It has been suggested that the term Bikaver (Bull’s blood) was coined by Hungarian poet János Garay in 1846. Over the last 150 years or so, the Bikaver has had its ups and downs, but one thing is sure: It is a true essence of the red wines of Eger.
The date of the emergence of Egri Bikaver is shrouded in mystery. One thing is certain: the word Bikaver (bull’s blood) was recorded in the 19th century. Under the name Bikaver, full-bodied red wines were produced, not only in Eger and Szekszard but other places as well.
Legends grew up around the name, which tied it to the 1552 siege of Eger.
In its present form, Egri Bikaver is associated with the name of Jenő Grőber, Eger vigneron, the “Father of the Egri Bikaver” who was the first to write down its actual recipe in 1912.
Egri Bikavér is a dry red wine blend, consisting of at least three grape varieties, with Kekfrankos or Kadarka typically the base element blended with varieties such as Zweigelt, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Kekmedoc, or Blaubuger, with flavours and aromas presenting rich, spicy and fruity characteristics.
The wine’s complexity is well illustrated by the fact that the characteristic feature of it is that no single grape type can dominate the wine in question.
Current second-generation winemakers have been working hard for the past two decades to refine the conditions of the production, name, classification and control of this wine. The result of their work and commitment to Hungarian wine is that Egri Bikaver became the first quality wine in Hungary’s history to be produced in a specified region.
At present, Eger Bull’s Blood is produced in accordance with this regulation defining 3 tiers of quality: classicus, superior and grand superior.
The regulation sets out the rules of yield restriction, fermentation sur marc, aging in barrels and bottles, as well as the marketing and trading of the wines, for the different tiers.
It's still possible to get low-quality or mass-produced Bull's Blood that some of you may remember well from the 1970’s and 1980’s, so if you want to give it another chance, it's worth to invest in a better bottle.
High-quality Bull’s Blood requires two or three years of oak-aging and is best with game, beef, or other spicy food.
Those who are looking for the highest-quality Egri Bikaver should look for the Superior label.
Source of picture: Borrajongo.blog.hu
We're proud to represent Tibor Gal's winery and two excellent Bull's Bloods of theirs: The 'classicus' Titi 2013 - an exquisite vintage, as well as their Bikaver Superior 2012, a very elegant wine that is simply a must try.
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