first trip, we decided to explore the hilly Buda side of the Danube.
Caving Under Budapest
Wine Tasting Beneath Budapest
The cellar offers a wide selection of Hungarian wines from the country's best wine growing regions as well as traditional fruit brandies called pálinka.
Gábor Nagy is the wine sommelier of Faust Wine Cellar and has a wonderful knowledge about each of the wines he serves. I tasted the white lovers and Tim tasted the red lovers. I started off with the pálinka. My white lovers tasting included a dry Egri Királyleányka from 2009, Villányi Chardonnay from 2008, Somoi Aranyhegy Olaszrizling from 2007, the Tokaji Tiszavirág "Mayfly" Cuvee from 2008 and the limited edition Tokaji Aszú from 1993. Each wine was simply better than the one before it.
Tim's red lovers tasting also started with the pálinka, followed by Pannonhalmi Rose from 2009, the Villányi Pinot Noir (our least favorite with a strong taste of vegetables) from 2005, the Villányi A Cuvee from 2000, and the Tokaji Szamorodni from 1999, which was the least sweet Hungarian dessert wine.
The Tokaji Szamorodni type of wine was initially known as főbor (prime wine), but from the 1820s Polish merchants popularized the name samorodny ("the way it was grown" or "made by itself"). What sets Szamorodni apart from ordinary wines is that it is made from bunches of grapes which contain a high proportion of botrytised grapes. Szamorodni is typically higher in alcohol than ordinary wine. Szamorodni often contains up to 100-120 g of residual sugar and thus is termed édes (sweet). However, when the bunches contain less botrytised grapes, the residual sugar content is much lower, resulting in a száraz (dry) wine. Its alcohol content is typically 14%.
I left the wine cellar with a bottle of each the Tokaji Tiszavirág "Mayfly" Cuvee from 2008 and the limited edition Tokaji Aszú (5 puttonyos) from 1993, both sweet Hungarian dessert wines.
Buda Castle District
The whole Castle District in Buda, with its ample historic sights and wonderful panorama of the Danunbe and Pestm is part of UNESCO's World Heritage Site.
The oldest part of the present-day Buda Castle was built in the 14th century by Prince Stephen, Duke of Slavonia, the younger brother of King Louis I of Hungary. The Gothic palace of King Louis I was arranged around a narrow courtyard next to Stephen's Tower. King Sigismund of Hungary greatly enlarged the palace. During his long reign it became probably the largest Gothic palace of the late Middle Ages. The last phase of grand-scale building activity happened under King Matthias Corvinus, when Italian humanists, artists and craftsmen arrived at Buda. The Hungarian capital became the first center of Renaissance north of the Alps.
The spectacular Matthias Fountain (Mátyás-kút) decorates the western forecourt of the palace. It shows a group of hunters lead by King Matthias Corvinus together with hounds, a killed deer, Galeotto Marzio with a hawk and Szép Ilonka with a doe.
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