A popular children’s drawing activity is to connect numbers until the connecting lines give a picture. Szekszárd winemakers had the idea to find the child in our soul: they created a springtime one day tour (11th May) „to connect the numbers”. The numbers are certainly renowned wineries, and the connecting lines are short, pleasant walks or bus rides. If you are diligent enough, the map of your walks will give the drawing of a bull. And why a bull? Because Szekszárd is famous for its red blend called Bikavér (’Bull’s Blood’), and during the tour visitors will have a chance to taste Bikavér wines from all the participating wineries. This year 7 wineries will host the event, and they will also host some (3) guest wineries, thus altogether „hikers” will have a chance to taste 20 Bikavér wines from 10 wineries. Tickets should be purchased in advance, the price is 14.000 HUF (44 euros) and it contains all the Bikavér samples, home made pub grub at every cellar plus bus transfer. The website of the event is in Hungarian, if you are interested, write to us and we will help!
Strict rules for the perfect blood
In Hungary two wine regions are allowed to produce Bikavér: Eger and Szekszárd. Eger regulations are clearly written here, while Szekszárd regulation is available here. The most important rule for the Szekszárd blend is that „Szekszárd Bikavér should contain at least four different grape varieties. The backbone is provided by at least 45% of kékfrankos and 5% of kadarka. International varieties such as cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon and merlot are also allowed however their share cannot exceed 40%. Further varieties are also approved with a maximum share of 10%. At all quality levels Szekszárd Bikavér spend at least 12 months in barrels.”The high proportion of Kékfrankos is a recent regulation, earlier the blend had to contain 40% Kékfrankos and Kadarka together, this ratio was increased to 50% in 2016.
The fruit for this Bikavér comes from four precious vineyards (Szarvas crest, Bodzás, Kerékhegy, Hidaspetre). As for the blend, Kékfrankos gives the body and backbone of the wine, Cabernet Sauvignon adds spiciness and depth, Merlot is responsible for the soft and gentle character while Kadarka provides its soul. The winery has made Bikavér since 1991 with more or less the same proportion of the varieties. The first Bikavér was released in 1993, the year when Ferenc Vesztergombi was awarded the prestigious title “Winemaker of the Year”.
For this Bikavér the grape is harvested from three different vineyards (the famous Görögszó, Tóth valley and Alsónána). Here the blend already contains a high proportion of Kékfrankos (altough the wine was made before this ratio became mandatory): 50%, and four more varieties are present: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Kadarka. On the nose it has a ‘cool’ character, but at the same time it has an attractive frutiy-spicy note. Loads of sour cherries, a pleasure to take a sniff of them. On the palate soft, velvety tannins, moderate acidity. Energic and serious, but also charming and easy to drink. For the story of the label, go to the fact sheet of the wine.