Facts about Tokaji wines

Monday, September 21, 2009

By the end of the 19th century
the phylloxera epidemic destroyed
most of the grape varieties grown
in Tokaj-Hegyalja (Tokaj Foothills).
Since then only
Furmint, Hárslevelű and Sárgamuskotály
are planted.
Ordinary wines:
Tokaji Furmint & Tokaji Hárslevelű are white wines of special character.
Sárgamuskotály has the special Muscatel aroma and elegant acids.
Late harvest:
The harvesting of grapes for winemaking
starts traditionally on October 28.
Late harvests take place as late as in November.
As the grapes are too matured,
and sometimes there are much botrytised berries too,
the sugar level is rather high
and they have a pleasant, fruity bouquet.
Tokaji Szamorodni:
The name "Szamorodni" was given by a Polish wine merchant,
it means "the way it was grown".
This special wine of Tokaj is made
without sorting out the "aszú" berries.
So the aszú-berries and healthy berries
are mixed and pressed at the same time.
Tokaji Fordítás:
("turning over")
The base wine will be poured on the "aszú" dough
which has already been used to make aszú wine,
so that residual sugar and flavouring agents
can be still released.
So the aszú berries are pressed twice.
Tokaji Aszú:
Aszú is called after the aszú-process,
that means that the grapes get to be noble rotted.
This process provides a special quality,
but it needs a long and warm autumn.
The berries burst because of the rain,
and then the Botrytis cinerea (the grey mildew)
can work on them.
As the weather changes dry,
also the intact berries get the noble rot.
The affected berries have a much higher sugar level.
During the vintage the aszú berries are individually sorted
and will be used for the production of aszú-dough.
As many puttony of aszú-dough or aszú-berries need to be used as
how many puttonyos of aszú wine one would like to prepare.
A Gönc cask (136l barrel) of wine or must will be added to it,
and then it will be soaked for 12-48 hours, occasionally stired.
After that all the aszú-dough has to be removed.
The aszú will be filled in small barrels,
where it will be matured for the next 3 years before being bottled.
Tokaj Wine Region has been declared
a World Heritage Site
by UNESCO in 2002

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