Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Are you Hungary...?

Mmmmm Tokaji.  Good lord, this stuff is good.  For those unfamiliar with Tokaji, it is a sweet white desert wine made in Tokaj, Hungary.  This stuff comes in variations of sweetness as indicated by the number of puttonyos - this one has 5.  I'm sure I will mess this up, but basically a puttonyo is a basket of concentrated rotting grapes (they use the Furmint grape to make this).  First they make base wine out of the Furmint grape - then they add a puttonyo of sweet, rotting grapes to a set amount of base wine - the more puttonyos, the sweeter it is - the scale is basically 1-6, 6 is highest.  The result is a wonderfully sweet and acidic wine with incredible honey flavors.

Since good tokaji is usually fairly expensive (this was $30 for a half bottle from Wine Library in New Jersey), I've only had maybe 6 different brands, all in the 5-6 puttonyos range - this one is outstanding - a 2001 Hetszolo.  Simply an excellent example of tokaji.  Balanced, loads of honey, not sickeningly sweet (which was the problem with the last one I bought) - just wonderful.  You must try this once in your life.

Just found this on the K&L Wines website, where they also sell it for $30 a bottle...With a stunning 120 g/l of residual sugar (minimum), this original dessert wine was made according to tradition, harvesting only starts after 28th October, and may last until the first snows, so as to allow the botrytis cinerea (noble rot) to develop and to obtain the maximum concentration of grape must. When the grape must concentration is sufficient, the grapes with noble rot are separately harvested. The Aszú grapes are manually harvested one by one, and maceration takes place with the grape must. Next fermentation takes place in barrels for one and a half to two months. The white wine is then aged for three years in oak barrels stored in underground cellars at constant temperature (12° to 13° C) and humidity. This long ageing process gives the wine its complex and inimitable bouquet.

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