Today we are going to talk about a bull’s Blood from one of the coldest regions in Hungary, Eger!

Bikavér or Bull’s Blood in English, is a blend that is only allowed to be made in two Hungarian wine regions; Eger and Szekszárd. Both regions have their differences and influences on the wine but we will not talk about that today!

This one hails from Eger, a wine region in the North-East of Hungary. It’s generally known for its cool climate due to the cold air coming in from the north but lucky enough it gets nicely protected by a small mountain called Bükk (it’s about 950 meters).

St. Andrea is one of my all time favorite wine cellars and is also one of the oldest in Hungary. It is one of the wineries I tell every new Hungarian wine enthusiast to visit. Not only the wines are superb but the kindness and explanations you get are a blessing.

Hangács is the name of the Vineyard, they have about 17 hectares and its located in a small village called Demjén. It’s about 220 meters at it’s highest point and most of it is facing south. There is a small layer of clay in the soil. St. Andrea has a variety of grapes grown in the Hangács vineyards; Kékfrankos, Kadarka; Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Turán, Hárslevelű, Leányka, Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon blanc.

Bikavér is a red cuvée (blend) that can only be made out of specific grapes. The regulations change regularly and this is the latest I know. Hangács is a Grand Superior Bikavér which to my knowledge is not yet an official category (this could have changed!). However the superior category of Bikavér is, and these are its regulations:

  • Maximum yield of 60hl/ha
  •  Must contain at least five varieties of which 30-50% must be Kékfrankos. The other proportions can not be under 5% and not above 30% with the exception for Turán and Biborkadarka which can not exceed above 5% together or alone.

There are 13 grape varieties that are recommended in bikavér :

  • Bíborkadarka*
  • Blauburger (Portugieser x Kékfrankos)
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Kadarka
  • Kékfrankos
  • Kékportó (Portugieser)
  • menoire (kékmedoc or Medoc Noir)
  • Merlot
  • Pinot Noir
  • Syrah
  • Turán
  • Zweigelt

Hangács 2015 is made out of; 30% Kékfrankos, 28% Cabernet Franc, 18% merlot, 14 Pinot Noir and 10% Kadarka. The harvest was done between 18 September and 23 October, it was aged in oak barrels for 19 months and bottled in the beginning of July 2017. The climate was rather continental with cold winter and hot summer.

The bottles optimal consumption would have been two to ten years after bottling so July 2019 but due to a series of  unfortunate events this one ended open (One of the selected bottles with the food was corked, so I grabbed the first Hangács I saw not looking at the vintage till it was too late!). On the positive side this wine is very enjoyable already and will get even better with time (like every Hangács I’ve tasted so far).

Tasting notes

The wine has a nice purple color. A nice and medium + intensive nose with very nice notes of red fruit like red cherry and raspberries. There is some vanilla with little hints of tobacco and cloves.

The wine is very juicy with a nice but slightly higher acidity and the tannins are still not in place which I think will come with time. You can also find back the fruitiness with red cherries being quite dominant.

The wine is drinkable now and definitely has potential to age, as the winemaker also said.

The bottle costs about 5500 Hungarian forints which is just under 20 euros.

My score for this wine is: 89 points