Szépasszony-völgy, with some 200 cellars, has been connected with the fame of Eger wines for centuries. The name of the valley is lost to legend, but some ethnographers believe that "Szépasszony" (beautiful woman) was a goddess of a pre-historic religion, similar to Venus (the goddess of love). Sacrifices were offered to her at this location.
Farmers speak of a famously beautiful woman who used to sell Eger wine in one of the cellars. According to others, the valley was named after one of the beautiful ladies of a noble villa. The origin of the name, as well as the time the first cellars were initially constructed, cannot be determined by archives.
The gem of Szépasszony-völgy are really the hundreds-year-old cellars that have been carved into the several hundred-meter thick rolite tufa. This material can be formed perfectly, and can permanently maintain wine at a temperature of 10-15°C (50-59°F). Varying amounts of mosses and noble mold found in the cellars give each carved cave a unique atmosphere, and help the mellowing of the wine and the formation of its fragrance.
The valley is indeed a hotbed for tourism nowadays, but the amazing construction of the cellars, and the delicious wines contained within them, doesn't seem to suffer greatly for it. And although cellar staff spoke little to no English, we didn't have a difficult time getting free tastings of some fantastic wines.
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