Friday, April 22, 2011

First Experience with Bulls Blood Wine of Hungary in 1994

I visited Hungary for the first time in 1994. I had been overseas a number of times but I was still a beer guy and was a relatively young member of a US Department of Defense team working in Hungary. Thus, I never ordered the wine and was happy to drink whatever was placed in front of me. Our team leader, Frank, in addition to being a great mentor and living proof that you can be a nice guy and get results from people, was well traveled and conversant in wines. Frank wanted to try Bulls Blood which we all had heard about a great deal.

Our team members had been told that unscrupulous waiters and sommeliers would try to cheat us by serving us rotgut or watered down wine at high prices. We had not had this experience in Hungary or Romania to this point and laughed this off as a tourist 'urban legend.'

Sure enough, we went to a fancy restaurant in downtown Budapest. The uniformed waiter brought us a bottle of Bulls Blood that had "just been opened." The wine tasted OK to me but Frank took one taste and knew that the wine was watered down. He requested another bottle and asked the waiter to open it in front of us. The waiter did not even protest. The waiter brought us a second bottle and it tasted exactly the same as the first. We immediately challenged the waiter with a little more agitation. We were a group of eight males; some quite large. Flummoxed, the waiter asked us if we wanted another bottle. Frank asked for a carafe of the cheapest house wine. The waiter happily supplied it and guess what? It tasted exactly the same as the wine in the Bulls Blood bottles.

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