Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Eger, much-disputed town in north-east hungary whose wines have been exported with success since the 13th century, although various Turkish incursions interrupted this trade. Eger’s most famous siege was during the Ottoman occupation of the 16th century when, according to legend, the defenders of Eger were so dramatically fortified by a red liquid which stained their beards and armour that the Turks retreated, believing their opponents to have drunk bikavér, or Bull’s Blood.

The town gives its name to a pdo on the foothills of the volcanic Bükk Mountains where rainfall is low and spring tends to come late. This is one of Hungary’s cooler wine-producing areas, and therefore the wines have good aromas and acidity. The geological makeup is diverse, with calcareous sections alternating with patches of loess, alluvial soils, and extensive volcanic rocks, especially tuff. The southern slope of the Nagy Eged Hill, reclaimed from woods and shrubs, is one of the three most valuable vineyard sites in Hungary. The topsoil here is not volcanic. Pajdos, Síkhegy, and Grőber are all very distinctive sites, too.