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Bulls' Blood

Officially, Bikavér (“BEE-KAH-VEEHR”) a cuvée of three red wines, usually Kadarka, Kékfrankos, Portugieser (Kékoportó), Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Menoire, Pinot Noir, Syrah, and the modern Austrian hybrids, Blauburger and Zweigelt. The origins of the word Bikavér, or “Bulls’ Blood” are not crystal clear, but the most common legend is it that the name was given by the marauding Turks, who couldn’t figure out how the Hungarian armies could be so fierce in battle. As non-drinkers by religion, they put it down to the dark red liquid they were drinking, suspecting that it was Bull’s Blood. The name has been used as a marketing brand ever since, particularly in the 1970s, when low-quality Bikavérs were exported all over the world. This damaged the Bulls’ Blood name considerably, but it is gradually making a recovery on the international stage. The most famous Bikavérs come from Eger, scene of the most famous victory against the Turks, but Szekszárd also has its own varieties.

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