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The fizzy side of Balaton - 8 excellent sparkling wines from around the lake

Wine & Gastronomy - Articles

Wednesday, August 5, 2015 — Richárd Németh

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén/welovebalaton.hu

It’s summer and when it comes to wines this time of the year, you cannot overlook the two hit varieties, rosés and pearl- and sparkling wines. It wasn’t too long ago that we published our subjective list of favourite rosé wines, and now it’s time to go to the fizzy side.

Did you know?

  • Pearlwine and sparkling wine are two different categories.
  • Pearlwines have a bottle pressure of 1-2.5 bars, while the pressure in a bottle of aerated sparkling wine is 3-6 bars.
  • Aerated sparkling wine is much like regular sparkling wine (often called champagne), as both have a similar bottle pressure.
  • Pearlwines and aerated sparkling wines are cheaper than regular sparkling wine (or Spanish cava, French champagne or crémant, or Italian prosecco) because they have added carbon dioxide to make them fizzier. By contrast, regular sparkling wines produce their own bubbles (with the help of added sugar and yeast), which takes a bit of time.

Borbély Family Winery - Bóbita pearlwine

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén/welovebalaton.hu

Borbély Family Winery

8258 Badacsonytomaj, Káptalantóti út 19.
Borbély Family Winery on facebook

The family winery, which is located just outside Badacsonytomaj, is run by the eldest child, Tamás Borbély, who was picked as a candidate to be among the five best winemakers  that is, the holders of the Winemaker of the Year title – by the Hungarian Wine Academy last year and the year before that. Tamás’ Welschrieslings and Rheinrieslings are regarded as outstanding items in premium gastronomy establishments all over the country, but for his Irsai Olivér-based pearlwine cuvée called Bóbita, you’ll have to go all the way to the cellar. One thing is for sure: you won’t regret the trip because Gabriella, Tamás’ mother, is an excellent cook, and the family’s guest house, which stands in the middle of the Tomaj vineyard, offers perfect tranquillity, a Zen atmosphere and an exceptional panorama from the hill all year round.

Bóbita ex-cellar price: 1,900 HUF.

Bezerics Wine House - Szexi Kis Rozé aerated sparkling wine

Photo: Bezerics Borház

Bezerics Wine House

8360 Keszthely, Tomaji sor 40.
Bezerics Wine House on facebook

The name of Dani Bezerics probably rings familiar not only because of his wines, but also because of his several Balaton catering establishments, the first of which he opened a few years ago – his latest enterprise was reviving Badacsony’s Kishableány together with local winemaker Bence Laposa. With its light character and notes of cherry and sour cherry, Szexi Kis Rozé is a Pinot noir-Cabernet sauvignon blend that is an indispensible accessory for any Balaton summer. Look for this sparkling item at the previously mentioned KishableányPaletta in Balatonboglár or Keszthely’s Fröccsterasz.  

Available at Bezerics Wine House for an ex-cellar price of 1,500 HUF.

Bujdosó Winery - Frisecco pearlwine

Photo: Bujdosó Pincészet

Bujdosó Winery

8638 Balatonlelle, Várszói út
Bujdosó Winery on facebook

The Bujdosó brothers, Zsiga and Feri are well-known sailing fans: in 2011, Feri steered the family to victory in the Regatta of Winemakers, and the duo also participates in Kékszalag year after year. The number of stories they could tell you about sailing is virtually endless – if you visit their cellar in Balatonlelle, you don’t have to worry about them running out of adventures to recount. You can also count on the fact that the first thing you’ll get to sample at the Bujdosó headquarters is their pearlwine made from Királyleányka with the use of a gentle sparkling base wine. Frisecco has an intense fragrance of jasmine and crisp acids – it’s a very light item, as it should be.  

Sold at Selection for 2,100 HUF.

Ax Wine (e)Motion - Axecco pearlwine

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén/welovebalaton.hu

Kristinus Wine Estate

8713 Kéthely, Hunyadi utca 99.
Kristinus Wine Estate on facebook

The biggest wine-related investment project of all time on the south shore was carried out by AX & AX (new name: Ax Wine (e)Motion) – anyone who’s been to the almost shopping centre sized winery south of Kéthely was probably reluctant to believe their eyes at first. The winery complex, which has an on-site restaurant, café, concert stage and cinema, adheres to the philosophy of making the best wines possible. Their pearlwine marketed with the name Axecco is made entirely of Yellow muscat, and it reflects their philosophy of excellence, particularly for those who are fans of natural residual sugar. It is a semi-sweet item with the enchanting notes of tropical fruit. Due to its composition, it goes especially well with lighter, creamy desserts.  

Ex-cellar price: 1,870 HUF.

Kislaki - Piros aerated sparkling wine

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén/welovebalaton.hu

Kislaki Wine Manufacture

8691 Balatonboglár-Szőlőskislak, Fő utca 44.
Kislaki Wine Manufacture on facebook

When it comes to wine top lists (or wine terrace top lists), you simply cannot leave Géza Légli out of consideration. We love his winemaking philosophy at least as much as his Piros aerated sparkling wine, which is a refreshing, elegant and light wine full of notes of red berries. It’s the prefect choice to pair with pizzas, pastas and lasagne with tomato sauce, but if you want to ignore Italy, and look for a dish more appropriate for the Hungarian belly, have it with lecsó by all means. But remember to put more than one bottle of it on ice, as Piros evaporates inexplicably fast during cooking.  

Pick it up at Zwack Izabella Wine Shop for 2,180 HUF.

Istvándy Winery - Huncutka rosé pearlwine

Photo: Péter Gyöngy

Istvándy Winery

8283 Káptalantóti, Hegymőg dűlő
Istvándy Winery on facebook

Whether your wine tasting session at Istvándy Winery includes 5 or 7 varieties, make sure to ask your hosts to add Huncutka to the mix. Made from Cabernet sauvignon, the wine has an aroma profile that is slightly spicy with bursts of fruit; thanks to its character and gastronomical properties, it harmonises best with salads and cheeses, but it possibly goes nicely with the oven-baked poultry dish that is the cellar’s speciality. Located on Hegymög vineyard in Káptalantóti, the family winery of Gergő Istvándy and co. is officially open until August 20 – if you wish to drop by later in the year, make sure to call ahead.  

The ex-cellar price of Huncutka is around the 2,000 HUF mark.

Konyári Wine Cellar - Lolipop rosé pearlwine

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén/welovebalaton.hu

Konyári Wine Cellar

8638 Balatonlelle, Kishegy, 0113/7. hrsz.
Konyári Wine Cellar on facebook

Dani Konyári, the creator of Lolipop described his wine as follows: “It isn’t actually named after lollipops, the name comes from a play on words. We had to name a rosé that goes with our white and red Loliense; we chose ‘loli’ to go with the other wines, and added ‘pop’ to evoke liveliness and party vibes. From now on, we’ll only make rosé from it.” The grapes used are Cabernet sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah. It’s a typical refreshing summer wine with notes of raspberry and strawberry, and a hint of spiciness with flavours of pepper and nutmeg – light, dynamic, irresistible.  

Bortársaság sometimes stocks it for 1,900 HUF/bottle, but it can always be found at ETAP in Budapest’s Király utca or at the winery.

Hujber Winery - Frizzante rosé pearlwine

Photo: Blanka Sebestyén/welovebalaton.hu

Hujber Winery

8630 Balatonboglár, Munkácsy utca 116.
Hujber Winery on facebook

Hujber Winery is situated in Balatonboglár, tending a wide variety of grapes on almost 18 hectares. But let us look no further than the Cabernet sauvignon, or rather its frizzy version called Frizzante, which has notes of wild cherry and paprika, and has a low alcohol content. (Want to know a trade secret? This is the favourite of our managing editor, especially on hot days that put the best kind of Old Spice to the test.)  

Its ex-cellar price of around 2,000 HUF is not too bad, considering that Frizzante received the highest score at the 2015 Boglár Wine Competition, making it the worthy holder of the Wine of Balatonboglár title.

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