Xpat Opinion: 5 Favorite Wine Bars in Budapest

  • 5 Jul 2012 10:40 AM
Xpat Opinion: 5 Favorite Wine Bars in Budapest
For a country which boasts centuries of wine tradition, Hungary does not have so much of a wine-bar culture. But I have identified five places in Budapest, which are very much fun to go and have a glass of Hungarian wine, writes Dr. Christian G.E. Schiller. Read on for his opinion about Doblo, Drop Shop, DiVino, Klassz, and Bock.

Doblo Wine Bar

Doblo is located in the middle of Budapest’s Jewish quarter. The interior design is appealing and intimate: the small brick cellar on the ground level has been kept as it was with some tasteful additions such as new-old style furniture. Doblo occasionally hosts exhibitions.

Doblo clearly focuses on Hungarian wine. It offers 70 to 80 Hungarian wines by the glass and 200 Hungarian wines by the bottle. These include winemakers like Kvassay - Villány, Janus - Villány, Tokaj Nobilis - Tokaj, Cezar - Pécs, Pálffy - Köveskál, Oszvald - Somló, Spiegelberg - Somló, Rai Vini - Eger, Eszterbauer - Szekszárd, Merfelsz - Szekszárd, Szeleshát - Szekszárd, Andrássy – Tokaj, Bezerics-Zala, Báró Harruckern - Gyulai pálinka and Katona Wine House – Balatonboglár.

Doblo is also a wine-shop; you can buy all wines to go.

When I went to Doblo Wine Bar, I did not really focus on the food, but I remember that I had a very nice plate with cheese and charcuterie.

Doblo Wine Bar
Dob utca 20 | Central Pest | +36203988863
Tue – Wed 17:00 – 01:00, Thu – Sun 17:00 – 03:00

Drop Shop Wine Bar Budapest

Drop Shop is a wine bar cum wine store. It has a little bar counter with perhaps 8 chairs, 6 tables inside and a side walk terrace (in the summer) with another 6 tables. Service was excellent.

Drop Shop serves wine by the bottle, the glass and to go. Drop Shop features over 60 wines by the glass that change every month. The wines by the glass are displayed on a blackboard behind the bar counter.

What distinguishes Drop Shop from other wine bars in Budapest which I like very much, such as the new DiVino near the Basilica and Doblo Wine Bar in the Jewish Quarter, is that Drop Shop not only carries a good selection of Hungarian wines, but also wines from other countries. For example, from Germany, Drop Shop was offering a Robert Weil Riesling by the glass when we were there. There is a good selection of Hungarian wines including lesser known and upcoming producers from various regions.

Drop Shop serves charcuterie and cheese plates. They also make very good Panini sandwiches.

Drop Shop Wine Bar
Mon – Fri: 9:00 am – 12:00 am
Sat – Sun: 11:00 am – 12:00 am
V. Balassi Bálint utca 27
Tel: 06 30 345 3739
E-mail: bar@dropshop.hu
Website: www.dropshop.hu

DiVino Wine Bar

DiVino, right next to the Basilica is the latest addition to the small, but growing wine bar scene in Budapest. DiVino only serves wines of Junibor, the association of young Hungarian winemakers, by the glass and bottle, as well as to go. DiVino does not serve any imported wines.

DiVino is a modern, trendy and young place. The design is minimalist. I have not eaten there, but I heard that the Hamburger was a must-try and that the food in general was very good.

Klassz Restaurant

This cozy restaurant near the Opera House on Andrássy Street is not only a good place to eat, but also to have a glass of wine or buy a bottle of wine to go. The restaurant, wine store and bar does not stop for a second - waiters are fast, kind and helpful while choosing the wine. The wine store is at the back of the restaurant.

VI. Andrássy út 41

Bock Bisztro

Bock Bisztro is one of the best restaurants in Budapest. It is located in the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal. Bock Bisztro is also a wine shop, where you can buy Jozsef Bock and other Hungarian wines. There are only tables to sit down – no bar or lounge area – at Bock Bisztro and I am not sure if you can have just a glass of wine there in the evening. We came late in the evening and sat down for a small cheese plate with a glass of wine, to finish the evening - after dinner at Klassz Bistro at 41 Andrassy utca.

The wine list of Bock Bisztro is impressive. Bock Bisztro serves about 60 Hungarian wines by the glass, of which 15 Bock wines, 15 wines from Tokaji and 30 wines from other Hungarian producers.

What I could see from the menu and what was served at other tables is that the food at Bock Bisztro is rather sophisticated. Chef Lajos Bíró is in command, who is apparently internationally well connected. There were many wall pictures of Chef Lajos Biro with Chef Michel Richard, who I know from Washington DC, and Chef Eckehard Witzigmann, the Paul Bocuse of Germany.

Bock Bisztro
Erzsébet körút 43-49. 1073, (within the Corinthia Grand Hotel Royal) district VII. , tram 4,6 Király utca
Tel: (+36 1) 321 0340
Open: Mon-sat: 12.00-24.00

Background About Wine In Hungary

Wine was introduced to Hungary by the Romans. During the Turkish occupation beginning in the early 16th century, displaced Serbs brought the red Kadarka grape to Eger, which was the basis for the red wine blend that later became known as Bull's Blood. It was also during the Turkish occupation that the Tokaji region became known for dessert wines, harvested late to encourage noble rot.

After the Ottoman Empire ceded Hungary to the Austrians in 1699, the Germanic influence was felt with the introduction of grape varieties such as Blauer Portugieser. Under Communism, quality was neglected in favor of overcropping and industrial production. Since 1989, when the Berlin wall came down, there has been an impressive rebound.

Hungary’s Wine Regions

Hungary has 22 designated wine regions, in all 4 corners of the country. Some people consider the red wines from Szekszárd and Villány in southern Hungary, where the Heumann wines come from, to be the cream of the crop. Around Lake Balaton, you will find the Balatonfelvidék, Balatonfüred-Csopak, Balatonboglár, and Badacsony regions. Further to the North, the Somló hills and Sopron region also offer fine wine. I have reported about the wines of Franz Reinhard Weninger in Balf here.

The vineyards of the Tokaji region were classified long before Bordeaux, already in the 1700s, with vineyards grouped into 3 categories depending on the soil, sun exposure and potential to develop noble rot. Noble-sweet Tokaji has been Hungary’s crowning glory for hundreds of years. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, noble-sweet Tokaji was a cherished wine enjoyed by the European Courts. Winemakers in Tokaji are struggling now to adjust to new market conditions.

Published on XpatLoop.com with permission from the source: schiller-wine.blogspot.hu

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