Bull's blood is a rather infamous wine here in the UK. You can find great examples, and some really nasty stuff too. Beware of anything cheap. You really expect to fork over at least £15 for a decent one. You are looking for eager, smallish wineries like, St. Andrea, Bolyki, Nimród Kovács. I suppose you might suspect that my pick was a rather nice one with a price tag to match.
The actual Gróf Buttler winery was a family project, a midlife crisis pursuit.
László Bukolyi having had enough of his successful IT carrier took up a hobby. He started making wine at his native Eger region. He was passionate enough to start killing weed and uprooting shrubs on a slope called Nagy-Eged (Great-Sky). This particular slope was used to be cultivated, but long forgotten. He suspected great potential here which was and still is frowned upon by many winemakers of this region. As an amateur, he was still able to make wines that stood the test of time and appealed to committed oenologists and experts alike. Of course, that kind of stories never end well. He was devoted and zealous, but he dreamed bigger than he could financially manage just by himself. So he lost everything.
This wine is one of his last under the Gróf Buttler name. What a wine it is. Although he was snubbed as a dilettante, a dabbler but I think even professional, trained winemakers would give an arm and a leg to be able to make something of this quality. Enthralling. It is elegant but rustic. A dramatic, well-balanced wine that is still meaty and muscly after 10 years in a bottle. Bull's blood not coming much better than this.
Eger is a cooler region, laying on the north fringes of Hungary, well sheltered from the northerly winds of the Carpathians. The climate is dry, the soil is volcanic. Sits on the same, 47 latitude, as the Rhone-valley. No wonder, that it reminds me of the great Syrahs of the Northern-Rhone.
You can find this wine at specialist suppliers in the UK and I would recommend this particular vintage whole-heartedly. It is expensive, but it is a great interpretation of the region and the famous Bull's Blood blend.
Photographs by The Tannin Addict