Up here you can get a feel for the rolling countryside and see a cross-section of the white calcareous soil that dominates Etyek-Buda and its wines. The combination of these soils, which are mixed with loess and black soil, along with the cooling influence of prevailing breezes, leads to a turbo-charged acidity which explains why Etyek-Buda has traditionally been such a significant sparkling wine producer.
Etyek-Buda is also ideal for racy, refreshing and aromatic whites. Sauvignon Blanc is particularly expressive here, while Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Királyleányka are also successful. A few exciting examples of Zöldveltelini (Grüner Veltliner) are also staring to appear, which perhaps bodes well for the future given the Austrian grape’s popularity in the world’s high-end restaurants. Pinot Noir rules the red roost, while there are isolated bottlings of Merlot, Kékfrakos and Kadarka to be found. Cabernet Sauvignon can be used for rosé.
Swabian German settlers brought winemaking to Etyek or Edeck, to give it its German name. The German toponym is signposted next to its Hungarian equivalent as you enter the town, though the German population is long gone, expelled in the wake of World War II. Their legacy is still here though, with some fine old presses dotted around and old stone cellar rows such as Kecskegödör and the circular Körpince.
A tall communal press stands on Öreghegy next to the Báthori dűlő (vineyard), which is named after Tibor Báthori, who was voted Winemaker of the Year by Hungarian Wine Academy in 1992 (only the second year that the title was awarded). He is remembered fondly for his role in putting Etyek on the map. A memorial plaque to him on the vineyard itself notes that he ‘channelled the birdsong into wine’.