The Garden Guide

Book: History of Garden Design and Gardening
Chapter: Chapter 3: European Gardens (500AD-1850)

Hungarian horticulture

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387. In Hungary horticulture has been much neglected; but fruit-tree nurseries were established there by government in 1808, and subsequently by private gentlemen. Plums, Dr. Bright informs us, are cultivated, in order to make a kind of brandy. The Tokay wine is made from the variety of grape figured and described by Sickler, in his Garden Magazine of 1804, as the Hungarian blue. The soil of tho Tokay vineyards is a red brown clay, mixed with sand, incumbent on a clay-slate rock; and it is observed by a Hungarian winter quoted by Dr. Bright, that, 'in proportion as the soil is poor and stony, and the vine feeble, the fruit and wine, though small in quantity, become more excellent in their quality. ' Tokay wine is made in the submontane district which extends over a space about twenty miles round the town of that name. The grapes are left on the plants till they become dry and sweet; they are then gathered one by one, put in a cask with a perforated bottom, and allowed to remain till that portion of the juice escapes which will run from them without any pressure. This, which is called Tokay essence, is generally in very small quantity. The grapes are then put into a vat, and trampled with the bare feet.; to the squeezed mass is next added an equal quantity of good wine, which is allowed to stand for twenty-four hours, and is then strained. The juice, without further preparation, becomes the far-famed wine of Tokay, which is difficult to be obtained, and sells in Vienna at the rate of 12l. per dozen. The Tokay vineyards are chiefly the property of the emperor.