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Preparing for Upcoming Trip Was Almost Like Being There

Bull’s Blood by TeSóAria Winery in Oregon

Kathy and I are preparing (researching) for an upcoming trip to wine regions in Hungary. Both Hungarian food and wine are subjects for our research. To inspire us, we decided to have Hungarian Goulash and Bull’s Blood for our dinner on a blustery March day that reminded us that we were still in winter’s grip.

Bull’s Blood is a Hungarian red wine that is made mostly with Kadarka. Why it is called Bull’s Blood is a legend and how we found a winery in the United States producing it is quite unique. We were told about the legend of Bull’s Blood from John Olson, owner of TeSóAria, a tasting room in Portland, Oregon. John explained that the story dates back many years to the time of the Ottoman Empire. According to the legendary tale, Hungary was invaded by the Ottoman Empire. The Hungarian soldiers were about to be overcome. Locking themselves in the castle, they managed to break into the wine cellar. Realizing they were about to be killed by the Ottomans, they began drinking. Soon they began fighting among themselves. Eventually they were covered with red wine. When the Ottomans discovered the Hungarians soaked in red wine and fighting among themselves, they incorrectly assumed that the Hungarians had killed their bulls and then consumed the blood. The Ottomans believed they were now demigods. Frightened the Ottomans quickly left the Hungarians alone and safe. According to John, the story of Bull’s Blood has several variations. When we visit Hungary we hope to hear about the tale and note differences.

How the Kadarka grape made its way to a vineyard in Southern Oregon is a common experience for grape varieties in the vineyard industry. A Hungarian vineyard owner moved from Hungary to Oregon. He brought plantings of Kadarka. When John acquired the vineyard and winery, he kept the Kadarka grapes and crafted Bull’s Blood.

Hungarian Goulash

We discovered that there are a plethora of recipes for Hungarian Goulash. Most American recipes added pasta to the pot. We wanted to try a recipe that was more like the goulash that we will experience in Hungary. A few years ago, we met Gabriella Gónusz, owner of Wine a’More Travel, a wine travel tour company in Hungary. Gabriella created our itinerary for our upcoming tour and sent me a recipe that she uses for goulash. About an hour before dinner, we were slow cooking the goulash on a wood burning stove, I added some of the Bull’s Blood to the pot. 

Our dinner was wonderful. The 2014 TeSóAria Bull’s Blood had a dark ruby color with a dark pink rim. Black berry fruits were on the aroma and the taste was reminiscent of blackberries, black raspberries, leather and baking spices. The wine had a full body and medium/full tannins. The fruity finish yielded to spices. It paired well with the goulash which we found to be a comfort food. On a cold winter’s day, we found this combination warming and comforting.

We are looking forward to our wine journey through Hungary, along with wines and foods, especially those indigenous to the country.


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