Monday, November 11, 2019

Discover Hungarian Wine: A New Kickstarter

"The glory of Hungary in her natural world, its choicest and most bountiful product, are the varieties of grapes. They cover the whole land, and the lowest Bauer has his vineyard. And in no country of Europe are such pure delicious wines made as there. There is scarcely any wine of note in Europe but that is drugged, or considerably strengthened by alcohol. This is unknown in Hungary, and even the best Tokay--the most rare and costly wine in the country--is a pure juice of the grape."
--Wilmington Journal (NC), November 28, 1851

During my visit to Croatia, I participated in several #Winelover events, getting to meet wine lovers, writers, and educators from all across the world. I made new friends, tasted some great wines, and had lots of fun. While there, I met Charine Tan and Matthew Horkey of Exotic Wine Travel, a "platform that promotes lesser-known wine regions." I found them to be personable and knowledgeable, and it was a real pleasure to meet them. 

Since 2015, they have been traveling the world, visiting numerous wine regions, sampling thousands of wines. They have written and published four books, including Cracking Croatian Wine, Sipping Santa Barbara, Uncorking the Caucasus, and Travel Learn Earn. I've read and enjoyed their Cracking Croatian Wine, finding it a valuable resource. 

"Owing to the persevering exertions of the association formed at Presburgh since 1824, with a view to improving and extending the cultivation of the wine in Hungary, that branch of industry has spread all over forty-six out of the fifty-two districts composing the kingdom, and the annual production of wine, which, at the period the association was formed, was of about 20,000,000 of eymers (the emmer contains about 22 bottles of the Bordeaux size), amounts at present to the enormous quantity of 30,000,000 of eymers, which may be valued at an average of two florins the eymer. Almost the whole of this wine is consumed in the Austrian dominions, for the heavy duties imposed upon it in foreign countries prevents any but the most precious qualities from being exported, the quantity of which is very limited."
--The Morning Post (London), October 4, 1839

Charine and Matthew are preparing to write their fifth book, Discover Hungarian Wine: A Visitor-Friendly Guide, and it has recently been launched on Kickstarter. The book should include:
--An introduction to Hungary’s six wine regions and 22 wine districts – including their history, climatic conditions, geographical features, key wine grapes, and styles.
--A guide to understanding and interpreting Hungarian wine labels.
--Pronunciation guide
--Wine recommendations, complete with tasting notes and some food-pairing suggestions.
--A list of recommended places to purchase Hungarian wines.
--Additional insights from wine personalities such as Master of Wine Elizabeth Gabay, Hungarian wine writer Dániel Ercsey, and more.

"It is a pity that the Hungarian wines have been hitherto so little appreciated in England. Much of the 'Oedenburger' is superior to Burgundy. It is not necessary to name Tokay, but there are many other sorts of wine, such as Ruster, Erlaner, Meneser, Aussbruch, &c., which are almost unknown in the English market, although remarkably well worth attention, from their low price and fine flavour."
--Daily News (London), March 4, 1852

Charine and Matthew have said that, “The main objective is to offer practical information that help visitors to learn about Hungarian wine, shop for Hungarian wine, enjoy Hungarian wine, and most of all, feel empowered to explore Hungarian wine.

They have also stated, "With nearly 65,000 hectares of vines, around 40 indigenous grape varieties, a myriad of distinctive wine styles including the historically significant Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) blend, and some of the world’s oldest classified vineyards such as Tokaji, Hungary has no shortage of wines that will bound to enthrall wine drinkers."

"Of the many other kinds of Wine in Hungary, the most celebrated are the Mesner, considered nearly equal to the Tokay, the Erlay red wine, the Ofen and Samlau, with several other wines on the right bank of the Danube. There is a 'Champagne' made here too, though not equal to the French it is said."
--Wilmington Journal (NC), November 28, 1851

With a pledge goal of $44,138, they have already garnered 57 backers, pledging a total of $1,843, so they obviously still need many more backers, though the campaign will go on for another 24 days. For a pledge of only about $26 US, you will receive a Special Edition, Signed Copy of their new book, and your name will be printed in the Acknowledgements. You can pledge at higher levels for multiple copies of this book, at a discount. There are also high-end pledge levels for greater rewards, including  dinner and tours with Charine and Matthew. Check out all the pledge levels to determine what might be best for you.

"The Emperor of Austria, it is said, offered 14,300 barrels of Hungarian wine for the relief of the French sick."
--The Morning Post (London), January 9, 1807

Their Kickstarter page also has much more information about Hungary and why their wines are exciting and compelling. I've pledged for their Kickstarter and recommend that you do as well. If you check out the newspaper quotes in this post, only a small selection of the articles I've found, I think you'll also find some intriguing information about Hungarian wines, especially showing how Hungary is not just about Tokay. I've only tasted a few Hungarian wines, but definitely would like to sample more, and learn all about this historic country.

"Not merely are Hungarian wines said to be 'drier than French wines, more mellow than those of the Rhine, and more piquant than those of Spain,'..."
--Richmond Dispatch (VA), August 29, 1860

If you're a curious and adventurous wine lover, then I expect you feel the same, and want to learn more about regions such as Hungary. So why not support Charine and Matthew, and let them tell you the story of Hungarian wine.

"Some Hungarian wine was lately opened in Pesth, on which the experiment had been tried of giving it a sea voyage of seven years. The flavour is said to be very fine, and very much to resemble Madeira."
--Daily News (London), March 4, 1852

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