Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Kadarka, eastern European late ripening red wine grape of uncertain origin. As Gamza, it is most widely planted in Bulgaria where it is considered indigenous. Some Albanians stake a claim to it, called Kallmet there. And it is also said to be native to western Romania where it is known as Cadarča. bulgaria’s 3,000 ha/7,500 acres of Gamza are planted mainly in the north, where it can produce wines of interest from long growing seasons if yields are restricted. In Hungary the variety grew on a total of only just over 500 ha/1,250 acres and has been substantially replaced by the viticulturally sturdier kékfrankos, and by portugieser in Villány. It is still cultivated on the Great Plain and in the Szekszárd wine region just across the Danube to the west but its tendency to grey rot and its habit of ripening riskily late limit it to certain favoured sites. The vine is also naturally highly productive and needs careful control in order to produce truly concentrated wines, ideally trained as bush vines. Fully ripened Szekszárdi Kadarka can be a fine, soft, full-bodied wine worthy of ageing but is produced in minuscule quantities. Kadarka is too often over-produced and picked when still low in colour and flavour.