Monday, October 12, 2009

The Wine Bar by Bazilika in Budapest, Hungary

Picture: The Wine bar by Bazilika

When people think about Hungarian wines, they often think about Tokay wines with 3 puttons or more. This are sweet wines made like sweet German Spaetlese, Auslese or Beerenauslese, taking advantage of the mist in the Tokay region that helps creating the famous noble rot.

But not all wines from the Tokay region are sweet. Just as most of German wines are not sweet. Tokay can also be dry and fresh and an easy to drink summer wine. In fact, when I spent a week in Budapest earlier this year, I came across several times a dry Tokayer, with a distinctive note of oxidation. Initially, I thought the wine was faulty. But then I learned that some wine makers in the Tokay region still use a vinification method whereby the wine is exposed to air during fermentation , as the Sherry from Spain, and adopts a distinctive style. This style is clearly not appreciated on the international market, but I found it interesting to experience this taste in Budapest.

While the Tokay region Hungary’s is best known wine, there are a a total of 14 wine regions in Hungary. A good place to get an overview of Hungarian wines in Budapest is “The Wine bar by Bazilika”. Here, they sell a wide range of Hungarian wines by the bottle to go and to consume at the premise as well as many wines by the glass. The staff speaks English and they serve cheese and charcutterie snacks. The cheese, to my disappointment, was all French cheese.

I focused on the wines of Joseph Bock from the Villany region in the South. This is arguably the best wine region of Hungary. Joseph Bock has German roots and has become one of the top winemakers of Hungary. His reds were all thick and high in alcohol, full, heavy wines and not cheap.

The wine bar also hosts wine tastings and other events from time to time.

Budapest is composed of two cities: Buda and Pest, divided by the river Danube.

Buda is hilly, made of rock and trees, with small houses, small pedestrian streets and some antiquities (Matthias’ Cathedral and Royal Palace). This area is very nice, but quite empty when the sun goes down. Buda is nice to visit, but not a good place to stay/sleep.

Pest is flat, lively, vivacious, with a pulsating urban life full of shops and historical cafés. It also houses the city’s major public buildings: the Saint Steven’s Basilica, the Opera House, the Parliament and the Great Market Hall. This is the best place to stay. In Pest there are 2 main areas: Vaci utca and the Opera district. Vaci Utca is the most famous pedestrian street of Pest, full of shops and restaurant. This area is very nice during the day, but a little bit empty when shops close.

1051 Budapest, Hercepprimas u.8.


  1. Excellent article and I can also share the comments regarding how good Hungarian wine is. I had the fortune to spend 2 weeks in Budapest on July 2007 and my girlfriend and I discovered this great Wine Bar, when we were passing by a band was playing soft jazz and that attracted us. We tried a couple wines, a Merlot by József 2007 EXCELLENT one of the best wines I have ever tried. We also had a Bulls Blood type..EGRI Bikáver outstanding. On my next year visit to Hungary I will definetely plan on wine tasting at the wine cellars, any recommendations?

  2. Alfredo,

    No, I do not have any recommendations, but if you discover any good places, let us know.



  3. DR. Christan:

    I´d like u could recommend me where I could to get a good set of wine glass from Hungary, because my girl friend lives there and I wnat to send it to her home as I new year present.

    Dr. Eduardo Calderón

  4. My e-mail is

    Dr. Eduardo Calderón

  5. @Christian: great post. Good to see that you n-joyed Hungary and its wonderful wines. In case you visit again: try september for the Wine Festival in the Castle. The whole area around the Royal Palace is filled with approx. 200 wine booths with wine producers. Great way to discover ALL of Hungary in 4 days ;-)
    @Eduardo: Areas to visit are for example Eger, which can be done in a day from Budapest and Balaton area (probably need a bit more time)
    In case you want to order try (website in English). Buy online and let them deliver at home.