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Winery #87: Faust Wine Cellar (Budapest, Hungary)

Located deep beneath Budapest’s Hilton Hotel, Faust Wine Cellar delivered an intimate wine experience under flickering candlelight in a secluded wine cave. We discovered this hidden gem due to an accommodation misfortune, and thankfully it all worked out! A public service announcement: If you are traveling within Europe during the summer months, we highly encourage you to double-check your accommodations if you require air conditioning. “Cooled air” or “cooled ceiling” only reduces temperatures by a few degrees, and we suggest inquiring about the actual room temperatures during the hot summer months. We found ourselves checking into the Hilton Hotel on Budapest’s Castle Hill just after midnight, and on the walk to our room, we noticed a small sign for Faust Wine Cellar pointing to the stairs. The following day, we inquired with the hotel staff, and they helped us coordinate a reservation.

When the time came, we walked down the dimly lit staircase into the deep underground belly of the Hilton Hotel. The cave’s cool air gave us a welcomed change from the summer heat. Our host, Gabor, greeted us at the entrance and escorted us to our candlelit table in the darkness. As our eyes adjusted, we noticed only three additional tables in this cave and the wall of dimly lit wine. Gabor provided us with sparkling and still water and the most amazing freshly made, warm Hungarian cheese biscuits called Pogácsa. The Pogácsa didn’t last very long on our table! Our host explained that he represents small production wineries throughout Hungary, educating his guests on his country’s wine regions and unique wine styles. Gabor gave us the option to upgrade our experience with a chocolate pairing. A wine tasting in a candlelit cellar with a chocolate pairing, we couldn’t resist!

Over the next two hours, Gabor introduced us to eight wines from all over Hungary masterfully paired with chocolate. We were amazed by the tiny production levels of the wines, several with less than 750 bottles produced in the year. Yes, only 750 bottles total! To put this in perspective, Château Lafite-Rothschild, the famous Bordeaux winery that most people consider “rare” and whose bottles sell for over $1,000 each, produces approximately 240,000 bottles of their top wine each year. We told Gabor that our next stop in the 500 Wineries Austria Hungary Slovakia Wine Expedition would be Tokaj. He noted that he has some rare Tokaji wines from the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. So, what do a couple of extreme wine enthusiasts do in this situation? Book a reservation for the following day!

Day two at Faust Wine Cellar started again with freshly made, warm Hungarian cheese biscuits that lasted less than five minutes on the table. During this new experience, Gabor focused the tasting exclusively on Tokaji wines, with the last three being the famous sweet wines. As you noticed in the previous paragraph, Tokaj versus Tokaji is not a typo. Tokaj is the region’s name, and Tokaji is the name of the wine. I know, I know. We tasted a 1972 Tokaji Szamorodni, a dry wine with a particular production method. Gabor also poured sweet 1989 and 1993 Tokaji Aszu, as well as the ultra-rare, very expensive, and lusciously sweet 1999 Tokaji Aszu Essencia. We were breathless after this tasting experience, it was that amazing! Gabor explained each of the wine’s unique production methods in detail, which we will describe in the next several blog posts of our Tokaj adventures. We know it won’t be easy to sleep due to the anticipation!

This was the first time we revisited a wine experience the very next day, a testament to Gabor and his Faust Wine Cellar. We give this experience 4 Stars, ranking among the top 25% of all 500 Wineries’ visits! Thank you, Gabor, for a fantastic experience! We will return the next time we’re in town. If you find yourself anywhere in the region, we highly recommend making Faust Wine Cellar a destination!!!

See the YouTube Video of our wine experience here!

Experience Rating: 5 Stars

Brodi’s Rating: 3 Paws Up

Pet-Friendly: Yes

Experience Vibe: Semi-Private Experience, Seated Wine Tasting, Wine Cellar Experience

Reservations Needed: Yes

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