is a salty, round cake called pogácsa. The texture is quite similar to that of the English scones, but pogácsa is always salty. The basic ingredients can alter, cottage cheese, cheese, yoghurt, pork cracklings can also serve as the base of the dough. Kadarka, a lighter bodied, easy drinking, fairly spicy wine is a perfect match with pogácsa, two things that have been consumed million times together at simple tables covered with red and white checked table cloth. Try the combination, and enjoy the simplicity, which will give you the pleasure of perfection. First we share a superb recipe of pogácsa (my mother’s recipe), than we recommend three stunning Kadarka wines, all of them are different, yet excellent examples of the variety.
My mother’s pogácsa recipe
Mix 500 g flour with 250 g cold butter. Heat 5 cl milk until luke warm, add a teaspoon of sugar and 25 g yeast. When the yeast has risen, mix it with the flour and add 2 egg yolks, two pinches of salt and 15 cl sour cream. Mix it well and then place it in the fridge for half an hour. Spread the though with a rolling pin and fold it like you would fold a piece wrapping paper together. Place it in the fridge again for 20 minutes. Spread it again, fold it again, let it rest in the fridge again. After 20 minutes spread it again and with a glass cut little circles, spread them with beaten egg, place them on baking paper and put them into a preheated oven. Bake them until they are golden.
Vesztergombi Kadarka, Szekszárd, 2016
Szekszárd is famous for Kadarka variety, and Ferenc Vesztergombi, who was awarded the prestigious Winemaker of the Year in 1993, is an enthusiastic producer of the variety along with his son, Csaba Vesztergombi. They were the first to organize a vertical tasting of their Kadarka wines to prove that yes, Kadarka has an ageing potential, and with time the notes become more complex, deeper. Their Kadarka wine comes from a 100 year old plantation, fermented in stainless steel and aged in large casks. „When we blend it with other varieties, we always keep the dominant characteristics of Kadarka in mind. We believe that good Kadarka wines need about 10% botrytised berries to achieve the unmistakable aromas of Szekszárd Kadarka.”
Gróf Buttler Kadarka, Eger, 2014
Eger is the other important region for Kadarka, especially Nagy-Eged mountain with unique mesoclimate. The type of the soil (rendzina soil) has a strong influence on the character of the wines. Gróf Buttler winery shares the opinion that Kadarka is great with some botrytised grapes, and as a consequence their Kadarka is „extremely intense and rich on the nose, in which we meet the character of botrytis. Rich in sweet spices, sweet, fully ripe red and forest fruits. Concentrated, deep, complex, full bodied wine, where the crisp acids give liveliness. Has a long ageing potential.” The wine is fermented in stainless steel and aged partially in large barrel.
Koch Kadarka, Hajós–Baja, 2015
Hajós–Baja is a wine region much less known than the above mentioned two ones, but some pioneers, like Csaba Koch have recently placed the wine region on the wine map of good wines in Hungary. Koch Kadarka is fermented in wooden vat and aged in big barrel. „This beautiful Kadarka wine reflects the warmth of vintage 2015 and its aromas and flavours express the richness of the black soil of ‘Bácska’ territory. The wooden vat fermentation and barrel ageing makes it spicy, velvety, vivid – full of fire!”