Bull’s blood from the Eger wine region is famous throughout the world. It is in fact a cuvee made by combining three red wines. Formerly, the principal ingredient of Egri Bikaver used to be the Kadarka, but later the more acidic Zweigelt and Kekfrankos gained dominance, leading to bright red, tartish bikaver wines with a fruity fragrance, which are left to mellow for shorter periods.
Currently, the range is still varied and diverse. Leading viticulturists have returned again to making more traditional Egri bikaver, which has a deep ruby red colour, soft, mellowed zest, fragrances as wells as a fruity character, but wines of a classic composition are also made (composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot), depending on the recipe and the wine-maker.
In Hungary, Egri Bikaver became in 1977 the first wine to be granted protection of origin, which brought with it the accompanying strict regulations on wine-making.
As the story goes, back in 1552 the Eger fortress was under attack, and the defenders were badly outnumbered. To fortify themselves and give themselves courage, they drank the local red wine in large amounts, and the wine spilled on them while they did so. When the attackers saw the men running towards them with red liquid all down their chests, they thought the locals had been drinking bull's blood, and they fled in terror.
Photo: Nemes Robert
A good bikaver is a gem of gastronomy at any festive meal. It shines best when paired with beef, big game dishes, and ripe cheeses.
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