All about Tokaj: grand tasting in Budapest
23 March is a day when wine geeks do not need to drive circa 3 hours to enjoy all the gems of Tokaj wine regions: all styles of the noble Tokaj wines will be presented in luxurious Corinthia Hotel Budapest. 60 Tokaj wineries will pour around 150 wines, and free lectures (’pop-up school’) are also provided. Some masterclasses will also be held, for example István Szepsy Junior will present vintage 2017 through 7 vineyard selected wines. Aszú Hall is a place where visitors can sit down and taste a wide range of Tokaji Aszú wines (these wines are to be paid, while non-aszú wines from Tokaj can be tasted free of charge in the large exhibition hall).
Béres 5 puttonyos Tokaji Aszú, 2011
The 2011 vintage aszú at Béres Vineyard and Winery is a fabulous example of what the village of Erdőbénye is capable of. It really needs time, therefore the „sit and taste” concept of Aszú Hall is rewarding. „Golden colour, incredibly concentrated, intense bouquet. It is worth aerating in the glass for a while so that it can open after so many months spent in barrel and in bottle. Giving it time, we can experience the different notes coming from the glass, one after the other: honey, spices and roasted nuts. On the palate we can realize that – due the vintage – acids make it vibrant even tough it has a significant sugar content. We can detect the aromas resulted from maturation as well: date,candied citrus fruits, autumn leaves and spices fill the mouth. A wine for special occasions.”
Grand Tokaj Szarvas 6 puttonyos Tokaji Aszú, 2013
Another treasure not to miss in Aszú Hall: this wine won gold medal at the latest edition of the prestigious International Wine & Spirit Competition in London, the oldest wine contest of the world. 2013 vintage was an outstanding vintage when berries were fully infected by the noble botrytis. „The nose is full of aromas: notes of loess based soil, pear, dried chamomile, candied orange peel and a touch of smokiness from the new barrel. Pear compote and ripened orange on the palate with honey and chamomile tea. Creamy texture, the blessing of sunshine, amazing structure!”
Dereszla Kabar, 2015
Tokaj is not only about Tokaji Aszú, and not only about the usual varieties. Furmint, Hárslevelű and Sárgamuskotály (Muscat Lunel) are the mostly used varieties, but Kabar for example is one to watch. Kabar is a new variety(the crossing was made in 1967 in Tarcal research centre) allowed in Tokaj wine region since 2006. Kabar represents only 1 percentage of Tokaj plantations. Exclusively grown in Tokaj, in fact it is an experimental strain previously known as Tarcal 10 that is a cross between Hárslevelű and Bouvier. It ripens at a similar time to Zéta, but produces lower yields. Kabar has a good tendency to accumulate sugar, botrytises well to become an aszú grape, but because of its thicker skin the aszú berries are less vulnerable to rainy periods. Dereszla Kabar is matured in second use large barrels for 6 months, thus the oaky notes are not overwhelming. „The linden notes typical of this grape variety are paired with the vanilla aromas from the barrel aging. Lovely, long finish.”