A memorable visit to Villány in Hungary

Two years ago we visited our former Jakarta neighbours, Tibor Vidos and Andrea Domjan and their family in Budapest. They were extraordinarily good hosts and took us around their beautiful country.

One of the day trips had as destination a wine region near the Croatian border. Villány (or Wieland in German, Vilanj in Serbian and Croatian) is a small town in Baranya county, famous for its wines. Villány is also the name of the region (for more information visit www.borut.hu in English and www.villany.hu in German and Hungarian). The wine route of the same name was established in 1994 and it was the first of its kind in Hungary.

Before the fall of the iron curtain Hungary produced mainly cheap wines for the Soviet market. That changed with the end of authoritarian one-party rule and the advent of democracy. In the Villány wine region the joint effort of eigth settlements and its vignerons, vintners and wine-makers has born rich and abundant harvest. Some of the inhabitants are of German origin and one finds German names all over the place. Today the region produces excellent wines and many of them have won international acclaim and multiple awards.

Its a while that I wanted to write about this visit but I had forgotten where I stored the pictures and because of the complicated Hungarian language I had also forgotten the names of the places we were taken to. While rearranging my PC I found some wonderful shots and was able to put together the pieces or at least some of them.

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Margit and Tibor at the Polgár Pincészet cellar door.

From the menu on the table which I enlarged on my computer I could identify the name of the place were we drank wine and after some research on the net I found the winery and restaurant and everything fell into place. Unfortunately, I do not master Hungarian but the webpage of Polgár is entirely in this very difficult European language (www.polgarpince.hu). However, I know one thing: their wines were outstanding and I highly recommend to visit the place.

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The region is very picturesque, though flat, and intensively used by mixed agriculture.

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On some of the houses one finds nests of white storks a reminder of bygone times.

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This is the picture from which I identified the village and the region. My daugthers Lucy and Charlotte in front of the gate of a winery. Some of the script on the sign advertising it is even in German.

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Margit and I sampling the excellent wines of Polgár.

At the Polgár Pincészet restaurant cum cellar door the waitress even spoke German which somehow made the place even more familiar. We did not have sufficient time to visit any other winery becaused we had to return the very day to Budapest. So poor Tibor could not enjoy any of the wines, he was the driver. Unfortunately, i had not taken any tasting notes and even do not remember which wines we tasted. I guess the white was a Riesling or Rizling as it is written in Hungarian and the red must have been a merlot because as Merlot producers we are keen on tasting any other Merlot we can lay our hands on.

We took only six bottles with us (and we should have taken more). Half of them we left with Tibor in Budapest as a thank you for the wonderful experience but than drank some of them together at the last evening. The other three we took with us to Berlin, the next stop of our European trip in summer 2005, where we drank them with my friends Ulrike, Rodrigo, Ulrich and Elfriede. Away from their land of origin the wines tasted even finer and more delicate. unfortunately, I do not remember which wines we drank, I only know that we had a white, a rose and a red wine, all from Polgár Pincészet.

This is my last blorg entry before leaving for Australia. If you should happen to visit Hungary on Christmas or any other time, please include this lovely little wine region into your travel plans. I can only urge you to also visiting Polgár, a winery and a degustative experience you should under any circumstances not miss.

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