Tasting the Bull’s Blood at Eger

Don’t be surprised at the title

This piece is all about our day trip to Eger, Hungary’s famous wine region close to the capital Budapest where we tasted different types of wines!

Wine making in Hungary goes back to ancient times of Romans and Celtes and has seen its own ups and downs over the centuries. But not many know that today Hungary is Europe’s 7th biggest wine-producing country that produces more wine than well-known winemaking countries like Austria, New Zealand, and Greece.

Having stumbled upon this fact, we decided to make a day trip during our recent vacation in Budapest, Hungary and the obvious recommended choice was Eger, the popular wine country home to the Bull’s Blood (Bikavér) blend.

A 2-hours comfortable train ride from Keleti main train station at Budapest takes you through quaint little villages embedded in the undulating volcanic terrain of the Eger region. As we got down at Eger Vasutallomas station, the distinct dry and cool weather embraced us. Soon we got it into a waiting taxi and headed to Bolyki Pincészet Vineyards which has been highly recommended by several wine experts.

Set in a high plateau on the outskirts, the Bolyki vineyard is cut into huge rock on a hillside and is family-owned, passed on to generations. We were welcomed by a young host… who spoke good English and served us with a glass of wine to begin our wine tasting. Holding the glass, we followed her on a tour when she explained the history of the family-owned winery, the cellars and the bottling plant.

We were told that the reasons for the unique and distinct taste of Eger’s wines are the volcanic soil, the cool and crispy climate, and the combination of local and international grape varieties grown over centuries. Bolyki makes both red and white varieties.

We tasted five different wines and definitely the Bulls Blood blend (Bikavér) was the best with its full-bodied spicy and fruity taste. We bought one too!  Had a platter of cheeses and native (rye?) bread at the cozy and cool outdoors of the vineyard.

Bumped into the owner of the winery Mr Janos Bolyki- a nice, unassuming gentleman with whom we had a nice conversation about his visits to our current living place, Dubai and his interesting episode with an ex-Maharaja from our native country, India.

Later we visited the Valley of the Beautiful Women in the town. It was an odd time for people to gather for a wine so it was a bit deserted. We walked through the line of wine-showrooms/mini cellars quirkily carved into a hillside. As mentioned in the forum, the place is very touristy but may be worth going late evening when, I guess, it’ll be lively.

Back to the town and after a quick tour of the Eger Castle we got back to the station to catch the evening train.

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