Tokaji Dreaming

So I have a new potential obsession, Tokaj. Sweet wines are not usually my thing, but after I got into Ports, my winedar (Haha! wine-radar) has been more impulsive. It all started at our wine cellar, with a friendly employee who poured us a glass of Tokaj he was going to serve his friends later that evening. Tokaj is a sweet wine, so it is more of a one glass wonder. It is hard even for a group of four to finish a bottle. The bottle was cooled to a nice 10 degrees Celsius. It is actually really nice having a sweet aperitif if it is properly chilled. The wine had a lovely nose of raisins and a fresh and oxidized taste. The sweetness was not overpowering due to the temperature. I could imagine myself sitting on the balcony on a hot summer evening (as if there is many of those in Sweden) with a glass of this wine in my hand.

Tokaj is a historical wine region in northeast Hungary and southeast Slovakia. This region is noted for its sweet wines made from grapes affected by, a style of wine where ripe grapes are infected by a fungus (Botrytis) in moist condition and later dry in the sun and become raisined. This process of rotting and drying causes the grapes to shrivel and become sweet. Additional flavors also develop from the infected berries that are often described as ginger, saffron and beeswax. The must from these grapes is so sweet that it takes several years (up to 4-5) to ferment. The wines coming from this region are named Tokaji or Tokay.

Six grape varieties are officially approved for Tokaji wine production: Furmint, Hárslevelű, Yellow Muscat, Zeta, Kövérszőlő and Kabar. Furmint accounts for 60% of the area and is by far the most important grape. The area where Tokaji wine is traditionally grown is a small plateau, 457 metrers above sea level, near the Carpathian Mountains. The soil is of volcanic origin, with high concentrations of iron and lime. There are several types of Tokaji wines: Dry, Szamorodni (Prime wine), Aszú, Eszencia (aso called nectar due to its extreme sweetness. Up to 450g sugar per liter), Fordítás and Máslás. Tokaji Aszú is the famous, sweet, topaz-colored wine that is called Tokay. Aszu requires a minimum of 120 grams/liter of sugar.

Last word. If you compare to the bubblies that I most often use, the sugar content is over x 40 more (uh). So, I don’t know if this is going to be a healthy obsession. However, obsessions seldom are, so I will just run with it. Tokaji is very poorly available at the Swedish monopoly, Systembolaget. So it is either internet shops or a trip to Budapest. The latter option doesn’t sound too bad. Perhaps its worth starting to look at tickets.

The wine we tried a week ago was: Gróf Degenfeld Tokaji Aszú (6 puttonyos) 2008

xx Soile

Dried Aszu grapes. Source: Stoneboat Vineyards

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