On the sunny slopes of the largest central European lake excellent wines thrive, which enjoy an international popularity. The biggest wine-producing region of Hungary is located on the hilly north shore of Lake Balaton. The vineyard on the lakeshore has a long and eventful history. Even the Romans planted vineyards on the slopes of the extinct Badacsony volcano. Later, the tradition proceeded to the monasteries, revived and expanded.
On Lake Balaton white wines are mainly produced. The most famous variety is the golden-bodied and rich Badacsony Szürkebarát, roughly comparable with the varieties Ruländer and Pinot Gris. In Europe, demand is high for also very dry Badacsonyi Kéknyelie. Other varieties are Badacsonyi Zöldzzilváni and aromatic and soft Mueller-Thurgau. In the area around Balatonfüred there are particularly small vintner companies, which produce different varieties of Silvaner and Pinot Blanc. Winemakers at Lake Balaton are sparkling with Balatonfüredi Rizling and Csopaki Rizling tasty wines. White wines are especially great with hearty and rich Hungarian cuisine.
Wines at Lake Balaton are also produced in the eastern part of the lake shore. In the small wine-growing region of Balatonakali wines are produced from Muscat grape-Ottonel. The flat terrain, with its red sandstone soil creates excellent possibilities for making perfect Riesling. Especially imporatny for the wine production at Lake Balaton is the Tihany Peninsula, famous for its red wine – Cabernet Franc.
There are some newer wine-growing regions on the south shore of Lake Balaton, around the picturesque Zamáradi and Balatonboglár. On the sandy soils of this vineyard area Sémillion Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir are produced. A State Winery is located in Balatonboglar. A modern storage allows the wine to meet international quality requirements.
Particularly interesting is a journey into a house or an apartment for wine lovers in the months of August and September. Vineyards at Lake Balaton in this period experience their annual peak with numerous sorts of wine. Colorful parades of winemakers in the region representing their craft take place annually. Of course there is also the possibility of fine wines tasting.
Photo: roblisameehan (under public license)