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Transcript of Hungary
History of Hungarian Wine
The Romans introduced wine to Pannonia
Land and Wine Districts
Country divided in two (W/E) by Danube river
Slate, volcanic basalt, clay in the west part
Sand soil in the wide plane in the south
Volcanic stones in the north-eastern hills
21 wine Regions, 7 the most important
White Grape Varietals
Chardonnay, Pinot blanc, Sauvignon blanc, Semillon
Important international grapes
Most important grape of Tokay Aszù
Second grape of Tokay
Floral and fruity aromas
Third grape of Tokay
= Muscat à petits grains
Specialty of Transdanubia
= austrian Welscriesling
Fourth grape of Tokay
Susceptible to Botrytis cinerea
Specialty of Lake Balaton
= Pinot gris
vinum regum, rex vinorum
Making Tokaj Aszù
Saint Stephen founded the Kingdom of Hungary in 1000 AD. and the monasteries introduced wine culture
1526 - The Ottoman empire occupied Hungary. Wine industry went into decline
1630 - First Discover of Noble Rot in Tokaj
Legend has it that, fearing a turkish attack, the harvest was late and not completed until some time later. As a consequance the rot had affected the grapes. When the wine from the late harvested grapes was opened the following spring the high quality of the wines was recognised and the reasons behind its success were identified.
1686 - End of Turkish rule and Start of Habsburg rule
1700 - First Tokay wine classification in the region of Tokaj-Hegyalja
From XVII to XX (till Communist era) century Hungary had the third most sophisticated European wine culture
Present day. After one hundred years of disaster, the renaissance of the Hungarian wine industry is under way
The potential of Tűzkő Estate was discovered by the Marquises Piero Antinori and Jacopo Mazzei. The global Antinori empire needed the fresh wine grown in Bátaapáti, on the gently rolling Pannon hills reminiscent of Tuscany. Marquis Antinori introduced revolutionery innovations in Italian wine-makig in the 70s and turned the cheap Tuscan table wines into some of the world's best. However, the range of globally well-known, full-bodied red wines of Tuscany needed to be expanded by high quality, crisp, flavourful whites. The Marquis found these in Tűzkő.
The Legend of Tokaj Aszu
Hungary's Major Wine Districts
Red Grape Varietals
Cabernet sauvignon, Cabernet franc, Merlot, Pinot noir
Important international grapes
Specialty of Szekszàrd
Major grape of wine Egri Bikaver
= Austrian Blaufrankisch
Specialty of Villàny-Siklòs
Specialty of Villàny-Siklòs
The name of the wine dates back to a Turkish invasion led by Suleiman the Magnificent around 1552. According to one legend, the enemy soldiers were frightened by the fierce fighting and red wine-stained beards of the soldiers. Among the Turkish soldiers it was rumored that bull’s blood had been mixed into the wine, and another legend states that the swords of the enemy could not cut through the Hungarian blood thickened by the wine.
Egri Bikavér is still produced to this day, made up of a blend of the ancient Kardarka grape, increasingly replaced by Blaufränkisch, locally called Kékfrankos.
Egri Bikavér - Bull's Blood
The Legend of Tokaji Aszù
Mid 1600s Priest Máté Szepsi Laczkó began experimenting with autochthonous Furmint grape but, at the moment of harvesting, one incursions of Turks forced Hungarians to take arms and to forget about their daily activities
When they returned back, at the end of autumn, the grapes were dried and mouldy. Szepsi Laczkó did not lose confidence and decided to harvest those mouldy grapes anyway and with the little must he produced some wine, adding this nectar to a regular dry wine he produced the year before
Climatic Conditions for Botrytis Cinerea
Humidity and Warmth
Shelter Tokaj-Hegyalja from cold winds
Loesses, Clay deposit topsoil
Streams of water
Bodrog river meets its tributary Tisza river near Tokaj
Making Tokaj Aszù
High acidity, susceptible to B. cinerea
High acidity, less susceptible to B. cinerea, aromatic and rich tasting
Aromaticity and crispy acidity
Used since 1993, very suceptible to B. cinerea, high sugar level
Aszù grapes are harvested one by one from botrytized bunches, lightly crushed into a paste
Non-botrytized grapes are harvested separately to make a base wine
Aszù paste is than added to base wine in various proportions, measured in puttonyos
Puttony is a basket used to gather aszù grapes
20-25 kilos of grapes = 20 liters of paste
Aszù paste and base wine are then put into gönci, the traditional Tokay barrels holding 140 liters of wine
Puttony = 20 liters / Gönci = 140 liters
Tokay Aszù 2 Puttonyos
40 liters of Aszù paste
100 liters of base wine
Tokay Aszù 3 Puttonyos
60 liters of Aszù paste
80 liters of base wine
Tokay Aszù 6 puttonyos is the sweetest Tokay Aszù
Making Tokaj Aszù
Aszù paste macerate with base wine for a lenght from 8 hours to 3 days, depending by the quantity of paste added to base wine
Sweetened wine is drawn off the paste and let ferment again in Tokay’s moldy cellars
Lenght of fermentation varies from months to years
High cellar’s humidity and high wine’s sweetness don’t easily allow to yeasts to ferment sugar into alcohol
Tokaj Aszù must be aged for at least two years in oak barrel and one in bottle
The only bottle size for Tokay Aszù is the traditional squat 500 ml. bottle
The finest sweet wines are made by concentrating the sugar in grapes
by the benevolent noble rot effect of the botrytis fungus on the vine as it nears maturity in perfect conditions (botrytized wines)
by processing frozen grape clusters (eiswein)
by drying mature grapes either on the vine or after picking (dried grape wines)
by leaving the grapes on the vine for as long as possible in order to concentrate the grape sugars (late harvest wines)
by fermenting the wine out to dryness and subsequently adding sweet reserve, grape concentrate
by adding spirit to grape juice either before fermentation (vin de liqueur) or during it (vin doux naturel)
Two other categories of rare, superconcentrated Tokaj Aszù:
In particularly favorable years, Aszú grapes are left in tanks and the must is uniquely the result of the weight of the grapes themselves and having an incredible quantity of sugar of more than 45%. The fermentation is so slow that these wines usually have alcohol by volume from 2 to 5%
Tokay Aszù Eszencia
Produced adding a Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos to Tokaji Eszencia. The result is an extraordinary wine, rare and produced only in the best years. Tokaji Aszú Eszencia must be aged for at least five years of which at least three in cask
Making Tokaj Aszù
“as it is grown”
A white blended wine from the main three not-botrytized Tokay grapes
Edes (slightly sweet)
Aged for 2 years in unsealed barrels
Slightly oxidized like Spanish Sherry
Other Wines from Tokaj
Type % Sugar Barrel Period
Szàras 0 - 4% 2
Edes 2 - 5% 2
2 puttonyos 5 - 6% 4
3 puttonyos 6 - 9% 5
4 puttonyos 9 - 12% 6
5 puttonyos 12 - 15% 7
6 puttonyos 15 - 18% 8
Tokaji Aszú Eszencia > 18% 8
Tokaji Eszencia 40 - 70% 10
Sweetness levels of Tokaji wines:
During the long history of Europe, explorers traveled the world for trade and conquest, and brought their beloved wine with them. They found early on that their usual table wine did not fare well during the long sea voyages. What did travel well were wines that had higher alcohol content, and the category of fortiﬁed wines was born.
Fortiﬁcation of wine was developed to help preserve the product. It involves the addition of more alcohol to raise the percentage over 16 percent, sometimes as high as 20 percent
There are two methods for making any fortiﬁed wine
The port method involves adding the fortiﬁcation during the fermentation of the wine
The sherry method involves adding the fortiﬁcation after the fermentation of the wine
Portugal's Douro Valley is the key viticultural region for growing the more than 50 different local grapes for making Port.
Port is made by taking a still wine and adding brandy to it.
Two distinct categories:
Ruby Ports, the entry-level Ports, made from a mix of both grapes and vintages and “aged” for a total of 3 years, to be consumed young
Tawny Port, lighter in both color and body. It’s tastes become nuttier and the flavors begin to develop the rich flavors of caramelized figs, dates and prunes compared to the Ruby Port. On the label, the age is most commonly designated as 10, 20, or 30 years
Colheita, the same vintage year
Indicated Age, from grape blends older in average age
Vintage Port, blended grapes from various vineyards, from the same vintage year. Unfiltered and unoxidized into a bottle
Sherry is a fortified wine, produced in southwest Spain's "Sherry Triangle" of Puerto de Santa María, Jerez and Sanlúcar de Barrameda
The Palomino and Pedro Ximénez grapes are the primary grapes used to make Sherry
The soil in this region is chalky, limestone based, and provides the perfect conditions for growing the Palomino and Pedro Ximenez (PX)
Once harvested and fermented, the wines fate is then decided, Fino or an Oloroso?
If Fino, alcohol is added (fortification) until it reaches just over 15%; however, if Oloroso alcohol is added to reach an 18% alcohol content
A layer of yeast, called "flor" forms a coating on the surface of the Sherry, keeping the wine from over oxidizing
Solera is a blending system of casks that hold wines of different ages. The oldest casks of Sherry are the ones that are bottled in a given year and the next casks are arranged in such a way that the youngest Sherries are blended into a series of casks holding progressively older Sherries
Tokay Wine Tasting
Pale yellow with the greenish tint typical of the Furmint grape. Fresh and aromatic with hints of white flowers and grapefruit. A palate of exotic fruits with pear and quince followed by a lingering mineral, salty finish.
Pale to golden yellow.
The heady intensity of wild flowers and fresh fruits (peach, plum, citrus, honey) abound in the bouquet. Velvety and deliciously rounded, the Disznókő Tokaji Late Harvest retains its vivacity with persistence on the palate. Light-hearted and energetic.
Golden to deep amber depending on its age.
When young, the nose bursts with intensity: fresh fruits (very often apricot) and citrus aromas. Over 10 years old, the wine gains even greater aromatic complexity filled with dried fruits, spicy and honey notes.
A beautiful balance between vivacious acidity and sweetness.
The name is said to derive from the French for wheat, froment, owing to the wheat-gold colour of the wine it produces
The grapes are thin-skinned, and thus very susceptible to botrytis (noble rot)
The grapes are also high in acid and sugar levels. This provides the perfect raw material for making sweet wines, but much of the wine produced is dry, or dryish: it is strong and alcoholic, with a nutty, fiery edge, very individual, sometimes slightly oxidised, like sherry. It is grown elsewhere in Hungary, and in Austria and Slovakia
Tokaji Szamorodni (which means literally “as it comes”): this is made by harvesting all the grapes together, whether nobly rotten or not, and fermenting them all together; depending on the year, the wine will turn out with varying levels of sweetness/dryness; I can only remember tasting one Szamorodni, and it was quite dry.