Tag: tokaj

The tokaji Eszencia, the essence of Tokaj

 TAGS:As already stated in a previous post, Tokaji is a typical wine from the borderland between Hungary and Slovakia called Tokaj-Hegyalja, near Budapest. Sometimes called king of wines, wine of kings, this is definitely a special drink by its peculiar elaboration process, which uses botrytyzed grapes, i.e., affected by the Botrytis Cinerea fungus.

These grapes concentrate a large amount of sugar and create a must called aszú, with exceptional organoleptic qualities. This liquid so exclusive is mixed with the regular must of the season and, according to the proportion used, the result is different. The measure with which is rated the sweetness of Tokaji is the puttonyo, equivalent to approximately 25 g of sugar per liter of wine, being varieties up to 6 puttonyos (about 150 g of sugar per liter). Generally, Tokaji is usually paired with desserts.

Nectar of the gods

One of the most coveted types of this wine is the Tokaji Eszencia
, also called ?nectar? or ?tear from Tokaj?. The high concentration of sugar of this drink, worthy of the gods of antiquity, makes its consistency and appearance very similar to honey or syrup. As a result, its alcohol content rarely exceeds 5 or 6 degrees. This wine differs from regular Tokaji by its process of elaboration, using the pure juice of the aszú grape, instead of mixing up another must, so it?s understandable, besides the high sugar concentration, its limited production, virtually artisan.

The concentration of flavor and aromas of this wine are unmatched although, of course, its consumption can never be more than moderate because of its remarkable sweetness. Moreover, unlike 99% of other wines in the world, it can be stored with guaranteed stability during times that can reach a whopping 200 or more years, excellently preserved. Imagine what it feels like tasting a wine from the time of Napoleonic Wars!

Tokaj and Tokaji: Puttonyos!

 TAGS:The Tokaji is one of those wines which every blog friend of the liquor of Bacchus is required to write about at least once.

Tokaji is the typical wine from Tokaj-Hegyalja, an area that lies between Hungary and Slovakia. Although in Tokaj, as in many other places, all kinds of wines are produced, the most famous are the called aszú.

What are the Tokaj aszú wines? First things first. There is a fungus, Botrytis Cinerea, which affects the vineyard rotting it, the so called ?noble rot?. The grapes dry up and lose water, so the result is a rotten grape filled with sugar or aszú grape.

The botrytizated grapes or aszú grapes were traditionally collected into containers called Puttonyos, with a capacity of about 25 kg grape approximately. Once collected, several puttonyos -3 to 6 – were threw to a 136 liters tank where the normal wine of the year was stored before its fermentation, in order to take the sweetness of the grape. The more puttonyos of aszú jumped into the must, the sweeter the resulting wine was.

At present, the Puttonyo no longer corresponds to the amount of Botrytis grape added, but rather to the sugar concentration of the resulting wine. It has been estimated that 1 puttonyo is equal to, more or less, 25 g per liter of wine. Thus, a tokaj wine of 5 puttonyos would have 125 g of sugar per liter of alcohol.

There is another interesting type of Tokaji, called Eszcencia, which some mistakenly associated with a 7-puttonyos aszú. Actually, the 7-puttonyos aszú does not exist, and Eszcencia is not a wine to which is added a portion of rotten grapes, but is a wine made entirely with the must of that grape.

The texture of Esczencia is similar to syrup or even honey. Imagine the amount of grapes that is necessary to make an eszcencia, so there really are not cellars engaged in the elaboration of this wine in an organized manner.

What they do is collect the must of the grape that naturally flows through the grating at the bottom of the vats where the grapes are placed while collected. It is usually not enough to make Eszcencia so it is added to the Tokaj aszú deposits, but sometimes Eszcencia is created, called also tear from Tokaj.

In Spain the Tokaji Oremus is very famous, with Tokaji Oremus 6 Puttonyos as a flagship, owned by Bodega Vega Sicilia, who took advantage of the post-communist privatization process in the area to get a cellar in the area and produces wines of Tokaj respecting the most traditional processes.

Another Tokaji that you can easily find is Disznókó, also great quality. There is a Disznókó 4 Puttonyos 2004 which is pretty good.

Actually the most important thing for Tokaji is to be Hungarian, because Hungarian law is more severe on the quality of wine. Since Tokaj is a bordering area between Hungary and Slovakia, is also accepted the production of Slovakian Tokaj, but there the law is more permissive, so the quality is not equally guaranteed. Enjoy.