I bought a wine tour to the Villány region for my partner after reading up on the growing reputation of Hungary's red varieties. Gabor picked us up from our hotel at 8am, he was ready with two bottles of water and some baked treats. We talked the entire three hour journey and were delighted with local stories about the areas we were passing through.
Our first stop was a little vineyard, Jackfall, that only offers cellar door sales. It's owned by one of the leading wine magazines and situated in a quiet little village. You could see the neighbouring area is poor, but I think that gave us a real insight into how people live in the country and the affect of Soviet rule on Hungary. On arrival at Jackfall a traditonal Hungarian "farmer's breakfast" was laid out with plates of cured meats, cheeses and salad. The wine was INCREDIBLE and we bought two boxes to ship home to Australia. I only wish I could back there right now, it was definitely our favourite place.
Thinking it was impossible to eat anymore after all that meat and cheese Gabor drove on to the Bock Winery, a much larger operation which has a restaurant serving local produce. Thanks to Gabor's recommendation I tried a game meat dish while my partner had a traditional red meat meal. Again we left with yet another box of wine.
From there we took a drive out to see the rows upon rows of family cellars and the fields where the grapes are grown. Absolutely breathtaking. After hundreds of pictures we made it to our last stop - the Sauska Winery, a newer winery with ultra-modern winemaking facilities and a gorgeous tasting area, which includes an outdoor terrace overlooking the vineyards.
Gabor made so much effort to find out about our wine tastes that he also organised for us to try Sauska's speciality tokaj. Another box later and our tour was at an end.
Perhaps we should have bought less, it cost us the same amount as the tour to send 24 bottles back to Australia through an international courier, but we can't wait to get home to share such beautiful red wine with our friends.
I think we were a little younger than those who would normally do tours with Taste Hungary (under 30) but I would highly recommend it to anyone. Gabor was the most amazing guide I ever come across in my travels. He is truly passionate about the local wine, region and you can see he has a good rapport with staff at each of the wineries.
My partner and I may have had to allocate a whole day to this tour but it was well worth it. An absolute highlight and I can't wait to go back to Hungary. The first thing we'll do is book another wine tour, to another region and soak up the best of what the country has to offer.
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