There are times that when you read an article, you get infatuated with it. The Hungarian wine, Tokay, was one such instance several years ago. Now here is another: Bull’s Blood wine. Interesting enough that we ordered some. Not expensive as wines go, about $21.99 per bottle. But what is most interesting is the history of the wine. Here is an article directly from the Bull’s Blood Wine web site (yes, there is such a page!). Enjoy!
The History of Bull’s Blood Wine
Bull’s Blood wine enjoys one of the richest traditions in all of wine making. The story begins in the small Town of Eger, Hungary. The town of Eger is noted in history for withstanding a heavy siege by the Turks in 1552 – when legends became rife about Bull’s Blood.
Whereas the castle, whose construction began in the l3th century, established Eger’s reputation, the town only achieved lasting fame when 2,000 soldiers led by Captain Istvan Dobo withstood a month-long siege to successfully defend the strategically vital fortress from the onslaught of 150,000 Turkish troops. In fact, by thwarting the Ottomans advance Dobo and his men completely halted the Empire’s invasion of Western Europe. During the siege, the citizens of Eger opened their wine cellars and drank red wine to give them strength to fight off the Turks. The wine spilled over their beards and onto their armor, coloring them blood red. As the citizens continued their valiant fight against the invading Turks, word spread quickly that the Hungarians were drinking the blood of bulls to make themselves strong and fierce. The superstitious Turks were fearful and demoralized. As a result, the siege was broken.
It was only in the mid 18th century that “Bikavér” (the Hungarian term for Bulls Blood) became popularised as a medicine to strengthen the stomach. Its name appeared in literature only in 1851. The pre-18th century recipe is known to have included Fekete Frankos, Fekete Juhfark, Budai Nagyfürtü, Ingaly and Kadarka (there were 8 different type of it then). In the 19th century up till the 1970s it would contain Kadarka, Kékfrankos, Kékoportó, the Cabernets, and Medoc Noir (Medina).
The communist era put an emphasis on quantity resulting in the Kadarka grape being discarded as it was a difficult to grow. It was especially in 1979 when the state established the Bulls Blood project which controlled the varietal planting scheme to give a better color. This project also made the name exclusive to Eger although Szekszárd had produced Bikavér for generations.
Today, Eger, the beautiful baroque city on the southern mountainside of Hungary’s Beech Mountains is famous for its historical buildings and for producing some of Hungary’s finest wines. It is here that you’ll find wine makers that still follow centuries-old traditions in honor of the Turkish siege. New investment and renewed enthusiasm for quality is now bringing the Hungarian wine industry slowly but surely back into the international spotlight.
Bull’s Blood is not a complex, expensive wine – but it is fun to drink. Open Bulls Blood one hour before serving; serve at 60-64 degrees Fahrenheit. Bulls Blood is an outstanding wine for spicy game, roasts, steaks, and other beef dishes.
And then from the K & L Wine Merchants site, I found this information (We ordered three bottles!):
2008 Eszterbauer “Tüke” Szekszárdi Bikavér (Bull’s Blood)
Made from 26% Kékfrankos, 24% Kadarka, 22% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Pinot Noir & 8% Cabernet Franc. Eszterbauer’s “Tüke” Bikavér is a fine example of a modern, well-made ‘Bullsblood’. Typical for a Bikavér from Szekszard there is a fair amount of Kekfrankos and Kadarka in the cuvee. Each varital and parcel is vinified separately and then blended just before bottling. Perfumed, spicy and deep, yet easy to drink with only 14% Alcohol this wine pairs well with BBQ meats, burgers, and spaghetti Bolognese.
After I ran the Spell Check on this, I got all kinds of results. Hope you enjoyed the information. When the wine comes in, we will let you how we liked it …. Or not. Cheers!