On our quest to find the most splendid wine terraces of Balaton, we came across so many good ones on the north shore that we thought they warranted their own roundup. We have long abandoned the idea of picking the prettiest view out of all the amazing vistas, so we paired one or two special wines with each spot to add a bit of a twist. Our wine expert climbed lots of hills to select the most pleasant items at each of the following ten scenic locations.
Located in Balatonudvari, about ten kilometers from Balatonfüred, the terrace of the Skrabski family boasts truly special views. Their cellar-press house and vineyards are found below the hills Kisleshegy and Nagyleshegy, at an exceptional vantage point overlooking Balaton and the Tihany Peninsula. Their guesthouse called Tulipán has high-tech rooms with air con, a lush garden, and a terrace with a view of Lake Balaton that’s hard to get bored of.
Skrabski’s 2015 rosé blend of Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, and Blaufränkisch is a summer staple. Full of fruit, full of vitality.
What else could a successful IT expert dream of than adding a cellar, a restaurant, and a wine terrace to his hillside cottage, and also creating a popular festival while he's at it? The two most recent additions of Szabolcs Homola’s empire, Homola Wine Terrace and Sáfránkert Restaurant opened at the same time in 2015, and the terrace is situated at such a jaw-dropping spot that you won’t regret making the trek up the hill to drop in for a visit. The vineyard designated wines, which are matured in wooden barrels, are quite excellent, and so are the winery’s own pálinka and the food made from locally produced ingredients. This is a place you’ll have a hard time leaving behind.
Winemaker Attila Homonna makes awesome wooden barrel-aged Welschriesling, Blaufränkisch, and Syrah from meticulously selected grapes, but let’s talk about the cellar’s 100% series instead, and about 100% Riesling in particular, which is produced with reductive technology, being aged for a short period on the lees. Feel free to add some soda water if that’s how you like it.
Tucked away in Nivegy Valley, on Tagyon Hill, this huge estate has a panoramic wine terrace, which is almost an insignificant part of the massive facility. There’s an impressive show kitchen with a big oven for cooking homestyle cuisine, but that’s still not everything: guests can join varied recreational activities like hiking, sailing excursions, and even yoga sessions held on weekends. This summer they’re providing accommodation as well.
The grapes for their reductive wine Tagyon Birtok RSZ, made from Riesling Sylvaner, comes from the vineyards surrounding the estate. It’s a fresh, summery item with a relatively low alcohol content; it’s best served chilled, with or without soda water.
Gergely Winery is sited on Szent Balázs Hill, in the heart of Nivegy Valley, seven kilometers from Zánka, between the villages of Szentantalfa and Balatoncsicsó. The family winery grows organic grapes on a total of 25 hectares. Their guesthouse not only has clean and comfy rooms, but also a terrace that’s the ultimate breakfast spot set against a backdrop of sailing yachts floating on the lake like tiny paper boats.
Go for the 2015 Cserszegi fűszeres, which is a flavorful wine with pleasant acidity, also ideal for making fröccs.
Found in Mindszentkálla, on Szűcs Hill on the western edge of the Káli Basin, Kaal Villa catches the eye from a distance due to its spectacular pillars. The uniquely designed complex houses a modern winery where the owners put their heart and soul into the wines they make, and serve their guests an enticing selection of artisan cheese, pork and beef dishes, buttery-flaky pogácsa, and a fine assortment of their own wines on the wine terrace.
Bred from a combination of Ezerjó and Bouvier, Zenit thrives in the mineral-rich, volcanic soil typical of the area. The wine produced from it is elegant with hints of fruit and minerals.
A visit to the tavern run by the Papp family, which is located between Balatonszőlős and Tótvázsony, feels like time travel in the best sense of the expression. The cuisine here comprises the classics of Hungarian gastronomy, oven-baked dishes, smoked trout, which they prepare themselves, the “feast of the house” (tenderloin, salmon, goose liver, etc.), and the wines of local winemakers. The terrace overlooks Tihany, but you can pretty much see the entire lake from here.
You simply have to sample their white made from Sauvignon blanc and the Blaufränkisch rosé.
Szászi Estate on Hegymagas swears by ecological farming, and works with hand-pruned, hand-picked, and hand-selected grapes. Apart from the wines, they also make organic grape juice, grape seed powder, and grape seed oil. Here you can try all the typical varieties of the Badacsony Wine Region (Welschriesling, Pinot gris, Kéknyelű, Rózsakő, Zeus, Muscat ottonel) on one terrace, and examine the nearby monadnocks from a distance.
The 2015 Badacsony Welschriesling of Szászi has a subtle aroma and a minerally finish, and goes extremely well with grilled fish and chicken.
Last year we already raved about Csendes Dűlő in Badacsonyörs, on the southern slopes of Örsi Hill, and we’ve been thinking about the panorama we saw there ever since. Sprawled out over an area of about three hectares, the estate’s vineyards, which mostly have volcanic soil, produce Welschriesling, Pinot gris, Hárslevelű, and Kéknyelű. All the wines are available from several vintages, but it’s good to know that Csendes Dűlő is only open from June through August, on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The good news is that their new wine terrace is now open on Örsi Hill.
Don’t pass up the chance to taste the estate’s newest Kéknyelű and earlier Hárslevelű wines. The latter is regarded as a kind of secondary variety in the Badacsony Wine Region, but Csendes Dűlő has proved that you can actually make outstanding wines from it.
The Laposa brand is featured repeatedly in our guides, and while they also have a new wine terrace that’s just been launched, we recommend that you visit the spacious terrace of their estate on Badacsony Hill first, which comes with first-rate cuisine and lots of great Laposa wines. Even if their vintages were substandard, the terrace would still be full because of the breathtaking view.
WLB wine tip:
It’s hard to pick just one Laposa item, so let us recommend three: the newest vintage of FRISS, a fresh, citrusy, light wine, and two more serious, minerally blends, 4Hegy and Rizling².
Being one of the seven wine regions of Balaton, Nagy-Somló deserves a place on our list even if Somló Wine Shop on the south side of Somló Hill is located north of the lake, in Somlóvásárhely. The shop is open all year (except for Wednesdays), which is just as well because you can only properly test their selection of 160 wines, mostly from Somló, if you visit their terrace offering scenic vistas regularly.
WLB wine tip:
Of all the smaller, new-wave cellars in the Somló region, one of our recent favorites has been Somlói Vándor Cellar. Vándor Juhfark from 2015 is a screw cap wine, but don’t let that put you off: this is a true heavyweight that’s also drinkable, fresh, and fruity.