Summer is here which means it’s time for spritzers, champagnes in ice buckets and crisp whites to go with your fish. Here are ten top recommendations from Balaton vineyards.
The Bujdosó family embodies the whole Balaton vibe: their vineyards are in Balatonlelle and Balatonboglár and when they aren’t working in the cellar, the brothers, Feri and Zsiga, like to catch the wind at one of the sailing competitions on the lake. Their rosé sparkling wine called Kék ('Blue') is made from a new variety, Blaufränkisch, this year, but these bottles are still all about freshness, red berries and lots of bubbles.
Price: 1,869 HUF (In Vino Veritas)
According to its biggest fans, champagne is something you can drink any time but with such a classic tipple, we would stick to sipping it in the mornings and evenings. You have to pay attention to what’s inside the bottle, and a breakfast or a warm sunset is the best occasion. The Kreinbachers have taken champagne-making to the next level, with help from the home of the genre, Champagne. This Extra Dry is made from the Furmint and Chardonnay of Somló origins – its fruity scent and flavour are accompanied by silky bubbles.
Price: 4,300 HUF (Bortársaság)
Working in the Balaton Uplands, the champagne of the Pálffy family represents an almost underground genre. Free from any chemicals, its base Pinot Noir was fermented spontaneously, and then they made champagne with traditional technology. The result is a champagne with hints of ripe berries and a slightly higher alcohol content.
Price: 6,450 HUF (Bortársaság)
The perfect spritzer wine of the season, almost as it it were invented for it. Why? They pour it into a 1.5 litre bottle, which is just the right quantity. The light, dry wine only has an alcohol content of 12% and its acids are lively. The moderation of its aromas have the same character as Olasz Rieslings and Chardonnays. It’s worth trying this refreshing wine without soda water, too.
Price: 1,790 HUF (Bortársaság)
Summer wouldn’t be complete without great rosés. Géza Légli from the south shore of Balaton uses a mix of varieties for this one. It has a light body, low alcohol content and balanced acids. Besides its vivid pink colour, the fruity bouquet of raspberry, cherry, and strawberry flavours should provide merriment to everyone who drinks it.
Price: 1,643 HUF (Zwack Izabella Borkereskedés)
With the Paloznak Jazz Picnic in August and the DJs in the Vineyard series, Homola is a winery that is up for a party. Their 100% line includes various items, but the 100% Balaton is the starting point and it’s a must-have on a list such as this. Attila Homonna made the playful 2017 vintage from Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris and Olasz Riesling.
Price: 2,091 HUF (Zwack Izabella Borkereskedés)
The name Bohém is used by the Badacsony winery not only for the cuvée but also for their festival, Bohém Légyott at the end of June. The Bohém Cuvée is available all summer long: aged in tanks and barrels, while the Olasz Riesling, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc varieties form a nice balance.
Price: 1,950 HUF (Bortársaság)
The Hungarian Society of Winemakers decided to choose its regional varieties in 2010. Winemakers around Balaton – who mostly would be happier if these regions were united – chose Olasz Riesling. Gellavilla’s from 2017 is the perfect example of how good a decision this was. A good Olasz Riesling keeps everything in proportion: it’s not too much, not too little, and its aromas are fruity without being too intense.
Price: 1,990 HUF (Bortársaság)
Most Balaton winemakers support Olasz Riesling but some see potential in pairing it with Riesling. Except for their names, the two varieties aren’t related, which makes it all the more exciting. This fresh wine from Pátzay contains a base of 70% Olasz Riesling and an added 30% of Riesling.
Price: 1,885 HUF (In Vino Veritas)
Even though Pinot Gris vineyards cover a large chunk of land around Lake Balaton, the wine itself is divisive. Some aren’t big fans, others like its homely taste. The Pinot Gris of Béla & Bandi comes from the Málnás vineyard of the Balatonfüred-Csopak region. With its ripe fruity flavour, it is best placed on the dinner table.
Price: 2,290 HUF (Bortársaság)