Egri Bikavér is THE red blend produced in Eger.
It is the true essence of the red wines of Eger, a terroir wine, which carries the flavour of the soils of local production sites, the mezzo-climate unique to the region and the traditions and mores of local residents, from the selection of grape varieties to choosing the time and method of processing and maturing.
The exact date of the emergence of Egri Bikavér is shrouded in mystery.
One thing is certain; the word Bikavér (Bull’s Blood) was recorded as early as the beginning of the 19th century.
Under the name Bikavér, full-bodied red wines were sold, not only in Eger
and Szekszárd but other places as well. Unlike today, there were no regulations governing use of the name
Today`s Egri Bikavér is a different beast from that which went before, in its current form it is associated with the name of Grőber Jenő, the noted Eger vigneron.
Grőber is said to have been the winemaker who first blended what we call Bull`s Blood today.
Sugár István (1981), the Eger historian, writes: “I have searched different sources for the composition of grape types constituting bull’s blood. The earliest record dates back to 1912, when, in addition to kadarka, I have found blue frank, cabernet and merlot”.
Contemporary winemakers have been refining the conditions of production, classification and control of this wine for the past two decades.
The result of this activity is that in 1997 Egri Bikavér became the first quality wine in Hungary`s history to have a protected designation of origin conferred on it.
At present, Egri Bikavér is produced to one of 3 levels of quality: classicus, superior and grand superior.
The product description contains directives defining yield restriction and aging, as well as the marketing and trading of the wines, for the different tiers.
Egri Bikavér is a Blue Franc-based dry red wine blend (Cuvée), ranging from garnet red to deep ruby, with flavours and aromas presenting rich, spicy and fruity characteristics, without a tannin accent.
Aging and fresh fruit aromas are both characteristic of the wine; its complexity is illustrated by the fact that the characteristic feature of the wine is that no single grape type can dominate it .
Due to the riper, more concentrated grape produce, as well as the extended aging in barrels and bottles, Superior and Grand Superior wines have marked aromas of mellowing, lasting flavours, full body and a long shelf-life with minerality and ideas in harmony with the production areas (sites).
The difference between them is usually manifested in the fullness and duration of the aroma.
Classicus wines: it is obligatory to make the blend from at least three grape types; their percentage must exceed 5% respectively, and no variety may exceed 50%; the use of Blue Franc is obligatory, and this variety must be blended in the highest percentage to make the wine; the percentage of Turan and Bíborkadarka must not exceed 10% either combined or respectively.
Superior and Grand Superior wines: it is obligatory to make the blend from at least three grape types; their percentage must exceed 5% respectively; with the exception of Blue Franc (which can be as high as 50%), no variety may exceed 30%; Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon must not represent more than 30% of the blend either respectively or combined; and the blend must not contain more than 5% Turan.