This week’s sweet ending brings us to a delicious dessert wine that palates around the wine world refer to as one of the best sweet wines bar none. The golden nectar Dezel speaks of is no other than Hungary’s own Tokaji Azsú. Tokaji is a region in Hungary that is rich in history and well known for its sweet and sumptuous wines made namely from furmint grapes affected by botrytis cinerea, also referred to as noble rot when results are positive. Simply putting it, noble rot is a fungus; yes, I said fungus, which causes the grapes to shrivel on the vine and become raisin-like, concentrating the sugars and intensifying the flavors. These noble rot affected grapes produce intense, mouth filling, elegant golden wines with layers of complexity and depth of flavor (usually). Tokaji wines have been around since the Roman period and were served at the table of excellency and royalty during the 17th and 18th centuries. Today, even laymen like us can indulge - isn’t life grand! However, depending on how sweet and refined you prefer your Tokaji, it may cost a pretty penny for a 500ml bottle. Before getting to what is inside the bottle, let’s chat more about Tokaji Azsú and the sweetness / price factor.
Although we will focus on Tokaji Azsú here, there are several types of Tokaji wines, even some which are dry. Azsú is the most popular of the wines, and a rare wine called Essencia is the most rare and expensive of the Tokaji wines. Essencia is said to be cellar worthy for upwards of two centuries, and able to retain its quality and gain complexity over the stretch. Essencia is often described as intense and syrupy, with powerful flavors packing such a high sugar concentration that the alcohol level usually never exceeds 3%. Technically, I do not think this can be called a wine, but this is some sweet nectar I hope to one day try.
Review: The 1999 Tokaj Hetszolo Tokaji Azsú 6 Puttonyos is an attractive deep yellow gold color with honeyed-laced citrus and stone fruit flavors with underlying hints of pineapple and lemon zest. This wine is deliciously thick and voluptuous with an inviting complex bouquet. Sweet she is, yet, there is enough acidity present to keep all of her sugar in balance. Decadently rich, this wine is capable of long term aging. Enjoy this gem as a dessert on its own, or with a fruit pastry, vanilla crème brûlée, or fresh berries.
Verdict: Buy and reserve for special dinner guests or a special occasion. This wine was purchased at Unwined Gourmet Wine and Cigars in Alexandria, VA.
- Stay tuned friends ... Grayhaven Winery, Cellaring, and more to come !!!
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