Dankó red wine: an angel in disguise or the grim reaper?

I suppose a lot of us have been in a situation when we had to make a choice about our beverage for the occasion, may it be a house party, a special event or an outdoors drinking session. There is always a variety of drinks to choose from whenever we enter a grocery store or a supermarket. A popular choice has been wine since there are not only many brands but also different types to choose from: dry, sweet, red, white or rosé to mention a few. However, there is one particular brand, the reputation of which strikes fear into the hearts of many as soon as they notice the capital ‘D’ on the front: Dankó.

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The Dankó brand is most popular among high school and university students. One reason for its popularity (and a possible reason why others have taken a dislike to it) is its pricing. Its normal price stands at 400, -HUF, which falls down by 25% to 300, -HUF when it is on sale. Both sides are understandable in this sense when it comes to the price: students with less money look up to this wine as a heavenly gift, while those with a better financial status look for more expensive alternatives most of the time.

The bottle itself looks fine as it is. The front has the famous capital ‘D’ along with ‘Dankó, sweet red wine’. The back contains a small description of the product along with its place of origin: ‘Cuvée from Duna-Tisza köze, sweet red local wine. Harvested from fully ripened grapes and made with a special process, this ruby red sweet red wine with the scent of currant and strawberry came to be from the domestication of primarily Kékfrankos, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zweigelt variants.’ Some additional information can be found on the back about the bottling, the alcohol percentage (10%), the amount of wine (750 millilitres), and that the wine is a Hungarian product. By the look of things there is nothing particularly horrible on the outside. However, in order to get the full experience, it’s time to open the bottle and taste what’s inside.

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I crack the bottle open and pour some into a glass. It looks just like any other red wine. However, when I take a scent sample to find out if it really has the fragrance of currant and strawberry I feel disappointment: there is no such essence present. It has no special aroma; the smell is just like any other red wine. Still, it is not the scent which has the negative reputation; the flavour is what needs further investigation. Time for the taste test.

The very first sip tastes a little bit weird. On one hand, you can clearly taste that it is a proper sweet red wine. On the other hand, you savour an interesting taste that is typical of lower-quality products and does not feel particularly nice. Apart from that taste, it is a little bit sour but you can easily taste the sweetness. However, after that weird first sip the beverage starts to become rather enjoyable. The small sourness is still present but you taste the sweet flavour much better, and that weird taste from the first sip is gone entirely.

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Picture courtesy of Weinhaus Ltd.

As a final verdict, I have to say that Dankó wines are not as bad as their reputation. They are cheap, do not taste bad at all and even white and rosé varieties are available. It is perfectly understandable that there are some who look at these products with hateful eyes, but there is hardly anything in the world that is liked by everybody. However, if you would like to have some sweet wine and you happen to be short on money, give Dankó a try. Though, I would not recommend it as the beverage of choice for a romantic night with your beloved one. For such occasions, something of higher quality should be taken into consideration.

Ádám Jánosi

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