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An excellent vintage for Tokaji after three more difficult years. Redolent of apricot, honey, orange peel and spices, with luscious rounded flavour balanced by fresh uplifting acidity, this is a beautifully made wine.
Product Code: HU1111
View all products by Royal Tokaji Wine Company
Royal Tokaji was founded in 1990 by a small group of investors, including Hugh Johnson, together with 62 small local growers. Hugh was inspired to help revive one of the world's truly original and great white wines by his research into the region for his World Atlas of Wine and by tasting a sample of Aszu produced in tiny amounts by a small producer for family and local consumption. The growers provided the grapes and Royal Tokaji would make and market the wine, building a new winery and taking the wine into world markets. Thus it became the first foreign company ever to invest in the region and was the catalyst for the renaissance of post-communist Tokaji, reviving the forgotten wine of Europe and restoring the fine style and quality that historically had earned Tokaji the reputation of the most desirable white wine in the world. Considerable further investment followed, particulary from French insurance companies, as the Hungarian government privatised the wine industry in search of much-needed funds. To begin with, Royal Tokaji decided to focus on producing single vineyard wines made from 1st and 2nd growth vineyards only. The objective was to remind people that Tokaji is, like Burgundy, among the world's great wine regions that recognise and demonstrate the importance of terroir and also to focus on the top end of the market. The wines were made in a traditional manner, with extended extraction and barrel ageing to add colour, richness, aroma, and complexity to the wine. Over the past 21 years the company has of course changed and developed considerably. It now owns 107ha of prime vineyards around Mad and Tarcal, 85ha of which are in production with a further 10 ha currently being re-planted. A new €3.25m state of the art winery was opened in 2010 providing greater quality, modern technology and flexibilty, and increasing the capacity from 30,000 3 litre cases to 60,000 - double the size but still small. Under the expert eye of winemaker Karoly Ats, Royal Tokaji's style has evolved over the past 10 to 15 years and is now a blend of the traditional and modern - fresher, lighter, and fruitier than 20 years ago but still with the traditional virtues in mind. The wines continue to be aged in the deep and cramped 13th century cellars underneath the winery. Single vineyard wines are still produced and together with the legendary Essencia remain the finest expression of Tokaji.
The Romans cultivated vines in Pannonia from the second century AD and despite a period of Ottoman Muslim rule in parts of Hungary during the 16th and 17th centuries and the dead hand of state control in the second half of the 20th Hungary has adapted well to the demands of a modern free market, and particularly an export driven one. Since the fall of communism in the late 1980s the Hungarian wine industry has garnered foreign and local investment and adopted modern technological and viticultural practises to improve the quality of the wines. The principal wine growing regions sit between 45o and 50o latitude, similar to Burgundy to the west. The continental climate of landlocked Hungary is one of extremely cold winters and long, hot summers followed by prolonged, usually sunny autumns. Lake Balaton, Europe’s largest lake, provides a moderating effect on winter and summer temperatures, as does the Tisza River that glides past the Tokaji region, the Neusiedlersee that the border region of Sopron shares with Austria, and the Danube for the winemaking areas of the north such as Transdanubia.The vineyards are spread all over the country so soil types are not homogenous over such a large area, but one common theme is the volcanic nature of many. The Great Plain area where much of Hungary’s more generic offerings originate is mostly sand and loess. Tokaji is Hungary’s most famous wine. Recent investment has paid dividends in re-establishing a reputation for greatness that was forged in medieval times and diluted during Communist rule when all wines were exported through a monopoly little interested in providing quality and these great sweet wines might even be pasteurised. The confluence of the river Tisza and a smaller, cooler tributary provides the conditions for the creation of the ‘Breath of God’, or morning mists, in the same way the merging of the Cerons and the Gironde do in Sauternes. This in turn encourages the formation of botrytis cinerea, a fungus that feeds on the moisture in a grape, concentrating the sugars and changing its structure. The result is some of the best and most luscious sweet wines in the world, made from the indigenous furmint, harslevelu, oremus or zeta, and koverszolo varieties, together with muscat.In the south-west, on the border with Croatia, the Villány-Siklós region is fast developing a reputation for excellent wines, and in the north-east is the Eger region, modern home to the famous and sturdy Bull’s Blood, arguably Hungary’s second most famous wine though not necessarily the origin of the widely exported brand of the last century.Although many international varieties such as cabernet sauvignon and franc, pinot noir, chardonnay and sauvignon blanc have been planted and are making excellent wines, the Hungarians have retained many native central European vines. Kadarka, kekfrankos (aka blaufränkisch), irsai oliver and the aforementioned furmint and harslevelu have a long history and can make characterful wines.The Hungarian authorities have developed an appellation system modelled on the French and Austrian versions and 22 regions are currently recognised.
"Dried apricots, oranges and spice. Good length."
I would recommend this wine
Country Life 11th Dec 2019
"Reminds me more of
baked Bramley apples, with hints of both lemon and orange zest plus a wonderful
balance of lusciousness and freshness. - Harry Eyres"
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