Tokaji – Hungary’s sweet miracles

Zoltan Sánta, member of the board of the Weinakademiker had brought with him mainly dry Hungarian wines to the tasting beginning of October in the Munich cork wine bar, but at least four sweet wines from Tokaj. There are 134 grape varieties in Hungary, but only six of them are approved for the production of sweet Tokaji: Furmint, Hárslevelû, Sárga Muskotály, Zéta, Kövérszőlõ and Kabar.

The vineyards in the Tokaj are predominantly on mineral soils of volcanic tufa, such as rhyolite, andesite or dacite, in lower layers with topsoils of clay, loam and loess. Yields are often just a few hectoliters per hectare. Most of the Botrytis infected grapes are harvested in several passes by hand. If less than half of the grapes are botrytis-infested, all grapes are harvested in one go. The result is often a sweet Szamorodni, of which we tasted two in the first sweet Flight Late Harvest.

The first one from Holdvölgyi Winery in 2008 is made of 100% Zéta, a cross between Furmint and Bouvier, formerly known as Oremus. The grapes for this wine were pressed after 18 hours of maceration. The subsequent fermentation took place in stainless steel and the subsequent ageing was done for 18 months in wooden barrels.
Szent Tamás Winery, owned by one of the co-owners, István Szepsy Jr, son of the well-known Tokaji-producer of the same name, produced the second Szaomorodni wine from 50% Furmint, 30% Sárga Muskotály and 20% Hárslevelű – the Szamorodni Sweet 2013. The yield was with 1,000 kg / ha extremely low. Fermentation and one-year aging took place in 400l barrels of Zemplén oak.

Flight Late Harvest

Intuition no. 1, Szamorodni Sweet 2008, Holdvölgyi Winery
Very little botrytis, orange, delicately spicy, medium complex, attractive acidity, pleasant sweetness, very fresh, very drinkable, very good wine.
12% alcohol, 142 g / l residual sugar, 7.7 g / l acid.

Szamorodni Sweet 2013, Szent Tamás Winery
Pure botrytis, delicate apricot, good complexity, aromas of apricots in the mouth too, notes of botrytis and grapes, very round, elegant acidity, fresh with good sweetness, still well balanced, very good finish, very good wine.
12.5% ​​alcohol, 162 g / l residual sugar, 6.5 g / l acid.

In the next flight Aszú wines with 5 respectively 6 puttonyoswere tasted. Aszú wines are usually produced in such a way that the dried and mostly botyrized grapes are macerated and fermented for days or even weeks with a base wine of “healthy”, ie not botrytized and / or dried grapes of the same locations. So also with the Tokaji aszú 5 puttonyos 2008 of the winery Tokaji-Hetszőlő from 100% Furmint. Fermentation and the approximately 30-month ageing are mostly done in new barrels. The grapes of Furmint, Hárslevelű and Sárga Muskotály for the Tokaji aszú 6 puttonyos 2013 of the winery Royal Tokaji were macerated for 48 h, then fermented for 3 – 6 months and bottled after about 2 years ageing.

Flight Aszú

Tokaji aszú 5 puttonyos, 2008, Tokaji-Hetszőlő
Very ripe, round fruit on the nose, soft, pure pineapple, some citrus, well complex. Very fruity in the mouth, very appealing fine acidity that gives the wine an excellent balance, a very light-footed wine with a long, fruity finish. Excellent wine.
11% alcohol, 151 g / l residual sugar, 10.2 g / l acid.

Tokaji aszú 6 puttonyos, 2013, Royal Tokaji
Fine round nose with delicate vanilla and yellow fruit notes, pleasant sweetness on the palate, still well tanned by the acidity, good finish. Very good wine.
10.5% alcohol, residual sugar 188 g / l, 8.1 g / l acid.

More informations on prices of tasted wines, Tokaj wine region, winemaking Aszú wines and Tokaji wine styles.


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