Danubian Odyssey - Boutinot



Following a trade trip to Eastern Europe, Product Manager Matthew Jones was impressed by two producers in particular. Schieber Pincészet winery in Szekszárd, Hungary and Bononia Estate on the Danubian Plain, Bulgaria. Here he talks us through his discoveries of 4 new wines from these two impressive estates.


It is perhaps only when you look at a map that you see how the River Danube is so closely intertwined with the wine industry of central and eastern Europe, and how each country’s key wine regions are inextricable linked with the meandering path of this great river.

And it really is a great river – by the time it reaches Budapest, traversing a bridge on foot takes a good 15 minutes, and by then it still has a long way to go before it passes through Serbia and Romania towards what seems like an epic anti-climax – a delta on the Romania/Moldova border, fizzling out to the apparent obscurity of marshes and shifting sands.

Rising in Germany, the river snakes through Austria passing through Krems where the sun reflects off its surface back up into to the Kremstal region, and Niki Moser’s Grüner Veltliner and Riesling vines. It forms the Slovakian/Hungarian border for a while before a sharp turn south takes it down through Budapest and onwards past the historic region of Szekszárd in southern Hungary – most famous for Bulls Blood, or Bikaver, as it tends to be labelled these days.

For some inexplicable reason, local laws state that Bikaver must be made from at last four grapes but only 2 of them are Hungarian. The international components must make up half of the blend, but instantly rob the resulting wine of a sense of place. Far more interesting (to this weary correspondent at least) are the native components – Kadarka and Kékfrankos. The latter offers gutsy food friendly reds that cry out for belly pork, while enigmatic and difficult to grow Kadarka, if handled gently, can create beautifully bright and pure crunchy chillable reds – ideal for summer drinking.



Having first tasted Schieber Kadarka in a glorious sunny vineyard in Szekszárd (left), I fell in love immediately and knew I had to bring it in – honestly, I must have spent 5 minutes simply admiring the colour! I think these two wines, Trilógia Kadarka and Trilógia Kékfrankos offer great value and hopefully our customers will agree.




Onward the Danube flows through Serbia before forming most of the Romania/Bulgaria border – to the south of the River we have the Danubian Plain, one of Bulgaria’s main wine regions, and home to some of its most elegant wines.


In Bulgaria, Kadarka appears again but by a different name – Gamza. I first tasted Gamza from Bononia Estate (right) 3 years ago, and have been in contact with the winery since then – I always loved the wine but there seemed little point shipping just one wine from Bulgaria so the task became to find something else to bring in with it. Finally they sent a sample of a delicious unoaked Chardonnay and we knew we were ready to go.


Contrasting in style to the Schieber Kadarka, Koshava Gamza is on a much more savoury trip – I would say this one really wants food, while the Schieber wine just needs an ice bucket and a warm day. However, I think both are very appealing to lovers of pale crunchy wines such as Cinsault and Gamay. The Chardonnay meanwhile feels more new world than old, with expressive tropical flavours, predominantly grapefruit. Similarly priced to the Schieber wines, we feel that all four of these new lines offer tremendous value, and will resonate with our customers – they all got great feedback at the recent portfolio tastings, and are now in stock.


If you want to find out a bit more about the wines, click the images below or speak to your rep. NB The Gamza is very limited as the 2022 crop was destroyed by poor weather. Once the 2021 is gone, we will have to wait until the 2023 is available in Spring next year.


On Our Travels, What's New

Wines from Schieber Pincészet

Wines from Bononia Estate