Amazing Wines of Tokaj

No matter where in the world the word ‘Tokaji' is mentioned, there is an immediate sparkle in the eyes of wine connoisseurs. And it is not without a reason. Louis XV of France referred to it as ‘Vinum Regum, Rex Vinorum' (Wine of Kings, King of Wines).

The 1999 Tokaji Esszencia was the first wine to be awarded 100 points by the respected 'American Wine and Spirit Magazine'. That wine was a ‘Royal Tokaji Esszencia' from the cellar of Károly Áts. At £1,480 a bottle, such a noble tipple has an outstanding price, too!

Aszú (which is only one of the Tokaj wines) won a place on the tables of European leaders back in the Middle Ages and, though many copies were produced, nothing could compete with the original. The volcanic soil, the sunshine, the late harvest and the overripe grapes that begin their noble rot guarantee the uniqueness of Tokaji Aszú. The noble rotten grapes are carefully separated from the healthy ones to be added to the wine later during fermentation. That is what gives Tokaji Aszú its sweetness, viscosity and body.

The Tokaji wine region is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In fact, it is the world's first closed wine region. The town of Tokaj is spread over a romantic landscape in the eastern part of the country between cellar labyrinths, vines and slopes. However, there is just as much top quality wine in its less famous sister town, Mád. Around 400 BC, the settlement, which is slightly to the north of Tokaj, was involved in wine production and, as an indication of its importance, in times of war during the 17th century, soldiers from Mád were allowed to return home to lend a hand for a good harvest. A very special synagogue can also be found in Mád, built in the Baroque style, and is also a ‘Europa Nostra Award' winning monument.

If you are already in Tokaj for its world-famous wine, visiting the treasures of the Zemplén Hills is a must. There are centuries-old castles, including the fabulous Füzér Castle, the castles of Tolcsva and the unique formation in a former quarry, the Megyer Hill Tarn, where the 70-metre-high cliffs rise up dramatically from the water's reflection.