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:
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