There is an exciting wine-making trend happening in Hungary and the wine quality is rated in levels similar to a French AOC system. There are over 20 regions making wine in the country, but few wines actually go to the foreign market. Other than the table wine level, there are two important levels of wine made here. ‘Quality wine’ and ‘Special Quality Wine’.
Tokaji is one that is making waves abroad. The name of the wine comes from the region in the north called Tokaj. This grape, Furmint, is one of the classic grapes used for Tokaji wines, the other being Hárslevelú. But Furmint alone is also known for the very famous Hungarian sweet dessert wine, Tokaji Azsú. In this process, grapes unaffected by noble rot are made into a dry wine like this one, and the bortrytised grapes are stored and then made into a paste. This paste is later added to the dry wine in varying levels, depending on the desired level of sweetness. Based on how much Azsú paste was added, it is then rated on a scale of 2-6 puttonyos, similar to how German Rieslings are rated by sweetness. They are then matured in cask for 3-6 years. There is a version made only in the best years, Aszú Eszencia. It’s even sweeter than 6 puttonyos and rivals some of the top dessert wines from around the world – France and Germany included.
Being the dry version, you won’t find anything sweet here. Pale lemon in color, on the nose I pick up citrus fruit — green apple and lemon-lime. There is also a nice floral aroma. On the palette, it is round and perhaps even a little bit oily. There is some crisp acidity and more of that tart green fruit but it is all well-balanced, with a medium body and finish. It would pair perfectly with seafood, shellfish and poultry. Average price on wine searcher is $18. I think I payed just a bit less than that.
An interesting and tasty wine. Now to go find a Tokaji Aszú, or even an Eszencia!