I fell in love with Budapest from the moment Alex and I arrived in November of 2011; the wide architectural streets, the parks with their fall colors, the baths and the proud castle of Buda rising above the Danube. Budapest just has a class and elegance that I love. One of my favorite places that Alex and I discovered was a wine bar called Faust. Faust is located in Buda and it is near Matthais Church underneath the Hilton Hotel. Yes, I said underneath. It is not associated with the Hilton but you do have to reach it through the Hilton and then descend underneath the hotel to the network of caves that make up much of the hills of Buda.
Faust specializes in Hungarian wines and palinka or Hungarian spirits. You can either do a wine tasting or have a traditional Hungarian meal paired with Hungarian wines. When Alex and I first went we went just for a wine tasting. The wine cellar is small and only has room for about four or five tables so I would highly recommend making reservations. Alex and I are generally bad at that though, so we just waltzed right in but luckily when we arrived the owners, Barbara and Gabor, were able to accommodate us.
We were given a list of the flights they were tasting that day along with a map of the wine regions of Hungary. That day they had two tasting options, one with 8 wines and one with 5 wines and they both included a taste of Palinka and traditional savory scones with cheese called pogacsa. Before that day I had never had Hungarian wine and I quickly fell in love. Alex and I opted for the tasting of 8 wines, thinking that we would not make it back (but then we learned they offered a wine pairing with a Hungarian dinner, so we did that as well). We started out with a Pinot Gris, a dry white wine from Borbely Winery which is located southwest of Budapest. Then we tried the famous Tokaji wine called John’s Bless from Bene Winery. This was my favorite white that we tried. We also tried a chardonnay and a dry Pinot Noir Rose. Rose is definitely underrated and if it had been summer I probably would have purchased a bottle.
After 4 whites we moved onto the reds. We tried 3 dry reds, which in my humble amateur opinion are the best kinds of reds. The first red we had was called Soproni Kekfrankos, Blaufrankisch from Raspi Winery. Blaufrankisch is a type of grape that grows in Hungary along the border with Austria. It produces a late ripening grape and results in a spicy flavored wine and I love me some spicy wines. The second wine we had was called Bull’s Blood, so obviously it was good. Bull’s Blood is a typical Hungarian red blend which comes from the northern region of Hungary. The third red we had was called the Castle Defender which was another big dry red wine. The final wine we had was the Fat Grape, a Takaji Koverszolo wine, and it was a sweet white wine. It was a perfect finish to the wine tasting experience.
Not only were the wines absolutely amazing and a complete surprise (and now causes me to hunt out Hungarian wine whenever I can) but the staff of Faust were the nicest people. We were not only able to learn all about Hungarian wines and Palinka but they also invited us back to learn more about Hungarian food and wine pairings. Barbara and Gabor were the nicest people and we were so glad to be able to talk to them and learn more/anything about Hungarian wines. Because of them, Alex and I will probably end up taking a nice little drive through Hungary and go wine tasting as much as possible next time we end up there.
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