Hungarian reds at a crossroads

Zoli Heimann's clay eggs getting painted by a local artist

Hungary's red wines have one foot in the past and the other firmly in the future. See also last week's article on Hungary's white grapes.

During my trip to Hungary in 2019 and then on every occasion I've had since then to taste Hungarian reds, I've found the experience a bit of a game of two halves. Broadly speaking, traditional old-school Hungarian reds seem to either be slightly sweet, industrial-tasting plonk, or magnificently oaked, high-alcohol, bordeaux-ambitious extracts of Brobdingnagian proportions. I find both styles difficult to drink.

On the other hand, I have found reds of extraordinary freshness, elegance...