Wine from Hungary and Germany good for slow cooker recipes

This week we’re offering two wines to pair with Ann Vogel’s quick and easy slow cooker recipes.

We’ll start with the goulash.

Seeing that this dish is from Hungary — which is a region known for its exquisite paprika — we’ve opted to recommend a Hungarian wine.

While Hungary may not be the first country people think of when they think wine, it actually has a rich history dating back to Roman times.

The most famous Hungarian dessert wine is tokaji aszú, a rich, unctuous golden-hued wine that is harvested late to encourage noble rot. We mention this only because during its winemaking infancy, most of the wines to come out of Hungary were white.

That is until the 16th Century when the red grape kadarka was introduced.

This grape, blended with roughly nine other grape varieties including merlot and cabernet, makes up what is probably the most familiar Hungarian wine — Bull’s Blood.

The wine got its name thanks to the Hungarian defenders of the country’s second largest city, Eger. During the Ottoman occupation in the 16th Century, those fighting to defend Eger seemed to especially enjoy the red wine — so much so that the red stained their beards and clothes.

You can imagine the fright their appearance gave the Turks, who after taking one look at them believed their opponents were superior because of the bull’s blood they had just consumed. Needless to say, the Turks retreated.

While kadarka was commonly planted back in the day, it’s a tricky grape to grow. As a result it’s been relegated to the back of the vineyard in favor of the kekfrankos grape, also part of the Bull’s Blood blend. Here in America we’re more familiar with the German name for this grape: Lemberger.

The wine has cherry and dark fruit flavors with a lighter body and almost no tannins or histamines. It’s the perfect pairing for any Hungarian goulash dish.

For the chick curry slow cooker recipe we’re going to introduce you to a wine that will be a perfect compliment to Vogel’s dish.

It comes from a region in France that has been part of Germany a few times in its history — Alsace.

Alsace is 70 miles long and 2 miles wide. It sits on the eastern side of the Vosges Mountains and its vines are planted on the south and southeastern slopes of the mountains where they can enjoy the rain shadow.

The wine we’re recommending from this region is Gewürztraminer, or “ga-vertz” for short. It has spicy aromatics, full body and lots of fruit to balance its dry style.

Producers such as Hugel, Leon Beyer, Pierre Sparr or Trimbach have all been producing since at least the 17th century.