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Tokaji Wine: A Brief Guide to the Hungarian Dessert Wine

Updated on December 19, 2011

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:

Hungarian dessert wine
Hungarian dessert wine


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    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Asa wine lover, I was excited to learn about this wine. I will purchase a bottle (or three) when I visit the wine warehouse again. They have thousands of selections from all over the world. I know that will have this. Thanks for the addition to my wine collection, which sadly doesn't seem to grow. Alas!

    • howcurecancer profile image

      Elena@LessIsHealthy 6 years ago

      I like the history of this wine.

    • farehamwine profile image

      farehamwine 6 years ago from Fareham, Hampshire

      Tokay is most usually drunk as a dessert wine. It is great with pastries and desserts (particulary apricots) but it can also be served with foie gras and blue cheeses (much like Sauternes). They can range from semi-sweet to mega-sweet. The less sweet styles include the Cuvée Ats from The Royal Tokay Company, which is made from late harvested grapes as opposed to the botrytis affected grapes of Tokay Aszu. The sweetest style is known as Tokay Eszencia, also sometimes called Nectar - look out for it, it is extremely rare and extremely sweet (and extremely expensive!!!).

    • webgain profile image

      webgain 6 years ago from Delhi, India

      i want one of them. great hub

    • anglnwu profile image

      anglnwu 6 years ago

      Not being a wine drinker, I'm not familiar with Tokaji wine but now, I know more and maybe, tempted to buy them. Thanks for sharing.

    • CountryCityWoman profile image

      CountryCityWoman 6 years ago from From New York City to North Carolina

      What a wonderful and unique gift this will make and perfect for a celebration. I've never heard of it but I like the way it sounds - nice and sweet. I like being knowledgeable.

      Many thanks and rated up!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 6 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      How nice - this is certainly appealing as an aperitif. I'll keep it in mind for a special celebration when it is nice to bring out something new - but great.

      Thanks for the other links as well. I'm learning so much about wine and other liquors from your hubs. I'd rather go with quality once in awhile rather than just drink junk all the time.

      Rated up!