tokaj

Tokaj - Secrets of Hungarian wines

via Dawid Lipiec

Tokaj is a white dessert wine made from dried grapes. Tokaj wines have been known and appreciated throughout Europe since the 15th century. In addition, Tokaj wine is named after the town, hill and region where the white, sweet wines are made, recognisable throughout the world. True Tokaj wines are called wines in half-litre bottles, with a Hungarian banderole.

Where does Tokaj wine come from and what is it made of?

Tokaj wine is a wine from Hungary, more specifically from the Tokaj-Hegyalja wine region, which is located in the north-eastern part of the country. The wine is also produced in the south-eastern part of Slovakia. There are two main types of Tokaj, namely Szamorodni, which is made from must pressed from unsorted grapes, and Ashű, which is sweetened with desiccated grapes. Tokaj wine is primarily made from the fruit of the furmint grape variety, which accounts for 70% of the grapes grown in the region. Other varieties such as hárslevelű, sárgamuskotály and zéta are produced in the foothills of the Tokaj Mountains.

Wine has been grown in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region for more than 2,000 years, but the modern history of Tokaj's origins is linked to some coincidence and the Turkish invasion of the early 16th century, when the harvest was halted to feed the ranks of the army of peasants who were harvesting grapes at that time. Through this, the grapes ripened in the sun, dried slowly and at the end of October the sultanas were harvested, from which the wine was then made. Until 2006, wines from the pinot gris grape were made in Alsace, France, which was also called Tokaj. However, since 2007, only wines that were made in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region can bear the name Tokaj.

What are the types of Tokaj wines?

Tokaj wines are divided into four categories. This has to do with the type of grapes that are used in their production. The first type is Tokaj Furmint dry, which is a dry wine from the Furmint grape. It is characterised by a very good taste that will go well with fish, cheese and veal. Another type is Tokaj Furmint medium sweet, which is a sweet variety of the aforementioned wine that is aged in barrel.

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Very characteristic wine is also Tokaj Yellow Muscat medium dry, which is made from the Muscat Lunel or Sargamuskatoly strain, the third strain used in the production of Tokaj wines. Very often you can smell and taste nutmeg in these wines. The last type is Tokaj Hárslevelu dry, which, like Furmint Dry, is characterised by a very rich taste. It is a very aromatic type of wine, which will appeal to the greatest wine connoisseurs.

What does Tokaj wine taste like?

Tokaj wines have a distinctive taste and aroma, which is the result of a specific climate characterised by hot summers, sunny and dry winters and misty autumns. In addition, the rich flavour of Tokaj wines is also influenced by the type of volcanic soil on which the crop is located and the effect of noble mould on the grapes.

In addition, a very important point that affects the taste of these wines is that they are stored in small, deep barrels, carved into the tufa. These barrels are stored in cool and very dry cellars, where the temperature fluctuates around 12 °C.

Where can you buy Tokaj wines and how much do they cost?

Best wines Tokaj are sold around wine region Tokaj-Hegyalja. There you can find small, family-run shops that specialise in selling just these wines. On the other hand, if you don't have time to go to Hungary, you can also find them in wine shops in Poland and numerous supermarkets.

When it comes to price of wines Tokaj, then in Poland it fluctuates around PLN 30. On the other hand, some varieties of these wines can be slightly more expensive, with prices reaching up to 1,200 zlotys.

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