The famous Hungarian Tokaji wine
In 1703 Ferenc Rákóczi II. gave King of France Louis XIV. a bottle of Tokaji wine. The Sun King tasted it and said that it is “the wine of kings, king of wines.” The Tokaji wine then conquered the whole Europe; it become one of the favourite drinks of Peter the Great, Tzarina Catherine, Frederick II., Voltaire, Goethe and Schubert.
The grape and the wine for the Hungarians has been for long the symbol of the eternal life, fertility and cheerfulness. When you pronounce the word Tokaj means the same anywhere in the world: a unique, noble beverage, tradition and quality above all.
The region of Tokaj
Where is the home of this royal Tokaji wine? Tokaj is the second most famous settlement in Hungary after Budapest. It is located in North Hungary, in the Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén County, where the Bodrog and Tisza rivers meet, in the region of Tokaj. It is the most famous historical wine region of Hungary and in 2002 became a world heritage site. Tokaj has always been a unique economic and cultural landscape. For example, only one settlement can boasts with the fact that is incorporated in the national anthem, and this is Tokaj. The history of the region, the whole range of its potential, it’s unique excitement, the sunny southern slopes, the exemplary hospitality of the locals makes it very attractive for tourists. Tokaj and the Wine. These two concepts are already inseparable at a basic level.
The birth of the Hungarian aszú wine
According to a well-known story, the aszú (desiccated) wine was first made by Matthew Szepsi Laczkó in 1650. The preacher being awared of the Turkish attack delayed the harvest more than usual, until November 10. Until then the grape was already very overriped, but the wine was of exceptional quality. Getting to the table of the prince won real fame for itself. Since then the harvest usually begins on the day of 28 October at the foot of the hill.
The unique micro climate of Tokaj
What is the secret of its unique quality? In the area of Tokaj the autumn is long and dry with a lot of sun and high humidity. These circumstances are perfect to the mold called Botrytis cinerea. This fungus settles on the cracked skin of the grapes and starts the botrytis. This process occures in a sufficient cantity only in 3-5 years, so it is a real curiosity. Starting with the 18th century people tried to make this type of grape in many rural areas, but without a succes because of the absence of this special microclimate.
On French, Italian, Australian, Slovak, Serbian, Ukrainian and Russian wines also appeared the tokaji apellation as a guarantee of quality. According to the decision of the European Court of Justice, now only the Hungarian wine can be called Tokaji.