Archive for March, 2018

Tokaji and its place in History.

Posted in News, Upcoming sales with tags on March 27, 2018 by Bid for Wine

Tokaji Aszu wines have long been revered throughout Europe, and in particular the sweet wines were served in the courts of Louis XIV, Catherine the Great and our own Queen Victoria amongst others.

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The region’s most recent past is equally not immune to historical references. Production was curtailed, vineyards abandoned and the wines rarely exported during the Second World War and throughout the Soviet annexation of Hungary that continued until 1990.

As the fall of Berlin Wall ushered in a wave of democratization behind the iron Curtain, Hungary was once again able to turn back to its historical vineyards around the town of Tokaj.

In an incredibly prescient move The Royal Tokaji Company was the first foreign investor in a newly privatised Hungarian vineyard. Many similar partnerships would follow as the new Hungarian government turned previously state-owned entities into private entreprises. So it was that in 1990, just months after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the steady process of revitalizing Europe’s oldest sweet wine region began.

The most revered of the wines was the ethereal “Essencia”, the very essence of the botrytised Furmint grape. Grapes barely pressed but left to ‘bleed’ under the weight of the grapes above them for a few days. The result a nectar straight from the heart of the great, packed full of sugar.

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Fermentation and maturation is long, resulting in a wine of such complexity and yet less than 3% alcohol and over 600g of sugar per litre for the 1999.

Given this process; it is not surprising that The Royal Tokaji Essencia is only made in minute quantities, akin to the very smallest plots in Burgundy. In addition, they are only released in years when the fully botrytised grapes are at their most unctuous.

In 1999, The Royal Tokaji Company released just 1200 bottles of their Essencia, in 500ml bottles. That is just 600 litres of the sweet nectar.

A quick search online will yield very few, if any, stockists. Safe to say that most bottles have been enjoyed in hedonistic evenings, or are carefully resting in private cellars across the globe alongside the great wines of the world.

We are exceptionally pleased that one member has decided to offer their rare bottle on Bid for Wine. Number 1126 for those wondering!

It comes at quite a price, but is one of the most amazing experiences of any wine connoisseur’s life and surely earns its place along side the great Romanée-Conti, Pétrus and Henri Jayer wines.

Royal Tokaji Essencia 1999 in original presentation case, certificate and a crystal spoon from which to sip this extraordinary, historical nectar.

View the wine here…