Tokaji Wine: A Brief Guide to the Hungarian Dessert Wine
The Prized Hungarian Wine
Long before Champagne there was Tokaji - a prized Hungarian dessert wine dating back to the 16th century. The wines are now available in the United States. And Guess what? You can buy one brand at Costco.
Below is a Q & A list about Tokaji wine:
What is Tokaji?
Tokaji is a sweet topaz colored wine from a remote region of Hungary - the Tokaji district - where unusually sweet wine is produced. They are labeled as Tokaji Aszu.
What makes it so special?
The wine is made from late-ripened grapes affected by a certain type of mold that concentrates the grape sugars which, in turn, flavors the wine into a honey-like sweetness. The area's prized Aszu dessert wines are the most cherished and are described as golden-hued and decadent.
When was the wine first produced?
The wine dates back to the 16th century and was favored by Goethe, Beethoven, and France's King Louis XIV who is believed to have crowned it as the 'king of wines and the wine of kings."
A World Heritage Site?
Yes, the district was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002 due to its viticultural landscape and traditions. The site covers 28 villages and towns.
Note: The wine is also cited in the Hungarian national anthem.
Why are we just hearing about it?
Communism reduced the popularity of the wine after World War II. Production continued with a limited number of producers and the bottling and distribution was controlled by a state-owned organization. Quality plummeted. With the collapse of the communist regime in the early 1990s the vineyards regained their status. Tokaji Aszu is now available in the US and has won numerous international awards.
There are several Tokaji Aszu wine producers
Listed below are 4 wines with descriptions and ranging in price from $15-$50:
1 - 2001 Keresk-Edohaz Tokaji Aszu 3 Puttonyos - This is Hungary's state owned wine producer - who just inked a big deal with Costco. It's not the top wine but it's good and sells for $15-$20.
2 - 2006 - Royal Tokaji Red Label Aszu 5 Puttonyos - the higher the puttonyos (which is the sugar content) the finer the flavor. This is a popular mid-range choice selling for about $30-$40.
3 - 2002 Oremus Tokaji Aszu 3 Puttonyos - Oremus is one of the region's top wine makers. This 2002 vintage is harder to find and is considered one of the finest - with hints of apricot and ginger. Price range is about $35-$50.
4 - 2000 - Disznoko Tokaji Aszu's 5 Puttonyos - this is the spicier, smoother choice from an innovative company with a 19 year track record. The price is about $50.
For more information about a variety of beverages, see the links below:
More About Beverages
- American-Made Artisanal Liquor: 6 to Try
States are relaxing their liquor-making laws and as a result, more small-batch distilleries are entering the market. Artisans are perfecting the craft and are now competing with the larger distilleries. (See...
- The New Beer - Made With Tea
It had to happen of course. Beer has nutritional value and so does tea. We've long had beer brewed with coffee, so why not with tea. There are several such beers with tea on the market now (see list below). ...
- Champagne: A Guide for Beginners
Are you wondering why vintage Champagnes are so expensive? Or what demi-sec means? Champagne is a sparkling wine produced exclusively within the Champagne region of France, thus the name. The beverage is...
- Sparkling Wine: How Sweet or Dry is Your Favorite?
Time to celebrate and break out the bubbly? But wait! You don't know your brut from your demi-sec? You're just planning to drink as much as possible? The labels on a bottle of sparkling wine will let you...
- Whiskey: The American Guide
Planning to socialize or entertain but not sure of your bourbon or rye? Should you have it with a splash of water or on the rocks? What is a whiskey sour? (see photo). And if you are wondering just how much...
- What is Mamajuana?
A play on a word perhaps? That was my first thought when I serendipitously came across a discreet ad for mamajuana, while ordering food in a quaint little shop. Of course I thought immediately about the more...
- Boxed Wines: 7 to Try
Thinking about trying boxed wine? The choices are vast from white - Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Riesling, to red - Cabernet Sauvignon, Concord and Merlot. Labels are from many known wine producing countries...
More by this Author
Next time you shop for your favorite cooking oil, keep in mind that oil must be stored properly once you get it home. Otherwise it can quickly decompose or become rancid. This is not good for your health.
When the time comes for your big celebration and toasting with champagne, will you know what to buy? How do you read a champagne label and decide if you want vintage, non-vintage (NV) or a demi-sec?
Using natural building materials will help reduce the use of man-made materials. There are at least 10 natural building materials that will do no further damage to the environment, are sustainable and do not use fossil...