Although I have only occasionally taken part to Wine Blogging Wednesdays, as soon as Pim announced the theme of the 5th WBW edition I knew I had to join in: how can you say no to Wacky-name wines? I've always enjoyed wine makers who can break away from the usual nomenclature, which, while clearly useful, can be a bit boring. Seen from my viewpoint, US winemakers seem to be more open to this. Europe is rather immune except for the involuntary comicality of some names. I would have loved to taste Bartolo Mascarello's political statement wine, his "No barrique, no Berlusconi" Barolo, Berlusconi being Italy's center right prime minister (and media mogul on top of that). Not wacky may, be but an unusual and brave name. I always appreciate strong statements as this one. Lacking that I would have settled for another wine from the noble Nebbiolo grapes, Inferno from Valtellina in Lombardy. Again, not a wine name, rather a denomination: wonder if is the drink of choice of satanists. How could they resist drinking Hell?
Luck was definitely not by my side this time: having visited every wine shop in this town for a wacky named wine I had to pick the only possible candidate, a Hungarian wine coming from a wacky named denomination: Bikaver, Bull's blood. According to the legend the wine, coming traditionally from the city of Eger, gained his name from the events leading to the victory of the Magyars over the Turks who had put the town under siege in the 17th century. The Magyars won strengthened by their copious consumption of the local wine, which lead the Turks to believe their opponents had actually drank bull's blood. The wine used to be one of the glories of Hungarian wines but its quality today, according to different wine sources, is usually not up to its legend though a few producers are trying to change this. The wine itself is a blend of two Hungarian grapes Kekfrankos and Kekportos plus Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
The bottle I bought, a 2000 Szekszardi Bikaver, was produced by Vesztergombi, or at least I think so, since the writing on the bottle is totally in Hungarian, and came 12 € . The wine turned out to be an interesting red, though id did seem to follow the international style of deep colored fruity wines. The nose, just ever so slightly covered by a corked note, seemed to show a strong percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend with the typical cassis and green pepper notes in evidence. The mouthfeel, though balanced, was somewhat lightweight, certainly not what a powerful name such as bull's blood would have you expect. Not a bad wine, but for that price there's plenty of better bottles around. And I wackier ones too!