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Drink wine in an arboretum! - 10 must-see wine terraces at Lake Balaton

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  • Németh Richárd

6/2/2015 2:32 PM

Here are a few places that offer world-class wine in a fantastic environment and/or with a panorama you won't want to leave. Our subjective round up lists 10 spots from the wine mansion through the arboretum to the littlemermaid.

Photo: Krisztina Bordács - We Love Balaton

Jásdi Wine Cellar

1/9

8229 Csopak, Arany János utca 2.

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Many believe that the Balatonfüred-Csopaki wine region - especially the Csopak part of it - has the most beautiful panorama of Lake Balaton. The vineyards rise slowly from the lakeshore to the Veszprém plateau's 230 m height: the Jásdi Pince's wine terrace is somewhat above halfway up. The spot is focused mostly on wine tasting. It opened in 2012 and its gastronomical style is home-like and simple.

The place offers a variety of wine tastings (a visit to the wine caves included on demand), in the frame of which they serve a cold plate with mangalica ham, home-made cheeses (goat's, sheep's, and cow's milk), the vegetables of the season and home-made bread. For groups (min. 10 persons), the place serves a 3-course lunch if pre-arranged. (Guests can even choose the ingredients in advance.) Although the Jásdi Wine Terrace doesn't have an accommodation option, it nurtures a close relationship with nearby guest houses and hotels, and are happy to assist their guests to find a suitable place to stay. Please, note that the place is closed on Tuesdays.

Photo: Krisztina Bordács - We Love Balaton

Szent Donát Manor

2/9

8229 Csopak, Szitahegyi út 28.

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Szent Donát's HQ is found on the highest point of Csopak's Szitahegy. The eponym of the manor, Szent Donát (St. Donatus) was considered the patron saint of the wine region, to whom locals prayed to escape storm damage. The winery was founded in 2001 with the goal of keeping family traditions alive and for the high standard utilization of the unique Csopak terroir. The wine terrace of unmatched panorama has always captured the heart of guests, and now the revamped kitchen also attempts the same feat.

The Márga Bistro signed the fundamental team members from top F+B joints (János Deli, manager - ex-MÁK Bistro; Zoltán Endrődi, chef- ex-Chianti Restaurant), and created a food selection unseen before on the north shore. They are open every day from June.

Photo: Csongor Kiripolszky - We Love Balaton

Liszkay Vineyard Estate

3/9

8273 Monoszló, 48/2. hrsz.

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"Hungarian Toscana" is the motto of the Liszkay winery, and one could believe it was bragging, until they made the effort to visit. The staff of the villa that was completely restored in 2001 will happily explain that the area used to be a popular camping ground for the Romans of old, referred to as "tvscvlanvm" or tusculanum, meaning summer abode. The debate whether Monoszló belonged to the Balatonfüred-Csopak or the Balaton Uplands wine region is irrelevant here.

Let it suffice that both wine and public administration region have laid claims on it due to the simple fact that Monoszló stands exactly on the border of the two - and that the terroir yields excellent wines, especially of the colour red. The Liszkay Pincészet also has at least 6 different kinds of red wine, and superior ones at that. As for the hotel and the terrace with the pool: it's all-round exclusive.

Photo: Pálffy Pince

Pálffy Wine Terrace

4/9

8274 Köveskál, Fő út 40.

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The Pálffy Pince in Káli Basin's Köveskál boasts of 16 acres of vineyards and numerous professional recognitions. Their wine terrace - on the porch of a completely restored country home - is open every day of the year: in the cold season, guests are seated in a covered and heated space. From early spring to late autumn, you can enjoy the warmth of the sun and the freshness of rosé spritzers on the terrace, sitting in the wicker chairs.

The place also serves food: the menu consists of cold plates with varying contents, including goat's cheese variations, local vegetables of the season, and home-made pork delicacies. In addition to the timeless vibe of the terrace, the wine selection also contributes to the uniqueness of the place. There is also possibility for compiling the flight of your choice at a fixed price. It isn't difficult to find a nice place to stay, but you'd better check in advance whether Kővirág or Káli Art Inn still have free rooms.

Photo: Sebestyén Blanka - We Love Balaton

Folly Arboretum and Winery

5/9

8257 Badacsonyörs, Kápolnavölgyi út 25.

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Although Badacsonyörs's Folly is mostly known as Hungary's most unique arboretum (internationally acclaimed for its collection of cypresses and cedars), grapes have also been part of the family enterprise since 1878. Considering the climate and the geological specifics of the region, the Folly family settled for making white wine, with preference to the Pinot gris, Muscat ottonel, Budai zöld and the Welschriesling. When you visit, be sure to add a 5 wine flight to your arboretum ticket, and you'll also get snacks. The amazing view from Ábrahámhegy will surely be burnt into your retina for life.

Photo: Sebestyén Blanka - We Love Balaton

Istvándy Wine Workshop

6/9

8261 Badacsonytomaj, Római út 155.

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There are innumerable F+B spots around Lake Balaton that would be pretenders for the Place With The Most Marvellous Panorama of the Lake title, if there was one. Not that anyone could ever decide justly. But probably most would agree that the Istvándy Wine Terrace would have a secure spot in the TOP3. Despite the fact that the Tóti Hill, where the winery is situated, is somewhat inland-ward-ish, it has a panorama with Ábrahámhegy on the left and Badacsony on the right, and the sleepy vineyard slopes in the middle with the Balaton on the horizon behind.

Top the panorama off with a two-palm, oven-baked grey cattle steak (of the Istvándy cattle) and a glass of the Istvándy Badacsonyi Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. Should your day stretch far into the evening, you can lay your head to rest  at the winery's guest house in Káptalantóti.

Photo: Sebestyén Blanka - We Love Balaton

Kishableány Terrace

7/9

Badacsony's famous fossil, the Kishableány (meaning: small mermaid) on Római út was transformed and filled with life under the hands of Bence Laposa and Dániel Bezerics in the spring. It is perhaps no overstatement that the place has found its calling. And even if this memory of the Kádár Era had stung the eyes of locals in its previously dilapidated state, now all the guests of Badacsony can thank the gods for the high level of self-control locals showed in not wrecking the Kishableány down ritually, dressed in animal skins, on an intoxicated dawn.

Thankfully, the building stayed, so the phenomenon of quality street food (or beach food) has been introduced to this nook of Balaton as well, along with the spirit of hospitality familiar to the guests of the former gastronomical  establishments trademarked by Mr Bezerics, such as the Vinoteca Cocktail Bar & Fröccs Terrace and the Paletta in Keszthely. So if you are looking for a food+beverage alternative to the stink of the so-called Badacsony Riesling row ,the reborn Kishableány is a strong option.

Photo: Krisztina Bordács - We Love Balaton

Szent Antal Pince és Borterasz / Szent Antal Cellar and Wine Terrace

8/9

If you plan on popping the big question in Szigliget during the summer, don't think twice, just head to Antal-hegy (Antal Hill). Upon arrival, take a seat under the trellis, ask for a pitcher of fresh Welschriesling and a whole roast catfish with baked tomatoes and potatoes, and just trust your spontaneity (which will only increase parallel to your wine consumption).

Yours truly did the same (except for the catfish, instead, there was bread with fat and red onions), and it worked like a charm. In addition to being romantic, the place of Szent Antal Wine Terrace on your bucket list (with exclamation marks!!!) is justified by the panorama, the hospitality and the honest respect for guests.

Photo: Krisztina Bordács - We Love Balaton

Kislaki Wine Manufacture

9/9

8691 Balatonboglár-Szőlőskislak, Fő utca 44.

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The names of Géza Légli and his Kislaki have become one with Szőlőskislak. Géza does not only grow most of his grapes here, but also set up his wine garden in Szőlőskislak, open from June to the end of August. He papmers guests with ham, sausages, oils, patés, home-made cheese and breads, not to mention the generously poured, crystal clear craft wines from the classical champagne to the summer favourite, screw-cap reductive wine to the heavier, selection reds.

If you want to stay with the host, chose his guest houses atop the highest vineyards of the place, Jánoshegy, so you'd have a proper initiation to jaw-dropping south shore panorama.

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